Stress is a natural part of life and something we can’t avoid. Too much stress, however, as I’m sure you know, can throw you off your game.
It can lead to less productivity, more irritability, overeating, a lower metabolism, and other situations you can do without.
Although stress is inevitable, that doesn’t mean you can’t protect yourself against it.
Everyday hiccups, setbacks, delays, and other inconveniences that come your way, won’t take such an emotional toll if you’re doing certain things regularly.
Use a few of the 10 strategies here as stress repellants and to help prevent everyday stress buildup.
Sleep is a core habit and has far-reaching implications for our lives. It affects our motivation, behavior, health, our wellbeing, and every single facet of our lives. How do you know how much sleep you need? The below guidelines for different age groups are just that, guidelines, but it’s a great place to start when you want to figure out how much sleep you need.
You can conduct your own sleep study and learn how much sleep you need to perform at your best.
HOW TO DO IT: Take your best guess or use the common 8-hour sleep goal as your starting point. For a week, go to bed 10 minutes earlier and see if you naturally wake up before your alarm. If you do and feel rested, you’re at or close to your sleep number. If you don’t feel rested, you’ll need to add a few minutes and keep adding until you do. Keep tweaking your sleep numbers until you can run your day on a single cup of coffee.
- Birth to 3 months: 14 to 17 hours
- 4 to 11 months: 12 to 16 hours
- 1 to 2 years: 11 to 14 hours
- 3 to 5 years: 10 to 13 hours
- 6 to 12 years: 9 to 12 hours
- 13 to 18 years: 8 to 10 hours
- 18 to 64 years: 7 to 9 hours
- 65 years and older: 7 to 8 hours
Meditation helps us to navigate life with fewer hiccups and stress. If you’re new to meditation, try it with a friend or a group to improve your odds of sticking to it long enough to a) get it and b) experience the benefits. Like the CEOs, athletes, and others with busy lives who have come to depend on it, you too may find meditation invaluable.
Try the Vurb Meditation program, which combines a weekly meditation class with other group coaching services for better emotional health.
Your go-to home entertainment may be watching TV, but reading is a better stress repellant. Reading calms the mind and relaxes the body. This will not only help prevent conditions caused by stress, such as anxiety and insomnia but will also help you develop a clearer mind, as well as increase your focus and concentration.
Certain things help us, women, to feel better about ourselves. Getting our nails done, our brows shaped, buying ourselves flowers, and treating ourselves makes us feel happier. Don’t just lean into those self-care impulses, schedule them, and set aside funds to make sure they get done regularly. Done regularly, you increase feelings of wellbeing and lower your experience of stress.
5. Deal With Your Problems.
Just because you’re ignoring them, doesn’t mean your problems go away. The fact is, chronic stressors like living with financial uncertainties, caring for a loved one, and health problems need our attention. When not addressed, they can cause all sorts of physiological and mental health problems.
6. Take Stress Supplements.
Did you know that low Vitamin D levels have been linked to increased levels of anxiety, depression, and stress? After my doctor (a naturopathic MD) recommended 5,000 IU of Vitamin D a day as part of my holistic thyroid treatment (stress makes the condition worse), I did some digging and learned about a slew of other supplements that help to reduce stress. Consider Magnesium, Ashwagandha, valerian root, B12, and other stress supplements as one of your stress prevention aids.
Getting a workout isn’t just good for the body, it also releases endorphins (feel-good chemicals). Exercising regularly will help you sleep better and will create a buffer against a lot of life’s stress and anxiety. Cardio exercises and any activity that includes music, such as dancing, are especially joy-inducing.
8. Choose How You Help Others.
If your schedule or to-do list keeps stacking up higher than you can handle, something’s got to give. If you struggle with saying no, find other ways to help… until you grow into saying No effortlessly.
- Commit to a fraction of what is asked. If your brother who has a habit of forgetting to repay loans wants to borrow $100, give him a smaller amount that you wouldn’t mind losing if he never paid you back. Instead of agreeing to volunteer at the church bazaar from 12 to 5, as asked, let the organizers know upfront (ideally over text so there’s a record) that you can only commit to 2 to 5.
- Give yourself time to say no. Before you commit to invitations, give yourself time to consider whether you can spare the time and any other resources you’re going to need to do it.
- Give something else. Instead of money, you may want to give your time or vice versa but look for ways to support others the way YOU can.
9. Surround Yourself With Plants.
An overwhelming amount of the stress we face is work-related and until we can shift to another role, company, or work for ourselves, we need help to make work work for us. Add a plant to your work area. Indoor plants such as basil plants, snake plants, English Ivy, chrysanthemum, and fragrant flowers create a healthy breathable (and fragrant) environment that helps to repel stress.
10. Change Your Mindset.
Mindset plays a significant role in how we respond to life. Distorted thinking can exaggerate our perceived shortcomings, i.e. our stressors. Our mindset can make us more (or less) reactive. When we change our expectations of people, what they don’t stress us quite so much. Pay attention to how you respond to life, recurring interactions, and what you’re telling yourself about them.
While we cannot eliminate all stress, the fact is that the way we live, think, and feel about ourselves, is inviting in or preventing much of the stress that comes our way.
Christine is a Life Strategist living in Los Angeles. Using systems, routines, and personalized methods, she can help almost anyone hack their mind and life for more joy and greater productivity.