Stress stinks. Most people who have a fast-paced job or a lot of personal responsibilities feel stressed a lot and for some, stress turns into a chronic condition. It’s important to manage stress before it becomes a problem. If left untreated, it can result in high levels of anxiety or even burnout. Luckily, keeping stress in check is simple when you adopt healthy lifestyle habits. These five suggestions can help you maintain a healthy work-life balance and keep your stress levels low.
Make relaxation a priority.
When you’ve got a million and one things to do, it’s easy to let personal time fall by the wayside. This is a mistake, though – by pushing yourself too hard and never taking time to unwind, you’re more likely to burn out, which will make you less productive in the long run. Dedicating a few minutes every day to recharging your mental and emotional batteries can go a long way towards keeping your stress levels low. Pick a relaxation technique that appeals to you, such as meditation, deep breathing, or journaling, and find ways to work it into your daily routine.
Take care of your health.
It might seem counterintuitive, but when you’re stressed, you should avoid comfort food instead of seeking it out. Foods laden with fat and sugar might take your mind off your worries temporarily, but they can make you feel sluggish, irritable, or moody in the long run. A healthy diet full of fruits, vegetables, and lean protein, on the other hand, can keep you feeling clear-headed and energetic, which will help you deal with stress better. Don’t forget to get your heart pumping, too – exercise is a great stress reliever. If you’re too busy for a long workout or haven’t been to a gym in years, try sneaking a quick walk, a few pushups, or a stretching session into your day.
Get a good night’s sleep.
Quality sleep is important for dealing with stress. Everything seems more difficult and overwhelming when you’re tired, so make sure your sleeping environment is comfortable and that you’re getting an appropriate amount of rest every night. A quiet, dark, cool bedroom is ideal for an unbroken night’s sleep. If you have a hard time falling or staying asleep, consider avoiding caffeine at least six hours before bedtime and switching off your electronics two or three hours before you turn in. A relaxing bedtime routine like taking a warm bath or reading for a few minutes can also help you fall asleep more quickly.
Manage your time.
Poor time management can be a major contributor to stress. If you don’t have a clear idea of what you need to do and when you need to do it, it’s easy to feel out of control or overwhelmed. Using a planner and making daily to-do lists can help put you back in control of your schedule. Write down all your important responsibilities and deadlines, and designate times for when you’ll work on certain tasks. Good planning can take the guesswork out of your schedule and help you stop worrying about when you’ll get everything done.
Connect with friends and family.
If you’ve been feeling stressed out lately, you might not need to look any further than your social circle for some relief. Spending time with other people can be a great source of emotional support, and doing something fun with friends or family can also help you relax and unwind. Try watching a favorite movie with your partner, calling a friend for a chat, or getting together with family members you haven’t seen in a while.
It’s not possible to avoid stress completely, but you can deal with your stress in a positive way by making these easy-to-implement strategies part of your life. By managing your time, staying connected socially, and taking care of your physical and mental health, you can stay in a good frame of mind and avoid the negative effects of too much stress.