YAY!!! The Fall season is approximately 30 days away! Are you looking forward to it? We had a hot and brutal summer in our neck of the woods…so we are definitely looking forward to some cooler weather.
As summer comes to a close, you’re probably in the process of getting back into the “swing of things”. That may mean preparing your kids for “back to school” activities, getting the older kids ready for college, exploring a new career OR simply planning for the 4th quarter of the year.
Before you feel overwhelmed with all of the activity these next few months, here are 5 simple and healthy ways to deal with unavoidable stress:
1. MUSIC IS GOOD FOR THE SOUL
Listen to music you love. It will instantly lift your spirits and reduce psychological tension. Studies show that music helps us relax. When you’re driving home stuck in traffic, skip the talk radio, and listen to some good music; it will calm your mind.
Instead of turning on the television when you get home, play some music while cooking dinner. Dancing is another great stress buster!
2. LAUGH OUT LOUD
Always find time to laugh. Do you remember that saying: “Laughter is the best medicine?” It’s true. Laughter helps relieve stress and muscle tension.
There are so many ways to catch something funny… you can watch your favorite comedian “live” or “on screen” (thanks to Netflix and YouTube). Humor activates the release of endorphins, increases your intake of oxygen, and stimulates the heart. These are great excuses to “laugh out loud”!
3. MOVE YOUR BODY
Exercise is a great stress reliever. While you may not have time for a long workout, remember that even a few minutes of exercise per day can reduce stress. Try walking (or biking) around the block for even 10 minutes. Do some quick exercises while watching the evening news. Try doing push-ups, lunges or squats during weeknights.
Of course, when you have more time, like during weekends, or on your days off, increase the duration and intensity of your exercise. Moving your body not only reduces stress, but it also boosts our mood.
If you’re like me, you may not get enough sleep every once in a while due to certain circumstances. Your child may be sick, and may keep you up at night? Or maybe you’re stressed out at work? Not getting a good amount of sleep makes you feel even more stressed. When that happens, try taking a quick 10-minute power nap either mid- to late morning OR early afternoon.
Incorporate a healthy bedtime routine by doing something relaxing like reading a favorite book, writing in your journal or listening to some soothing music. Remember, when trying to get some much needed “shut-eye”, turn off your cell phone, tablet or computer screen.
5. BE GRATEFUL
Studies show that gratitude can have a positive impact on our physical, psychological, and social well-being. It’s hard to be grateful when you just had a bad day. Here’s something you can do to put things in perspective:
At the end of each day, before going to sleep, make a list of three things you are grateful for. Here are some examples:
“I am grateful for the running water in my house.”
“I am thankful for the comfortable bed I get to sleep in every night.”
“I am grateful for my spouse, even though he gets on my nerves. He makes me laugh.”
“I am thankful for my children. They test my patience sometimes, but my heart would be empty without them.”
Keep a Gratitude Journal. You’ll be surprised that the things you are grateful for are things that you take for granted.