Stress, we’ve all been there. You have a million things to do and no time to do them. While stress can be different for everyone the main thing to remember is to try to stop and relax. I know, easier said then done, right?
So here are 5 things that you can start to do when you notice that you are feeling stressed.
5 things to do when you are feeling stressed
- Breathing exercises: If you have five or ten minutes try doing a quick breathing exercise. This is something that you can do anywhere. Choosing either a sitting or standing position, as long as it is one where you can remain upright and alert. If you’re standing, have your feet flat on the floor to support your weight. If sitting, sit back in the chair in a way that feels supportive to you. Close your eyes if that feels right, or keep them open with a soft gaze. Breathing in, through your nose or mouth, and observe your breath. Notice it as it enters your body and as it leaves. Not changing or altering the breath in anyway. Just noticing it. if/when you become distracted, notice that and come back to the breath. Without judgment just bringing your attention back to your breath. Continue doing this, over and over, until you feel ready to open your eyes and come back to the room.
- Have some “me” time: It’s important to take some time for yourself at least once a week. Whether that’s watching something on Netflix or having a bath, find something that you enjoy. My “me” time often involves a book, but that might not be right for you. Take the time to focus on yourself and not what is stressing you out. When you get distracted and start thinking about what is stressing you out? Notice that and come back to what you are doing.
- Exercise: Get those endorphins flowing! They will help you to feel like you have accomplished something. There is often a pretty powerful feeling after a good workout. Sometimes when I am feeling stressed I love to get moving, and going outside for a walk is just what I need. Running can also feel very cathartic. A boxing class might also be just the ticket if there is some anger attached to your stress.
- Make a gratitude list: Instead of focusing on what is worrying you and creating yet another to-do list, grab a pen and write down everything that you are grateful for. Seeing all that you have to be thankful for will help to shift your attention away form the things that are stressing you out. Writing in a gratitude journal at the end of every night is a good way to be more mindful of the good things that have happened in the day. The not so good stuff is always more salient and feels more present but when you really look back there are often small little moments of good that were present too.
- Sleep: Not getting enough sleep can make you feel more vulnerable to the side effects of stress. When you are tired you also just feel crummy. This crummy feeling often results in minor annoyances feeling a lot more intense than they might have on a day when we had a good nights sleep. Plus when you are feeling stressed a good nights sleep can help you to feel better prepared to deal with what is bothering you.
When you are feeling stressed it can become so overwhelming that we start to forget all of the things that we can do to help ourselves. I hope that having this list of 5 things that you can do, can be a great reminder for those moments.