Are you struggling to find ways to reduce your stress level without medication?
Do you feel as though your stress only grows and never diminishes, leaving you feeling frustrated and disheartened?
Do you often experience the following symptoms: memory problems, poor judgement, anxious thoughts, near constant worrying, moodiness and irritability, feeling overwhelmed, aches and pain, nail biting, to name a few?
If so, you’re not alone. I, too, struggle with stress. Over the past few months, it has skyrocketed. And as a result, has made me extremely anxious, to the point of having anxiety attacks, mostly at night, that make it hard for me to sleep. Lack of sleep only contributes to my levels of stress.
It’s a vicious cycle.
A neverending vicious cycle.
I literally feel like I’m stuck on a carousel, going around and around and around….and I can’t get off. I’m stuck.
My fiancé and I have had many discussions about both of our stress levels and what we can do to help them. We know stress is a part of life, and that it will never go away completely. However, we also know that there are things we can do to help relieve some of stress so we can live a happier, more fulfilling life.
Here are some of the things that work for us. They may or may not work for you.
- Exercise: Recently, a friend and co-worker of my fiancé, gave me a recumbent bike to use. My fiancé encourages me to ride it for at least 10 minutes when I start to feel stressed and overwhelmed. It does help, as does walking and hiking. Other forms of exercise that relax my body and quiet my mind are yoga and pilates. I haven’t done the last two things in awhile, but I want to start again because the last time I did it faithfully, I was more centered and able to deal with the stress that life brings.
- Listen to calming music: What one person finds calming, others won’t. For me it’s nature sounds, music geared towards meditation, Native American music and Tibetan music. I love to play this music when I use the bike. I close my eyes and let my mind go.
- Read before bed: There are many nights that my body is so wound up, I can’t relax and fall asleep. I lay there, staring at the ceiling, waiting for sleep to take me, but it doesn’t. My mind is too busy, racing from one thought to the next, and they’re usually not good thoughts. They are worrisome ones that make me anxious. So to deal with those thoughts, I read. A lot. I read until my eyes can’t stay open a moment longer.
- Drink a cup of tea: I have found that a nice warm cup of tea relaxes me sometimes, especially chamomile.
- No soda before bed: After doing some research, I’ve found that caffeine before bed makes me anxious and only feeds my stress and anxiety.
- Pet/cuddle with your animals: When I’m stressed, my minpin loves to curl up beside me. Her companionship actually does help me feel better.
- Organize your home: I don’t know about you, but when my house is a mess or is disorganized, I get very stressed out and find it extremely hard to concentrate. When that happens, my work suffers because I tell myself I should be cleaning and not working. But if I don’t work, I don’t make money, which means I get even more stressed. With the help of my fiancé, we are coming up with ways to organize our house so I don’t get overwhelmed, like in the picture below. We use these bins to help organize our children’s clothing. They are responsible for folding their clothes and putting them away.
- Take a bubble bath: One of the most relaxing things that I love to do is take a bubble bath. I also like to light candles and read a book while I soak.
- Eat healthier: I admit, we don’t always eat the healthiest. We occasionally splurge on food that would be better left untouched, but for the most part, I make everything homemade. Not only is it better for us, it’s also cheaper, which means we’re saving money, which equals less stress!
- Sleep: When I actually get a good night’s sleep, I wake up in the morning feeling refreshed and less stressed. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, I relish the feeling.
- Get a massage: When I have an anxiety attack brought on by stress, my fiancé gives me massages to help ease the tension from my body. Now if only I could clone him so he could give me one every couple of hours.
Not all of these stress-reducing tips work 100% of the time. What works one day may not work the next for me. That is why I’m interested in adding more tips to my list. If you have any suggestions that have worked for you, I would love if you shared them.
*Photo courtesy of grietgriet.