Deal With Stress in a Positive Way
I’ve got a lot going on in my life right now. I’m on deadline for our biggest magazine issue of the year, grades are due for the college class I teach, I’m in two weddings this summer, my husband is interviewing for a new job, we may have to move for husband’s new job, and we’re expecting our first child at the end of July. Oh, and my house is a mess, my lawn needs to be mowed, and I don’t have a free weekend off until the baby arrives.
Does your life sound anything like mine? I bet, for many of you, it does.
Summertime is supposed to be fun, leisurely, carefree. But every time I flip the calendar page on May, my life turns to chaos. There is so much going on during the warm summer months that it’s hard to do it all. And even when you do say no, it’s easy to get stressed out. And boy, am I stressed out right now!
Stress in vast quantities and for long periods of time is not good for our bodies or our minds. That’s why, even though I have so much stuff to do, I’m taking a week off in June for vacation. I have to. If I don’t, I know myself—I’ll get sick.
But what do you do when you can’t take a vacation right away and a day at the spa is just too expensive? Here are some tips on how to relax to keep yourself on track and on task:
Do Nothing, Literally
I mean it. Even if you have 10 minutes to spare in your otherwise hectic day, do nothing. Close the door to your office, turn away from your computer screen, shut your eyes, and just breathe. If you can, and it’s a nice day out, go outside and sit (or lay) in the grass for a little bit. This change of scenery can recharge you more than you know.
Stuck in traffic or waiting for the subway? Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths instead of catching up with Words With Friends on your iPhone. Unplug yourself, even if it’s just for a few moments, and be calm. Put some relaxing music on your smartphone or iPod—I prefer classical music or something instrumental without words—and pop on your headphones.
Take a Walk
I dare you to go for a walk and not feel better afterwards. I’m not sure it’s possible, unless, of course, it’s raining out.
Getting away from your current environment gives your mind something new to focus on, plus even a little bit of exercise provides endorphins that elevate your mood. —TheDailyMuse
The great thing about taking a walk is that it can be as short—or as long—as you like. Plus it doesn’t cost anything.
Aerobic exercise of any kind has the power to calm jangled nerves and improve bad moods. And when it’s done every day, it can enhance self-esteem and combat depression. Indeed, research has shown that a brisk 20- to 30-minute walk can have the same calming effect as a mild tranquilizer. —Prevention.com
Do Something For You
If you don’t make time for something you enjoy, no one else will. Sure you’re probably tempted to run errands with an extra hour in your day, but is it really going to make you feel better in the long run? Your errand will be done, but you’ll still be stressed.
Schedule time in your week or month to do something for you. Maybe it’s a beer-making or yoga class or maybe it’s a night out with your friends. Be proactive about creating this time for yourself and stick to it no matter what. Doing something you enjoy is a natural stress reliever—and it makes you happy!
We all go through spells in our life when we feel overwhelmed. For many freelancers, it is a way of life. Learning how to deal with it can be a challenge, but it’s a challenge worth taking on.
What are some ways you relieve stress in your life?