April is National Stress Awareness Month! Wheeeee! ;) To celebrate, I’m sharing my top 3 approaches to reduce stress. Not “in-the-moment” tactics like getting a pedicure or shopping which can serve to ignore the stress for a while rather than deal with it… I’m talking ways we can alter life slightly to keep stress at least a little lower. After all, if we want to be fit, strong, healthy and happy, addressing our stress levels play a huge role. Too much stress can do a number not only on our waistlines but on our physical performance in and out of the gym as well!
Let’s dive in and address the stress.
Set boundaries to your schedule
“The glorification of busy” is real. Many of us do or have equated being busy with success; or having non-stop hustle with success; or saying, “I’m literally scheduling time to go to the bathroom,” with success. But is that making us healthy and happy?
If you answered, “HELL NO!”, ask yourself the following questions:
Know what you need to recharge from your day and don’t apologize for it.
Whether you’re an extrovert, and introvert or both (an ambivert!), you may need different ways to relax and recharge!
Introverts’ batteries recharge with alone time (that means alone. Like, away from partners, kids, parents, etc, no matter how much they love them). Extroverts are the opposite! Their batteries deplete with TOO much alone time. And then there’s the Ambivert, who possesses traits from both the Introvert and the Extrovert which means it can be a little tricker to hone in on the best ways to reduce stress.
Since most people fall into the Ambivert category, I thought we’d take inventory of the flow of our days:
Manage your environment
I ran into a friend of mine Wednesday morning in a coffee shop as I was writing this post. We were talking about how the weather would finally be changing and I said, “People are going to be bouncing off the walls with glee!” and Theresa replied, “You should talk about how being outside is a great stress-reliever!” And it is! If you look up “Can nature reduce stress?” you’ll find a plethora of information and links. Here’s a fantastic piece from National Geographic if you want to know more about what being in nature does to the “overstressed brain”.
But let’s say you can’t always get out into nature. What are some simple things you can do to alter your person-made environment to reduce stress:
At the end of the day, I know there are a host of life things you can’t change (at least not immediately): Your demanding job, your family status, the state of the world. I do hope, though, that you now have a few tactics you can employ to make life a little bit less chaotic and a little more zen.
And now I want to know: What do YOU do in your life that helps keep the stress down? Leave your comments below!