There are times where things in life seem to be cruising along just fine, and suddenly we find an obstacle along the path we were not expecting, or unforeseen problems appear that completely throw everything we’ve been working towards off track. It is part of life, we can plan, we can be organised, but life can change at any given moment. Some people handle this well, they adjust easier than others to unexpected change, or challenges. But some of us find change, especially change we were not expecting, very stressful. We can not escape stress! Whether we like it or not, stress is part of life!
We can not avoid stress, it is part of our lives on many levels, and for many different reasons. It may be health related, work related. We may be stressed over a relationship, a breakup, money problems, buying a house, moving overseas, or about getting pregnant. Some situations are of course much more stressful than others, but we also all react to stress differently.
Stress is normal, we all suffer stress to a degree. Anxiety helps us to avoid dangerous situations, and is part of our survival instinct. But living with constant stress, or high levels of stress and anxiety is not healthy for anyone.*
We may not be able to eliminate stress completely out of our lives, but what we can do is find outlets that help us cope with our stress. We need to find a balance in life, no one can live healthy with constant high levels of stress!* We need to balance happiness, stress, fun, pleasure, work, exercise, family time, and alone time. The key to good health and success is balance!
So what can you do to reduce the impact of stress?
- Laugh! Yes laugh. Laughter is truly one of the best medicines going around. If you are having a tough time get together with some friends who are guaranteed to make you laugh out loud! Watch a comedy, play a ridiculous board game, go to a comedy festival.
- Read. Reading a great book can take your mind of the stressful day or week you are having. Head to the library, ask friend if they have great book you can borrow, or head to the book store. Read before going to bed, turn off your computer. No phone before bed!
- Healthy Eating. A good, healthy meal full of fresh salad, or vegetables will do wonders for your body, boost your energy levels, and strengthen your immune system. You need to fuel your body to cope with hard times. Eating fresh fruit, and healthy salads will also benefit your hair and skin, double bonus!!
- Water. Yes I know it has been said a thousand plus times, but water consumption is so important, if you don’t like plain water then add some lemon, orange, or even strawberries to give it a fruity twist.
- Meditation. I highly recommend mediation. I particularly love mindfulness. There are free apps you can download on your phone or laptop too. I like Smiling Mind, I have the app, and so do my children as they cater for different ages. I have heard good things about 1 Giant Mind too, but haven’t tried this yet. There are also some great books on mediation and mindfulness.
- Walking. Or exercise in general. Getting fresh air, being outdoors and going for walks amongst nature is an excellent mood booster!! It also helps clear your mind and can actually help you to sort your thoughts out and reduce your stress by a lot! It also has the added benefit of improving your physical health too.
- Talking to someone you trust. Don’t bottle things up!!! Talk to someone, whether it is family, friends, your partner or professional. Talking things over can help you see things clearer, and help you better cope with stress.
- Unplug. Have a weekend without social media! Or at least start with a whole afternoon. Try to go from lunchtime Saturday, until the next morning without checking your email, or social media. Gradually build this time up to a whole weekend. Give the people in front of you the attention you usually give your phone.
- Sleep and Rest! It is critical to get enough sleep, and downtime!!! Without proper sleep we can not think clearly. If you are having trouble sleeping, try mediation before bed, read a book, play calming music, or talk to your GP. Sometimes doing more exercise during the day can help too! Try to create a sanctuary in your bedroom. Remove any excess clutter, you could even add some crystals or dream catchers.
- Declutter. A good clean out of things you don’t need can do wonders! This not only includes old clothing, and old momentoes that no longer bring you joy, it can include decluttering your Facebook too. Anything or anyone cluttering your life, or causing negativity can go.
- Gratitude. Being thankful for things in your life that bring you joy is the best feeling! Be grateful for amazing friends, for a roof over your head. Be thankful for nature, family, pets, laughter, sunshine, great books, food, and laughter. Be grateful for your heart that beats inside you, for you eyes that see, and your body that keeps you doing all the things you do each day. You are pretty amazing!
- Music. A great stress reliever is listening to music, singing loudly, and dancing around the house. Go on give it a try!
So there you have it, my advice to helping you cope with stress. Live a balanced life. Yes stress is part of our lives, but so is fun, laughter, music and great friends. Focus on the good stuff, and live fearlessly authentic!
Do you have any tips on coping with stress? What do you do to help yourself get through tough times, or unexpected stress? Please leave me a comment below.
*Living with high levels, or prolonged stress can lead to minor and also severe health problems, including sore stomach, vomiting, irritable bowels, back, shoulder and neck pain, headaches, depression and rashes, so please make sure you seek professional help if you are finding you are not coping with stress.
If you know anyone who is withdrawing or seems overwhelmed with stress please check in with them, and see that they get support.
Thanks for joining me, love Mackenzie xx