Stress is without a doubt one of the most insidious and harmful things that a person can fell, short of paranoia and distrust. The reason behind this is quite simple; prolonged stress will cause all sorts of measurable, physiological effects on the human body. In fact, prolonged stress in one’s life can be almost as damaging as Diabetes, in that it can cause digestive and sleep issues, cardiac issues, not to mention potentially harming and damaging personal relationships, if not managed properly.
“Self-care Is Not Selfish. You Cannot Serve From An Empty Vessel.”– Eleanore Brown
It continues to amaze me, how people manage their stress so poorly. But don’t lat that amazement fool you; I’m just as guilty of being unable to do so. Even recently, I’ve found myself managing my own stress quite poorly and as I’ve written about before, you can’t truly help others until you’ve helped yourself. Therefore, if you’re stressed and managing it poorly, you’ll be ill-equipped to help others or deal with issues outside of that stress.
A lot of people are afraid of taking the time to self-care because they either feel that it’s a selfish thing to take time for oneself or are made to feel this way by others. The caveat there is that if you’re surrounded by people who consider you selfish for taking care of yourself, they’re likely a big part of the stress you’re feeling. And although I’m not suggesting throwing momma from the train, eliminating those negative sources of stress from your life is a huge step towards self-care.
There are a number of things you can do that are extremely helpful with managing stress within one’s own life. They seem obvious and may be common sense to some but if sense were common, it wouldn’t need saying. For that reason, I’ve decided to share some tips on what one can do to help manage daily stress. Here are a few gems:
1. Exercise Regularly: Look, I don’t care if cardio, weightlifting or fuckin’ speed-walking is your poison! Just get up off the couch and do it. Regular exercise not only helps improve your overall health and mood, it will help mitigate the feelings of stress. At least three or four times a week, set aside at least an hour for some sort of physical activity. I know that in the hustle and bustle of modern life, finding this time can be difficult. But the benefits of doing so far outweigh the struggle of finding said time. As the popular logo says, just do it!;
2. Maintain a Proper Diet: Again, this might seem like common sense but the reality is that if you eat like trash, you’ll feel like trash. And if you’re one of those people who justify their diets because they eat fish and poultry a few times a week, it doesn’t count if those foods are battered and deep fried. Eat lean proteins and be sure to includes some freakin’ veggies in that mix (something I’m sorely lacking). There’s nothing wrong with occasionally snacking, but this doesn’t mean eating the entire bag of chips or binging, even if it’s only one day a week. Contrary to the joke where an entire cake is only one piece if you believe in yourself, moderation is key;
“If Your Compassion Does Not Include Yourself, It Is Incomplete.”– Jack Kornfield
3. Get Enough Sleep: Please take note that I didn’t say “get some sleep.” I said to get ENOUGH sleep. There’s a big difference, there. I recall a time where I could get away with five or six hours’ sleep and still function normally the next day. The problem with that kind of thing is that rejuvenating sleep is not cumulative. You can’t skimp on proper sleep all week and then sleep for twelve hours a night on the weekends. that won’t repair the damage it does. Proper sleep will greatly help in decreasing feelings of stress and anxiety one experiences. A rested mind will manage daily stress far better than the opposite;
5. Get A Hobby: Look, it may sound easier said than done but the purpose to life isn’t to simply go to work, come home and have dinner then flop on the couch and wait for bed. Wash, rinse and repeat. There needs to be some purpose to your life, whether that means playing with your kids, building models, playing with LEGO’s, whatever! There needs to be something that you do for yourself that takes you out of the humdrum habit of the daily grind; and
6. Find Your Inner Zen: Yes, I know! Not everyone is into religion or spirituality but you know what? You really don’t have to be, in order to reduce stress and anxiety within one’s life. Meditation, yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi… Hell, just go sit by the water and have some quiet, contemplative time to yourself. All of those things will go a long way towards helping you overcome stress and live a happier life.
Having some stress in life is normal. After all, a sense of urgency is necessary in order to reach and accomplish some goals. But if your stress is deep and affects your overall daily life, you may want to consider some of the above elements that can affect one’s overall ability to manage that stress. Your health’s be wellbeing are paramount to a happy life. And you can’t take care of others until you’ve learned to take care of yourself. Food for thought… ☯️