Stress much? Not at all? Oh good, me neither.
Not true. I’ve been known to get overly stressed. I’ve been known to be a high-stress person. And stress is not good for us. In fact, it’s downright bad for us.
Gone are the days of being proud to be spastically busy and overwhelmed. We now know that living a more balanced life is much more important to our overall well-being and longevity. And while you may not be able to change the demanding responsibilities of your job, nor cut out all of the things you have to do each day in your role as a parent/sibling/friend/care-giver/whatever-you-may-be, you CAN change the way you handle and react to that stress.
That’s right, you have the power to reduce your stress in little ways.
Why stress talk? Well, when my friends at UnitedHealthcare told me that their latest campaign to promote wellness in April was all about “stress awareness,” I was certain I wanted to join them again to promote it. (In case you missed it, I’ve also talked about “How to start moving more every single day” and “How to have a more nutritious day” over the past couple of months.)
While I no longer work behind a desk in a high-stress corporate manager role, I still encounter stress each day in my life as a fitness professional and writer. And through my experiences in many different jobs, I’ve found that you really can trick yourself into dealing with things better if you do it mindfully.
So without further ado, here’s my take on reducing stress …
Little ways to reduce your stress every day
- Get outside. Step away from what you’re doing, take a walk and get some fresh air. No technology allowed on this walk, unless you plan to talk on the phone about something not business related. During your walk, enjoy nature, and breathe in the scents of the trees and flowers. It’s calming. It will clear your mind.
- Talk or laugh it out. Instead of bottling up your emotions, call a friend or a family member and talk it out. Extra points for chatting about funny stories that make you laugh, because laughter is a great stress reliever and a great way to change your frame of mind.
- Snuggle up. Give a big hug to someone you love, or cuddle with your pet. Physical affection is pretty important stuff.
- Reminisce. When things get tough, look at a picture of a good memory and daydream about that particular time and place. I’ve always enjoyed keeping happy photos in my workspace, and one glance at smiling faces of my friends and family can help me through some tough moments. Remember that not all situations are stressful and better times are ahead — just like the ones you see in those pictures.
- Move and sweat. Hit the gym or the pavement. Exercise is a great stress reliever, because it gets your blood flowing and gives you a chance to release tension in a positive manner. While your workout doesn’t have to be high in intensity, it should be just enough to get your heart-rate up. And even 15 minutes will do, so schedule it into your calendar and get it done.
- Create a calming scene. If you have the ability to access a candle and some music, you can design your very own zen-like spa setting. With a nice scent and relaxing tunes, sit down in a comfortable chair and breathe deeply. The chance to get away from everything you need to be doing and soak up some soothing aromas can bring you back to normal in no time. If you’re in an office, try putting on some headphones, smelling some essential oils and closing your eyes in your chair.
- Be an artist. No really, try your hand at artwork. When was the last time you colored, drew a picture or doodled? Maybe some mindless creation on the page (and no, not on the computer) can make you feel more like yourself. This is something I’ve not ever tried, but it’s on my list for my next episode of stress!
- Practice daily gratitude. I’ve heard of many people coming up with a daily word of gratitude, or a daily thought about something they are so incredibly thankful for. Maybe you write this word down each morning and pull it out to look at every time you need to step back and breathe. This could even be turned into a journaling project, if you’re really into it. This is another one that I am going to commit to during stressful times — such positivity is always a good thing.
That should do it! With just a bit of effort, you can bring your body and mind back down to normal, which is right where you want to be.
Join the “We Dare You” campaign to win pre-paid gift cards
Now that you’ve thought about how to handle your stress a little better, why not test your luck at a giveaway? You can be a part of UnitedHealthcare’s “We Dare You” campaign, whether you are a UnitedHealthcare member or not, just by entering to win in a few ways.
Visit the We Dare You website, share a photo of a funny moment or complete other activities shown below. This contest is open to everyone in the U.S., and you can enter once a day, every day for extra chances to win. So what are you waiting for?
To enter, all you have to do is go to the We Dare You website and do any of the following:
- Share a photo of a “laugh-out-loud” moment on Instagram or Twitter or on the We Dare You website with the hashtag #LaughOutLoudWDY (and doing this could also give you a chance to win a Go Pro Camera!)
- Test your smarts and answer a quiz question about stress management
- Watch a video on “3 Ways to Relieve Stress Naturally” and share your opinion
There are weekly prizes of $25 pre-paid gift cards and monthly prizes of $400 pre-paid gift cards, so you have plenty of chances to win. And winning something? That’s a good way to take your mind off of your stress too.
There you go, my friends, that’s all I’ve got for you today. I hope you have a lovely Thursday.
Find a way to de-stress a bit today, and I’ll see you back here tomorrow for “Friday Favorites.”
**Disclosure: This post was sponsored by UnitedHealthcare, however all the views and opinions are completely my own.
Questions of the day
How do you de-stress?
What’s one good thing that has happened in your week so far?
What’s the biggest “laugh out loud” moment you’ve experienced recently?