4 Ways To Be Less Stressed Out … Right Now

Is it me, or has the idea of stress and being so stressed out become a familiar constant in our lives?

When did it suddenly become OK for us — expected really — to consistently feel as if we’re at our wit’s end, running around with frazzled nerves, tight shoulders, and a to-do list that resembles a small novel? Now more than ever it seems as if we’re all wearing many, many hats. We have our jobs, our side hustles, our blogs and websites, toss in a few Pinterest quotes about working hard and being nice, and it’s easy to understand why stress is at an all-time high.

And I’m right there with you. Last week, my stress got the best of me and I woke up on Saturday morning with a nasty cold, a cold that has lingered for about a week. Coughing and sneezing … not my preferred way to spend a weekend and most of the week. It came on suddenly and without warning, but as I look back now I can see clearly: I wasn’t giving myself enough time to rest — really rest — I was feeling anxious about a few things, not eating as well as I should, and not taking care of myself. Sometimes life has to knock you down first to make you realize that change is in order.

According to the American Institute of Stress — yes, there’s an institute for stress — that’s how bad this is — our stress is slowly killing us. It raises the risk of disease, makes us overeat, and causes us to lose countless hours of sleep. It’s scary stuff, but stress isn’t something we need to accept as a truth in our lives and the good news is there are things you can do right now to cut stress from your life:

Stress

Clear the clutter: Where are you right now? Are you at your desk? Sitting with your laptop on your couch? Look around, if what you see causes your heart rate to rise, take care of it. Now. Don’t wait. My desk at work was a mess, scattered with DIY scraps, jewelry from shoots, and too many coffee mug rings to count – it wasn’t pretty, until I finally took the ten minutes I needed and cleaned it all up. Now when I arrive at work each morning I feel as if I can start fresh and clear-headed.

Clutter impacts us more than we realize and can be a major contributor to stress in our lives. Think about it: you had a tough day at work or at school only to come home to a messy house, a sink full of dishes, or a disorganized closet. No fun. Devote a little time each day to dealing with the clutter until it’s finally taken care of. Do something small, like cleaning your desk or hanging up your clothes, and I can almost guarantee the weight on your shoulders will lift a little.

Keep a calendar: Personally, I’m not a fan of the calendar on my phone, I like to have my whole month laid out before me in a small day planner. However you decide to keep it, a calendar will allow you to see the month ahead, be intentional about scheduling activities and events, and likely save you from double-booking yourself. Write down when things are due — projects, homework, bills… — color code it if you need to, and carry it with you.

The next time someone asks if you’re free, you’ll be able to give them an answer with confidence.

Stress

Schedule time to relax: Now that you have a calendar, it’s important to pencil in time to just be. Don’t fill up every Friday night or weekend, give yourself time to just do what you want to do. It could be devoting an hour each day to your yoga practice, or, if you’re really booked, ten minutes of meditation or reading. Whatever it is, make sure it’s something that you truly care about that relaxes you and that doesn’t qualify as work.

Stress

Take care of yourself: Exercise makes us happy. It has also been shown to significantly reduce stress. Do you need any more reason to make movement a part of your life? Get out and get some fresh air. Even if you’ve been under the weather, as I have this week, and unable to do any strenuous exercise, go out and take a walk. Taking a break from your screen or from your work isn’t just good for your soul, it reduces stress, gets your blood flowing, and helps clear your mind of any worries, allowing positivity to flow in.

Exercise has also been shown to improve sleep patterns. Stress reduction and rest go hand in hand when it comes to improving your health and we should all be getting more sleep. Sleep recharges you for the next day, allowing your body the time it needs to heal itself, and cutting that time short leads to all kinds of health issues, stress being one of them.

Something that will help you sleep? Eating well. All of these factors — exercise, sleep, nutrition — they can either improve your stress or contribute to it, depending on which end of the spectrum you fall. Lowering the amount of caffeine and refined sugars in your diet will likely improve your quality of sleep, which in turn will lower your stress levels.

Stress

Be gentle with yourself. With so much noise coming at us from all angles, it’s tempting to push yourself to your limits.

I’d love to know: what are your techniques for dealing with stress? Please share in the comments.

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I agree – stress is (slowly but surely) taking the best out of us. I’m practicing all of the advice above and everything together really helps :)!

xx

This is exactly what I need. So many great tips.

http://juliettelaura.blogspot.com

I find that doing daily exercise or meditation keeps my head in a happy place. I discovered the Headspace app and this helps me to meditate daily and running is meditative in itself!

http://clementinebuttercup.blogspot.co.uk

Lovely little post! I always try and do these things but yes, life tends to get in the way. Whilst reading this I actually cleared my desk out, wrote a few things in my diary and feel heaps better! Thank you :) xx

Oh my gosh, this is just what I needed to get back on track. I used to dedicate one day a week, usually Sunday, to have NO PLANS. Nothing. That way, I only did something if I WANTED to, knitting, reading, a movie. The past few weekends have been filled with travel and making up for missed housework due to travel…. no more! Also, when it comes to clutter, I like to do the 15 cleaning spree. Each day, I set a timer for 15 minutes and just clean anything. Pick up clutter, clean my tiny bathroom, wipe down counters…… Read more »

Michelle

I love this post. I also have been ignoring how my body and mind felt these days and finally I had a cold!But now i’m recovering from negligence takin care of myself. Everything on this post definitely works! :)

ren

good post. i walk 4 hours a day. and i dont work like a robot. i work 4 hours a day 2 weeks. 2 weeks i travel. since 7 years. thats how i stay sressfree. hope it helps. goodbye.

I’ve just started University so moving to a new city alone and having to make new friends as well as started a whole new course has taken its toll on my body. I could feel the stress rippling inside of me so I knew i had to take some time out to be calm and at peace. I’ve been going to my yoga and pilates classes everyday and they’re helping me settle in a feel at peace and level again. Thank you for posting this, it’s relieving to know that people go through the same thing sometimes :)

http://alexasimagination.blogspot.co.uk

This was just what I needed to read! These are the types of tips you know in the back of your head work and will definitely better your life, but then you wave them away as you get more and more stressed. Actually seeing them in writing really gives me the motivation to make a difference that I know will really help me in the long run! :)

Luna

You’re so right! These days I find myself torn between overeating and not getting sh*t done… although I had better things to do, really. Thanks so much, I’ll start at once with clearing that desk that resembles a recycling bin…

such simple tips, but it’s a reminder we all need from time to time. For me clearing the clutter also means compiling my to-do list in an organized way – nothing is more stressful than having 3-4 lists/notebooks all over your desk to work from! I include other tips on how to be mindful + decrease stress at work here: http://6000milestohome.blogspot.com/2014/06/mindful-05-on-job.html

Needed this so bad right now. Thank you so much! love love love.

ataylor

Perfect post – especially this time of year. Being able to enjoy this beautiful weather change is all the more reason to give up stress!

desperate girl

im so totally heartbroken, my one true big love just decided to leave me all by myself to figure out how to overcome this incredible pain… i lost many peoples in my not so loong life but beeing left behind just out of a mind deciscion nearly eats me alive… i dont know how to deal with this amount of pain in my heart… i know he loves me still and he thinks of me like im a amazing great person but in his head he just hears we are not ment for each other since he thinks love needs… Read more »

I have been feeling quite stressed lately and I know all the remedies but somehow, nothing seems to work. However, your blog post was a good reminder, and in addition to that, after reading yours, I stumbled upon another post related to the same topic! Have a look! http://kindnessblog.com/2014/10/07/are-you-feeling-weighed-down/

desperate girl: you are a strong, powerful, amazing, miracle of a person, and you deserve to be treated in a way that makes you feel that way. It’s okay to feel sad. Loosing important people is really hard, so cry it out. Don’t hold the sadness in, just let it go. And yes, let him go too. If he was really the man for you, he would see how incredible you are and stay with you and treat you right. You deserve better, and I hope you can find the strength inside of you to let him go.

These are great tips. I especially agree with cleaning up clutter and keeping a calendar. I will try to do these things more! Thanks for the ideas!

Great post! I’m having a hectic time at work at the moment, plus we are buying a house. It’s easy to forget these simple suggestions which keep us sane and away from breaking point. Thanks for the gentle reminder : )

when I worry too much about the future, one thing that really helps me is to ask myself “what is the worst that can happen?” and no matter what the answer is, I know that I can always deal with it, even if “the worst” happens. But the funny thing is that the worst never happens! I think knowing that I can deal with anything, helps me to release my unfounded fears and focus on a positive outcome to the situation. I also really love the affirmation that a friend gave me: “I’m expecting and creating the highest outcome” that… Read more »

I could not agree more about stress — I used to be stressed A L L the time and I was definitely not targeting the right enemy. There’s things you can do to change your surroundings and to stop stress from entering your life — but at the end of the day there’s only so much you can do control the world outside you; taking steps like these to control your own reaction to stress and not let it control you is so so important, and these are some really great tips. To add to the last bit about eating… Read more »

Stephanie

I loved this post a lot thank you so much! helped me lift up myself this weekend because I was so stressed out for the past week!

Such great tips, I always forget how relaxing a massage is and endeavour to book one in once every 2 months or so. The physical calendar locking in ‘down-time’ is such a good tip too – we get too caught up in our phones and if it runs out of battery we have no idea what to do!

I totally agree! Thanks for the reminders. I get anxiety on winter nights but this season I acquired a new hobby that has really helped. It started with making a point to look up more. Before I knew it I was in love with the stars. I received amazing binoculars for Christmas and now the excitement and wonder I feel recognizing stars by name and being able to point out more and more constellations definitely beats the stress.