Stress is an inevitable part of our everyday lives. A little bit can be positive, but too much stress takes a toll on the body and mind. The goal is not to eliminate stress (that would be impossible) but rather to reduce it where possible and take time to recover from the stressors of daily life.
Here are some tips to get you started.
Take a minute (often)
“Sometimes the most important thing in a whole day is the rest we take between two deep breaths.”
— Etty Hillesum
When life gets busy, there can be a snowball effect. Busyness begets busyness. And if we don’t take some time every day to interrupt the “snowball” from rolling, it gets bigger, faster and harder to stop, leading to burn out or, to keep with the snowball analogy, crashing into a wall. This is prevented by regularly and intentionally pausing and taking time for yourself (even just a minute).
Regularly acknowledge how much you do and how much that requires of your body, mind and spirit. Deepening our awareness of how stress impacts our well-being can motivate us to interrupt the stress cycle and prioritize rejuvenation.
Time is a limited and precious resource, so we feel best when we spend it wisely. Boundaries support us to choose meaningful priorities and let go of the things that don’t provide nourishment. To create a boundary that supports you, start with a value you have; from there, determine what you need to make that value possible and then determine how you can honor that need. Take it seriously. Our lives require margin.
Bring ease into your effort
The tricky thing about stress is that it impacts the body’s ability to effectively do its job. For example, you might choose to eat a healthy lunch, but if you’re eating it while stressed (perhaps feeling like you don’t have time to eat and that you should be working), the body won’t be able to digest and absorb all of the amazing nutrients that you consumed.
Little things like these steps of mindfulness can have a huge effect on your overall health and happiness. Mental fatigue (caused by stress) can take a toll on your physical body as well, causing other conditions and ailments to be exaggerated. Reduce stress, increase your margin and improve your life.
For a more in-depth approach, check out Calm.com’s Managing Stress Workbook, which has additional practical tools and wisdom to help decrease your stress levels.