3 Tips to Manage Your Stress & Anxiety in Order to Get Through the Day
Jun 23, 2021
Today I want to talk to you about 3 Tips to help you reduce stress and anxiety and just get you through the day. Especially now as the world is reopening; Covid restrictions are becoming a thing of the past. Schedules are starting to fill up, the streets are starting to fill up with traffic - all of these things are stressful and bring more stress and anxiety into our lives.
There are a few things that I do on a daily basis that might help you so I wanted to pass those along:
- Get It Out of Your Head - Whatever it is your stressing about. The other day I was talking to a client about being stressed about all of the things that she has to do as a mom, getting kids here and there, stuff for work - just constant pressure and constant stress, so get it out of your head. Like I said, schedules are filling up again. I had the luxury, for over a year, of not using a calendar because we were all home all the time. But I had to get it back out because now we are scheduling things, I don't want to double book, and I want to make sure to have enough time to get from A to B. Get the calendar back out, whether it is digital or a planner, because otherwise you have all of this stuff swirling around in your head all the time. "I've got to do this" "I've got to do that" - pressure for this, pressure for that. Get it out of your head. Schedule it. Make a specific enough plan that you no longer have to have the pieces whirling around in your head. I like to think about all of the pieces. I like to be on time for stuff; I like to be prepared for stuff. If the planning includes not only putting the event and the time in, it might also include how long will it take to get there, what time do you have to wake up, what time do you have to leave the house, how long will it take to get from activity A to Activity B, do you need to bring something to activity B, and when are you going to get that. All of the planning that needs to happen, do that, write it down, and get it out of your head.
- Mindfulness. When you hear that word, you might think of something like meditation or breathing exercises which are both great ways to practice mindfulness. But you can also practice mindfulness wherever you are or whatever you are doing in the moment. The idea is, a lot of this stress or anxiety that we're experiencing is around stuff that has either happened in the past, or stuff that we are worried about happening in the future. Things that we are anxious about - "What if". "What if this happens" "What if I'm late", "What if I don't make it", "What if I'm unprepared", "What if I can't do this". We're all living in the "What if". The secret is to bring yourself back to the "What IS" - right now - what is happening. My silly example, and the place where I practice this most often is doing the dishes. I don't have a dishwasher, and especially in this past year where we've all been home, many of us have been home for three meals a day everyday, I do a lot of dishes. I get a lot of practice. Whatever I'm thinking about, I make a mental note, and then I bring myself back to what I'm doing in that moment. Maye I'm washing a plate. I feel the warm water if it's running, I feel and smell the suds, I hear the water, I feel the smoothness of the plate as I wash the food away. I just tell myself "I am here. I am washing this plate. That is all I'm doing". There might be sounds in the background. I might hear the TV in the other room, or music, or kids playing, laughing, or fighting. I use all of my senses to bring me back to the here and now. As soon as I say to myself "I am just here washing this plate" I can literally feel a sense of relief in my chest. I feel the stress or anxiety get released. That's another great thing to take note of. Where in your body are you holding the stress. For me it's in my chest. For you it could be in your shoulders, your head, your chest, or anywhere else in your body. When you are, at a later time, doing some breathing exercises or meditation, put some extra attention to that space where you hold the tension. Allow the breath to really go through that space. Visualize the breath going in and then back out of your chest. Same with your head, or shoulders, or wherever it is that you hold the stress. I literally feel relief as soon as I say to myself "I am just here, now, washing this dish". It's instantaneous for me. Keep doing that throughout the process. Stay in the here and now, because most often, what we're stressed about either happened before or we're worried about what's happening in the future, but very rarely is it what's going on right now. I am always ok in the here and now. It could be doing the dishes, cooking dinner, going for a walk, or doing your exercises. Another great place to practice it is when you're driving. Make sure you're in the moment when you're driving! Always stay in the here and now and that will really help relax you and reduce stress and anxiety.
- Shift Perspective. Reframe the way you're thinking about whatever it is that's giving you that stress or anxiety. Hopefully you've identified something specific that's stressing you out, and you can reframe what you're thinking about that. Maybe it's that this coming Saturday I've got five things planned and I'm just stressed out about how we're going to make it all happen smoothly, be here and there on time, and be prepared. I've done step number one and I've gotten it out of my head but I still feel stressed about it. Something that makes me laugh at myself about this is that I'll stop and I'll realize that all five things on that schedule are things that I want to do and things that I LOVE doing and am excited about doing! How is it that I've gone from doing these things that I love doing to being stressed out about them. So I just remind myself, "Hey, Mary - You're in control. You're doing stuff that you love doing because you want to do it." Again, that immediately helps relieve my stress about that. Reframe your perspective. Shift whatever it is that you're looking at, and the way you FEEL about it might shift as well. There might be things that you're doing that you're not excited about, but you can shift your perspective about it in some way. If it's something you have to do for work , then you can say to yourself "I really am excited about getting further along in this project" or "I'm doing this work because I get paid and I need to feed my family". Whatever it is, find the "why" you are doing it. That will remind you, and give you some peace about the event itself. Shifting perspective is huge and it usually helps you remove some of that stress or anxiety. When I remind myself that I'm doing something because I love it, because it's fun, if it's an activity that I'm taking my kids to I remind myself that they love it or they're getting exercise, or I get to watch them do something they're good at. Whatever it is, you can find a "why" that resonates with you and gives you purpose around that event. The purpose will bring you peace.
Those are the three tips for reducing your stress and anxiety on a daily basis, just helping you get through the day. Releasing that tension will help your health mentally, physically, and emotionally and will allow you to live just a little bit lighter each day.
Please reach out personally if you need more one on one help with these tips or personal support of any kind. If you are interested in a self guided personal development class, have a look at From Stuck to Success. It elaborates on these and many more practices that will help you manage stress, anxiety, and help you live a life you love.