Yeah, stress is stressful. Stress is hard on your physical state, emotional state, and quite frankly just makes life way less fun. Our last blog went over the details - how insane it is that nearly three-quarters of Americans suffer from stress in one way or another, but a third of us suffer from stress in a major way, chronic stress. It’s easy to just dismiss basic suggestions like, “hey, just live a less stressful life, duh!” so we’ve compiled a list with a few realistically helpful tips.
This takes practice. By “managing thoughts” we mean identifying those more stressful thoughts and trying to compartmentalize them for a better time/place. This doesn’t mean ignoring these thoughts, but rather training your brain to think about bills while you’re paying bills rather than when you’re trying to enjoy your coffee on the drive to work. It’s easy to allow stress to consume your entire being. Attempting to manage your thoughts can help your stream of consciousness to feel a little lighter.
Preventing & Managing Stress
Organize your home. Invest in a filing cabinet, or even empty out that “junk drawer” in your home and fill it with folders. Keep all important documents in one place. Starting small and then expanding to the rest of your living space can be incredibly cathartic, and can prevent the stress of clutter, or that nagging feeling of being unable to find anything!
Plan your day. Try to tackle high-priority or time-consuming tasks earlier in the day. Having a clear goal can make the fog of “I have so many things to do” much easier to manage.
Delegation. Having help is key! There’s plenty of reasons things may be too much to handle whether it’s anxiety or some tasks are just “too much”. Allowing yourself to reach out if you need a hand, advice, or questions.
Long-term plans. It sounds corny, but there are huge benefits to knowing where you’d like to be going. It doesn’t have to extend to the rest of your life, but taking small glimpses into the future can assist in your daily decision making.
Keep an open mind. Life is occasionally random. Sometimes that randomness occurs at your expense. Roll with the punches, be open to alternative routes, and (ahem, refer to #3) ask for help.
Only multi-task intentionally! Rather than starting one hundred projects at once, finish them one at a time. There’s nothing wrong with tackling more than one thing at a time, but only because *you* want to, or feel most comfortable working in this way.
Remember: the best way to manage stress is to prevent it from happening in the first place, as best you can!
Pencil in downtime. If left to our own accord, most of us blaze through the day without a second thought. If you schedule a time to relax, you’re more likely to do it. What’s next on the to-do list? Chilling out for an hour? Yes, please!
Exercise, or rest. This one is pretty self-explanatory. Some people love the endorphins of a post-20 minute workout, others prefer a 20-minute catnap. Whatever floats your boat.
Receive regular body work! We’re not just saying that. Studies have shown that massage therapy can relax the autonomic nervous system (the “fight or flight” response), reduce depression symptoms, and help your body heal from stress tension. If you’re feeling stressed, ask your massage therapist to work slowly and focus on rhythmic breathing during your session.
Stress happens. Life happens. It seems that part of the human condition is to experience stress. While none of us at Massage Mechanics have the means to remove stressors from your life entirely, we hope this series has been a positive resource in identifying and understanding how stress works and learning to live alongside it in a healthy way. We’re rooting for you!