Eight Ways to Reduce Stress and Anxiety by Finding the Joy in Relaxation.
No matter where we are in our lives, stress and anxiety impacts us all at some point in our lives. For the past few years, I have found anything and everything to keep me busy. I have not been able to sit still for the life of me.
Two weekends ago, while spending time with one of my aunt and her family, she asked me when I stopped to rest. I told her that I stopped when I ate or slept and I reflect on my long drives. While this response seemed normal to me, it was unimpressive and worrisome to her. She asked me to practice mediating, which I struggle to do so. In order to help me, since it is summer, she sat outside with me and we had tea together. We built that up to being able to sit with my cousins and enjoy the sunshine.
Now this might seem small but it is in fact, a huge and exciting step for me. A couple of weeks ago, I went to the doctor for a check-up. He told me that I have very little energy and my anxiety is causing me to have bad stomach pains. He asked me to focus my energy on relaxation. This was worrisome to me because I teach young children and I do not like taking time off from work. I want to be healthier.
I have been reading articles about how to help myself relax but they keep talking about all of these things to do before 8am or 6am. That does not work for me because I am not a morning person. However, I made a list of the things that were mentioned and based on my own values and goals, I chose what I wanted to work on. I did not do any of them over night or all together. I worked on each of them individually and on separate days so that I was not overwhelmed by these changes.
My list comprises of the following ideas which I think will benefit anyone who is reading this article.
- Look at what is causing the stress and minimize it when possible. In my case, I have been overworking myself. Therefore, I decided, to schedule what needed to be done in my Google Calendar and let go of the extra work that did not need to be done right away. Therefore, I was able to focus on my priorities.
- De-clutter. The clutter around my house was bothering me. One night, when was husband was asleep, I decided to spend some time cleaning in silence. I could have put on music but I am working toward being okay with not having sound around me all of the time. I did not spend the whole night cleaning but the hour that I put in, really helped me feel good about myself and my space.
- Meditation. I am catholic so I pray. Prayer, as many people know, is a form of mediation. However, I wanted to learn how to still in silence. I find that when I pray, I talk a lot and I do not sit and listen. Therefore, I started listening to guided meditationsand started working on deep breathing. My goal is to get to 30 minutes. Currently, I am between 10-15 minutes. With practice though, I will get there.
- Explore. I love travelling. Since my cousins were visiting us, my husband and I decided to take them on a road trip to Banff and Calgary. When we toured the provinces of Canada last summer, we were not able to stop off at Banff. We said that we would go back at some point. This seemed like the perfect opportunity. I got to explore a cave and I was finally able to see and enjoy Lake Louise. It was breath taking. I remember standing there in awe and taking in the beauty that surrounded me.
- Soaking in the Sunshine. I love summer. The day after my aunt left, I decided to continue working on what she taught me. I took out a small stool, got a chocolate milkshake and just enjoyed the sun. Oh my gosh! I felt so relaxed just sitting there.
- Style. While I do not put much weight on dressing up or being fancy. I just needed a change. I decided to get a haircut. You can see the difference between the pictures above and the one below. Having some of my hair cut off felt like I was taking away some of the weight that has been weighing me down. I felt lighter and happier.
- Exercise and Hydrate. I walk around when I teach but rarely do I move around at any other time. Also, I always forget to drink water. My goal has been to drink at least 4 cups or 1 liter of water a day. I kept telling myself that I would get around to working on these things but I have always found an excuse not do it. I have been eyeing the Fitbit but they were always too expensive. Finally, a few days ago, we saw it on sale. My husband said that he would get it for me as an early birthday gift. I was elated. As soon as I got it, I plugged in all of my goals and have been steadily working toward them. Today, I managed to work my way up to drinking 1 liter of water. My goal was to walk 5,000 steps. I managed just over 9,000. Being able to see it and have reminders pop up is perfect for me. Of course, everyone is different.
- Family and Friends. I often find that I get so busy with work that I do not make time for the people I love. For the past two weeks, I have been contacting my friends and getting together with them. We have enjoyed some lovely walks with tea, some great chocolate covered waffles, shopping or awesome meals. It felt good to go out and see my friends today and then end my evening having a lovely chat with my mother.
I am not claiming to be perfect or even great at any of the above mentioned relaxation techniques right now. As you can tell, I have been developing this over the past couple of weeks. I am going to work on it and build these into a habit.
This works for me but it may not be for everyone. Please let me know if you have tried any of them or if you are trying something different. I would love to know the outcome in the comments below.
Thank you for reading this article. I cannot wait to hear back from you.
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