Less Stress Now with Regina Close, LMT, Owner of Washington Green Spa & Wellness
I get so frustrated when I feel like I'm always running behind. Sometimes, it seems like I can't keep up no matter how hard I try. Every time I get one thing accomplished, I turn around to find a mountain of things just waiting for me to conquer. You've been there too, haven't you?
I don't know about you, but for me this causes stress. When it goes on for long periods of time, it causes chronic stress. Chronic stress puts your health at risk. It can wreak havoc on your mind and body. With chronic stress you have an increased risk of anxiety, depression, digestive issues, heart disease, sleep problems, weakened immune system, weight gain, memory & concentration impairments and more.
Before we talk about some simple ways to reduce stress in your every day life, let's first understand our bodies' natural stress response as told from the MayoClinic:
Understanding the Natural Stress Response
My biggest hurtle when it comes to finding stress relief is realizing I'm not being selfish. YOU are not being selfish by taking care of yourself first. You can better care for others when you take care of yourself. Realize your health and well-being is not indulgence,
it's respect for yourself.
"Wellness is the complete integration of body, mind, and spirit- the realization that everything we do, think, feel and believe has an effect on our state of well-being." -Greg Anderson
So now the question:
How can we lessen the amount of stress in our daily lives so we can be
healthier and happier?
I've been a massage therapist since 2007, I've seen what chronic stress can do to a person. I'm going to share some ideas with you that I have personally implemented into my life as well as a few things I have noticed that have tremendously helped clients and friends of mine. Everyone reacts differently to stressors, in that same regard, some of these tips may be more useful to you than others. If you have any additional tips that have helped you, I would love for you to comment below.
To help me conquer the frustrations of always feeling like I'm running around like a chicken with my head cut off, I have started planning more diligently. These two things have made a tremendous difference in our stress levels due to daily activities.
We first have a Weekly Planning Board that is made from a collage style picture frame and a dry erase marker.
My husbands' schedule is ever changing. My schedule isn't much more constant. Then, throw the activities of our children into the mix.... We sit down on Sundays and fill out our board for the week ahead. We are able to see who will be where, what days we need additional child care, and hopefully, what day we can do something fun together. It's nothing fancy, but it gets the job done. A simple system is key here.
In addition to our Weekly Planning Board, we do a Weekly Menu. Our menu board has been a life saver, not only for our sanity but our budget, as well. I don't know how many times I had come home from work at 5 or 6pm, the boys are starving, I'm scrambling around in the kitchen trying to create a healthy meal with random ingredients in under 10 minutes. Stressful. While we are filling out our Weekly Planner we fill out the menu according to our schedules, then grocery shop according to the list. The menu has reduced stress in the evenings and allowed us to have a more balanced diet.
This board is also just a picture frame with fun paper and a dry erase marker.
Diet & Exercise is something we could spend hours talking about, but let's just touch on it for a minute. Exercising is a fabulous stress reliever! I'm not saying you need to become a marathon runner, but scheduling small things, like a 30 minute walk in the evening, will help you lower your stress level. Diet can play a key role in stress as well. Eliminating processed foods and making healthy choices will give your body the vitamins and nutrients it needs to fight stress and boost your immune system. If you don't exercise on a regular basis or eat healthy then start by taking baby steps. If you keep up with it, you will soon have a new habit which turns into a lifestyle.
I have been focusing on Minimalist Living a lot lately. It's amazing how getting rid of clutter in your house and life can seem to free up space in your mind. Do you really need 32 bath towels in your linen closet for a family of 4? I sure didn't. My boys loved donating many of them to the local animal shelter and I loved a less cluttered closet. I even de-cluttered my email. I unsubscribed to about 90% of my daily email subscriptions. I was receiving over 200+ emails a day and only opening about 5. It was way out of hand. For some reason, when that little email notification number rises, so does my blood pressure.
Say "No" to negativity. You may not even notice how much negativity is around you every day. When I made a conscious effort to avoid it, when possible, I started to realize I had a lot more negativity in my life than I had originally thought. I stopped following negative people on social media. For me, this also included the news. I look for things to inspire me and make me laugh. I found that my mind doesn't wander into the most horrific situation possible as often any more.
I had a handful of friends who pretty much only talked about negative things or made negative comments all of the time. I want to be around people who support me and inspire me to be a better person. I want to be that person to my friends, too. Healthy friendships are vital to your health. Healthy friendships provide you with a trusted source for 'talk therapy'. Sometimes, just saying something out loud can get it of your chest.
Laughter is a great stress reliever! Sometimes, you just need to let go and laugh at little things. I'm easily entertained, so for me something as simple as autocorrect fails or videos like this. Like I said, I'm easily entertained. We also keep a 'Jolly Journal' and write anything funny our kids say or do. I love looking through it when I'm having a rough day.
Always remember to seek professional counseling if you feel you cannot deal with the stress. They are there to help. If you need a recommendation, don't hesitate to ask. There is absolutely no shame in seeking professional help.
Lastly, you need to find something you absolutely love and make sure you schedule time to do it every week. Yes, schedule it- make it a priority. It could be anything from painting, reading a book, going for a walk, meeting a friend for coffee, sitting on the deck with your spouse, meditation, baking, getting a massage- whatever you would consider "me time." Remember, you need to relax, renew & rejuvenate- you cannot pour from an empty cup.
Now take a step back and look at your daily life. We cannot eliminate all stressors, but find one thing that causes you stress on a regular basis. Work on that this week.
35 Days Of Less Stress
Need some ideas of something easy to implement into your life to help reduce tension and stress?
Click the calendar to download and print your copy.
Make sure to highlight the things you've tried that have made you feel the best. When you get to the end of the calendar, reflect on those highlighted items and add them to your calendar for next month.
Make it intentional.
One last thing, schedule a little self-care time at the spa. It's been said that a 60 minute session at the spa is like 8 hours of rest for your body. Who couldn't use 8 hours or rest?
Washington Green Spa & Wellness
1713 Madison Ave. Suite 110
Washington, MO 63090