Technology is supposed to make life easier and help us accomplish tasks more quickly, but for many, today’s technological advances have only made life more stressful.
Too many emails, endless text messages, staying on top of everything, responsibility overload, and long to-do lists make many of us feel like we are doing nothing but playing catch up. We all need to find ways to relax a bit, which is why La Grande Family Medicine has compiled 10 sources of stress relief to improve your general health.
The Stress Epidemic
We lead busy and complicated lives with families that need constant attention, work deadlines, and, of course, that little voice in our head that’s never satisfied with our efforts. Yes, a lot of our stress comes from what we put on ourselves. It affects our concentration, causes sleepless nights, plus it contributes to our aches and pains that all negatively affect our general health and well-being.
Then again, a little bit of stress is not necessarily all bad. Sometimes we need a little push to complete important tasks and stay on track. It helps us to perform under pressure like finishing a report at work or keeping up with family obligations.
So, how do we find that happy medium and reduce stress?
Learn to Say No
A lot of us find that this simple action is actually really hard to do, and as a result we keep adding to our list of commitments. We do it because we want to be part of a team and we think others expect it of us. Let go of the people pleaser in you, and develop a “picky plate.” Be practical and decide what and how much you want to put on it. If you say no, they will find someone else, and it will get easier to say no next time.
Have a Support Network
It always helps to talk about issues with someone you trust, and to brainstorm solutions with them. Sometimes just the act of talking about a problem helps relieve the pressure.
Find time in your day just for you. Even five minutes at a specific time everyday may give you the break you need to cope and recharge. Try yoga or tai chi.
Watch Your Caffeine
Gradually reduce the amount of coffee, alcohol, and nicotine you take in each day. If that thought is stressing you already, just try reducing a little each week.
Listen to Your Favorite Relaxing Music
Maybe your favorites include jazz, rock, or classical. Listen to whatever works to keep your thoughts away from that lurking to-do list. “Take It Easy” by the Eagles might be a good start.
A way to release some extra endorphins is to find an outlet like running, walking, or other athletic endeavor. The benefits are best when you exercise consistently, and regular exercise can improve your sleep patterns and self image, which will make you feel better emotionally.
Don’t knock it ‘till you try it. Essential oils like lavender, chamomile, and rose can change your mood. Find candles with soothing scents and burn them on a particularly bad day, or any day that you like.
Don’t Rush Me, I’m Waiting for the Last Minute
Procrastinators beware of this methodology. Nothing increases stress more than trying to do all your tasks at the last minute. That dreaded to-do list can be helpful if you prioritize it and decide how much to accomplish each and every day. Then draw the line – literally and figuratively.
Listen to the Birds
Go outside and listen to the birds for 5 minutes, but don’t take your phone. Nature is there for our enjoyment, and no matter the season you can find delight in the sunlight, rain, or the sounds of the outdoors.
If the stress of the world is overwhelming you, or someone in your family, reach out for some help. With teen anxiety and depression becoming more frequent, it is also incredibly important to be aware of your children’s mental health and to watch for serious symptoms.
Whether the source of your stress is the demands made by the world or the demands you put on yourself, you can control its influence over you and your health with some conscious actions.
Talk with your physician at La Grande Family Medicine if your stress seems overwhelming so that the two of you can explore some new strategies and treatments for any uncontrollable stress.