We are all familiar with the stress that comes with living in the 21st century – information overload, increased expectations, fast approaching deadlines, and having too much on our plates. Sometimes just being told to make time to de-stress stresses me out!
Today, let’s de-stress with less stress. There is no need to work harder to lessen your stress. I propose we approach lessening our stress in kinder and gentler ways.
Here are 5 Simple Ways You Can De-Stress and Love and Care for Yourself Today:
These ideas are easy to use and take very little effort. Pick one or two that appeal to you. Experiment with what refuels, nourishes, and brings peace and calm to your day.
- Accept you’re negative feelings.
Oftentimes when I find I am anxious, I try very hard to not be anxious. The anxiety continues to build even more and I become anxious over being anxious. You know what I’m saying?! J It only makes the anxiety worse!
The antidote – Instead, when negative feelings arise during your day, don’t stress. Allow them to be present, without fighting against them, and they will lessen and loosen their grip.
Russ Harris, the author of The Happiness Trap, shares in his book one of the traps to experiencing happiness is when you fight against your negative feelings rather than accepting them. Harris found that fighting and resisting your feelings actually creates more stress.
What would you do if you were to fall into quick sand and you struggled to set yourself free? We all know what would happen. We would sink faster, right? It’s the same with your emotions.
Kristin Neff from Self-Compassion.org shares how the more you resist your painful feelings the more suffering you will experience. She says that rather than resist your negative feelings, allow your feelings to be present, expand your capacity to accept them, and your suffering will lessen.
So the next time you notice your neck is tense, you have a pit in your stomach, or your experiencing that anxious feeling – slow down, notice it, and allow it to be. Don’t judge it as good or bad, or resist it in anyway.
Remember the saying, “This too shall pass” – it will. Allow the feeling to be, observe it, and open your heart to accept it. Notice the difference and how this feels in your body, your mind, and your spirit.
2. Just Breathe.
The next time you feel your mind racing, your pulse elevating, and that anxious feeling rising, give yourself permission to just be and breathe.
Make time in your day to be quite and allow your thoughts to run free. This might only start by taking 2 minutes while your sitting at your computer. Imagine your jumbled up thoughts being invited to be present and allowed to just be.
When I remember to just be and breathe, my body begins to relax and my mind becomes more focused and clear.
Try it. Close your eyes and take simply a minute to breathe deeply. Imagine nourishing your body with the oxygen it needs. Give yourself permission today to slow down and return home to yourself—close your eyes and just breathe.
3. Take Back Control
I love this. Homaira Kabir, a writer, positive psychology coach, and cognitive behavioral therapist writes;
“When the present moment seems out of control, we try and escape it by living in the future. That’s when we begin to imagine a different job, a dreamy holiday, a utopian life. None of it changes reality though, and often makes it even more difficult to deal with it. A much better strategy would be to create pools of positivity in the present moment.”
Kabir suggests you think about what you can do in order to take back control and give yourself that much needed kindness and loving attention.
She asks, “ What can you do right now to take back control of your life? Something as simple as getting a haircut, calling up a friend for lunch, or buying a lavender-scented candle on the way home for a relaxing bath can give you that much-needed sense of control.”
That sure sounds good to me!
4. Stop “Should-ing” Yourself.
When we’re stressed and overwhelmed, our minds can fall prey to depressing self-talk that only makes us feel worse. It becomes easy to fall into the pit of catastrophic thinking – playing out negative future scenarios or beating ourselves up with self-deprecating judgments. These are the times we are susceptible to “should-ing” ourselves.
By asking empowering questions, you can help yourself break free from this ruminating self-talk.
Try this instead—next time you find yourself thinking, “This should be easier”, “I should be able to do more”, “I should work harder.” “I shouldn’t feel the way I do”, change your self-talk.
Instead ask yourself;
- “What do I want right now?”
- “What would feel good to me?”
- “Is what I am telling myself really true?”
- “What’s one baby step that I can take right now to move forward?”
This will help to create positive outcomes rather than ruminating self talk and distorted thinking.
5. Remind Yourself—You Are Enough Just the Way You Are.
We live in a culture that tells us to DO MORE, BE MORE and WORK HARDER. And it’s difficult in this day and age, when everything is constantly coming at us at record speed, to not feel like we have to do more, be more, and work harder to just keep up.
Next time you’re in that overwhelming headspace when you’re telling yourself to work harder, be more, do more—say out loud—“I am enough. There is nothing I need to do in order to be more lovable than I already am.” I find this so hard for women to believe! It’s difficult for most of us to even say it, let alone believe it.
Give yourself permission to slow down and not work so hard. Take a break. Step away from the screen. Turn your phone off and just let yourself be. Try this for an hour and see if you feel calmer, more connected to yourself and others, and more at peace.
Next time you find yourself stressed and overwhelmed— de-stress by doing less. Don’t fight your negative feelings, allow yourself to just be, breathe, and take back control by doing something kind for yourself. Remind yourself to take a break and practice asking yourself what you need most in moments of stress. You are more than enough. You don’t need to work harder, and do more. All you need to do is take the next baby step forward. And that baby step, may in fact, be to de-stress and give yourself the kindness and self-love you deserve.
Questions: What helps you to de-stress in moments when you’re stressed and overwhelmed? What is one takeaway that you want to try?