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Chronic stress can zap your energy and undermine your health. If tensions build up throughout the week, you may have trouble resting and recharging on your days off. Then, you start the next week tired out from the start.
Break the cycle with this 4-step plan to squash stress before it accumulates. Start your week off feeling peaceful and relaxed.
Step 1 – Practice Relaxation for Less Stress
- Slow down. Do you rush around from Monday to Friday trying to meet deadlines at work and deliver your kids to soccer practice on time? Wake up early and leave a gap between appointments. Pause to collect your thoughts, and listen to birds sing.
- Turn off your phone. Try to disconnect for at least an hour each day. Connect with family and friends face-to face instead of texting.
- Pray and meditate. For many adults, spiritual traditions are the ultimate source of stability and contentment. Study inspirational & spiritual texts and contemplate how they relate to your personal challenges.
- Express your creativity. Whatever your beliefs, you can blow off steam by engaging in arts and crafts. Play the piano, try adult coloring, or knit your husband a sweater.
- Live mindfully. Studies show that humans aren’t very good at multitasking, and jumping from one subject to another creates anxiety. Focus on the present moment to accomplish more with less effort.
Step 2 – Think Positive for Less Stress
- Edit your self talk. Treat yourself with compassion. Acknowledge your fears and losses. Encourage yourself to keep striving.
- Cultivate gratitude. Remembering our blessings reminds us of our connection to each other and the divine. The world instantly looks a lot friendlier, and that’s reassuring.
- Let go of expectations. Of course, many outcomes in life are beyond our control. Base your confidence on your ability to adapt to setbacks and changing circumstances. Accept uncertainty, and take pleasure in the opportunity to learn and stretch your skills.
- Laugh it off. Most of the things that make us uneasy have their funny side. Look for the humor in really bad parking or kitchen remodeling jobs that go way over schedule.
Step 3 – Take Better Care of Yourself
- Exercise regularly. Physical activity is good for your body and mind. In addition to burning calories, a walk through the park will dissolve stress. Find a variety of workouts you enjoy so you can look forward to swimming or volley ball.
- Eat a nutritious diet. The food we eat plays an important role in keeping us resilient and able to deal with stress. Get most of your calories from vegetables and fruits, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Reward yourself with theater tickets instead of second helpings of dessert.
- Sleep well. Your body uses sleep as a time to heal the physical inflammation caused by stress. Give your body the sleep it needs to heal itself from the harmful effects of stress. Go to bed and rise at about the same time each day. Darken your bedroom or wear ear plugs if lights and noise are disturbing your slumbers.
Step 4 – Simplify Your Routines for Less Stress
- Clear away clutter. Clean and spacious settings make it easier to relax. Gather up items you no longer use. Donate them to charity or sell them online. As a bonus, you’ll be able to complete your housework in less time, eliminating another common source of stress.
- Buy less. Prevent clutter from gaining a foothold by consuming less. Figure out how many shoes and electronic gadgets you really need.
- Eliminate unnecessary tasks. Streamline your schedule too. Focus on your most important priorities, and avoid taking on other obligations.
Cut stress off at the source. Begin your week with simple habits and easy decisions that protect your peace of mind. You’ll feel less frazzled and more alive each day.
How to Reduce Stress and Enjoy Life More
Sometimes, it’s not the big stressors in life that are draining away your ability to enjoy life. It can be the little, everyday stressors that create stress and anxiety. You’ll never experience a time in your life when everything is perfect, but having too many things wrong can seriously impede your ability to smile.
Allowing these little stressors to accumulate is common. They can seem like too much of a hassle to address in the moment, so we put them off until another day. This can be a mistake. Many of these stressors are chronic. They might be small, but we’re forced to deal with them day after day.
7 ideas to manage the little stressors in life each day
- Be more organized. Reducing clutter can reduce the load on your mind. Handling the little things leaves more internal resources for handling the bigger things.
- Make a list of all the things you need to accomplish. These are many of the “little things” mentioned in the previous point. These are things like bills that need to be paid, phone calls that need to be made, an oil change for your car, making an appointment with the dentist, and anything that’s hanging over your head.
These may seem like minor things, but they weigh on you 24 hours a day. Start taking care of these things and avoid allowing them to pile up.
3. Make a list of the things in your life that annoy you. It might be the squeaky front door to your house, the dome light in your car that doesn’t function, your wobbly chair at work, or the glare on the TV screen from the window at the front of the living room.
These little things that get on your nerves over and over create stress. Make a plan to address these issues and get them out of your life once and for all. Why suffer over and over each day?
4. Avoid procrastination. Get started on things when you still have plenty of time to do them at a comfortable pace and do them well. The alternative is to wait until you’re under a lot of time pressure, and you don’t have enough time to do them well.
Make time for YOU!
5. Schedule time to relax. It’s also important to use that time to do something you find relaxing. Schedule time in your day for activities that you find calm and relaxing. You might want to take a nap, read a book, go for a walk, or listen to music that makes you smile. Plan your relaxation time. Try this self-care night routine and see if it works for you.
6. Evaluate your relationships. Think about your friends, family, neighbors, and coworkers. Which of your relationships could use a little fine tuning? Which relationships need a complete overhaul? And which should be dropped?
7. Take a look at your job. You spend most of your waking hours during the week at your job, so it can be a major source of stress in your life. Maybe it’s time to put your resume out there or to look at another position within the company.
Even if you’re fortunate enough not to have any major stressors in your life at the moment, the little stressors can take their toll. Manage these chronic stressors and you’ll find that the quality of your life increases. Take steps to reduce the everyday stress in your life.
Less Stress Tips & Coping Mechanisms That Work
Stress is sneaky and can sometimes grow out of control, sometimes leading to physical symptoms that may include headaches, long-term weight gain, or chronic diseases.
Luckily there are things that you can do to lower your stress levels, helping to keep your cortisol levels manageable.
Try these 8 strategies to cope with your stress
- Acknowledge your stress. The first step is to acknowledge that you are stressed. By thinking about the stress in the first instance you can decide if you simply need a break, or if this is a more long-term issue that needs more effort to resolve
- Inhale essential oils. Essential oils such as lavender or sandalwood have been found to help calm the mind during times of stress and anxiety.
- Go for a walk. There are a couple of reasons why walking is good for stress. First, it helps you to escape your current situation. And secondly, any type of exercise will help to release endorphins, which are a type of neurotransmitter that can lighten your mood.
- Write away the stress. When you write down what you are stressed about, you can logically think of ways to tackle the issue or circumstance. This will help you to focus more on the positives than the negatives.
- Talk about your situation in the third person. This method helps you to exert self-control over any negative emotions.
- Take a hot bath. Taking a bath in hot water helps to release endorphins and increase blood flow to your skin. Stress increases pain, and a hot bath will help alleviate both.
- Reach out to your friends. An effective way to reduce stress is by talking to a friend. Sometimes hearing about your troubling issues from someone else’s perspective will help you to look at the challenge differently and find possible solutions.
- Try foam rolling. Foam rolling will help you to release those built-up knots and ultimately reduce stress.
Recognize Your Triggers & Take Action to Lower Stress
If you find yourself easily triggered by simple mistakes and lacking in patience, perhaps stress has built up to a level where action needs to be taken.
Chronic stress can lead to an increased risk of developing depression, anxiety, and many serious chronic diseases. Use these stress reduction tips daily to cope with your stress and soon you’ll find that you have less stress to cope with!