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5 Easy Ways to De-Stress Your Life
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Sometimes life gets the better of us and we can easily become overwhelmed with the burden of juggling work, family and social life. We often look to a quick fix – like a humble glass of wine before bed, or even ponder the idea of wouldn’t it be nice to take a break and go for a holiday at a warm, tropical resort right about now? Well, that may sound all fine and dandy. However, one glass a night may lead to three, which isn’t particularly healthy for you in the long run. Whereas, instantly pressing pause on life and going on a vacation to the tropical Bahamas may not be a good use of your emergency savings or even in your budget.
This is where a good 5-step plan can really make a difference. So, without further ado, here are 5 easy ways to de-stress your life:
1. Eat Right
It sounds simple, I know. However, a lot of the time when we are under an insurmountable deal of stress, our body takes a toll. Not only does prolonged stress cause our bodies to shut down temporarily, a period of psychological stress can lead to emotional or comfort eating which can make things a lot worse in the long run. Start your day off with a refreshing glass of water or try lemon water for added refreshment. Take a bottle of water with you everywhere you go and take sips throughout the day to keep you hydrated. Aim to eliminate all danger foods including alcohol, caffeine and sugar. Try to eat more fresh foods and stay away from processed or manufactured foods. Allow yourself room to breathe by allowing yourself to slip up once in a while, but make sure your diet gets back on track, effective immediately.
2. Sleep Well
A lot of the time when we try to sleep well, we think that means having more sleep. However, this is not always the case. Studies have shown that both over-sleeping and under-sleeping can have negative effects on the body. In general, 7-9 hours is appropriate for a good night’s sleep for an adult. Try to set a regular time to go to sleep, and to wake up each day. This is because our body needs to have a consistent circadian rhythm, which is our natural ability to regulate sleep in a 24-hour cycle. Figure out how much time you need to wake up before you start each day, set an alarm for that time, and back-track about 8 hours to figure out your sleep time. I start work at 9am Monday to Friday, so I set an alarm for 7am and go to sleep at 11pm. It is important to wake up at the same time each day, even on weekends and not allow yourself to sleep in, so as to not disrupt your natural circadian rhythm.
3. Sweat it Out
Exercise is one of those activities that you either love or hate; there can be no in between. Not in my opinion, anyway. If you are like me and you do not see the enjoyment of forcing yourself to work out each day at the local gym, try substitution. See if there are ways you can be more active in your day-to-day life. Instead of driving to work each day, try to leave earlier and walk, even taking public transport will increase your daily activity by walking from one stop to the next. Not only will it be beneficial for your health, it will be probably save your wallet too. Try listing some ideas that motivate you to be more active. Sometimes going for a walk with a friend or even your dog is better than going it alone. For a lot of people, doing exercise with others can definitely be a lot more fun than flying solo. Think about joining a sporting team or attending dance classes. If you feel like you’ve been sitting for too long, just move what yo’ mama gave you.
4. Clear Your Living Area
Don’t underestimate how much mess and clutter can add to the amount of stress you face. I usually tell my friends that if they want to see what is really going through my mind, all they need to do is open my bedroom door. I am a firm believer that a messy room is a direct reflection of a messy mind. If your surroundings are generally unkempt, it is usually because you are not in the right frame of mind to go through and organise your environment, or tidying your living area it is not very high up on your list of priorities. Plan a day or time to re-organise and declutter your home or living area, and see it as a means to re-organise and declutter your mind. Waking up to a clean and tidy room can give you that boost of energy to be proud of your accomplishments, and not distract you from your thoughts. Change up your cleaning and tidying routine by making it fun, listening to music or seeing how fast you can finish before rewarding yourself. You can knock out two birds with one stone, if you use clearing your living area to sweat it out.
5. Treat. Yo. Self.
In the wise words of Tom Haverford and Donna Meagle: Treat. Yo. Self. If you are not familiar with the Parks and Recreation reference, Treat Yo Self day is all about clothes, fragrances, massages and mimosas. No, I am not encouraging you to blow all your money on an extravagant shopping spree, but we can take inspiration from these two awesome characters. Often, we get so caught up in all the buzz of everyday life that we forget the need to take time purely for ourselves. This is not a selfish act at all. If we want to give our best, we need time to recharge. Not taking time to recharge leads to us to produce the bare minimum and deplete all leftover energy, eventually leading to burnout. Set aside one day of the week, where you can treat yourself. Take yourself on a movie night to the cinema, treat yourself to a fancy dinner or something new, or if you’re like Ben Wyatt, splurge on that new Batman costume you’ve always wanted (sorry, another Parks and Rec reference).
If you follow all of these steps, I can guarantee that you will experience a lot less stress than if you had simply let stress take over your life. You are an amazing person and you need to take the time to recharge your amazing batteries. In the midst of all the hustle and bustle, don’t forget that sometimes what you need to focus on is you, which is why you came here in the first place!
Do you think you will try this out?
© 2015 Vanessa Ginnane