5 Ways to Reduce Stress Now and For Good by Leyla Shamayeva

For the busy Moms and Dads, here's another article I found very helpful. Read on.

5 Ways to Reduce Stress Now and For Good
by Leyla Shamayeva

Short-Term Stress Relievers

A good day can turn into a long and difficult one at any time. Luckily, the opposite is also true. A short-term pick-me-up can be enough to lift your spirit, clear your mind and revitalize you enough to tackle the rest of your to-do’s. Try:

- A change of scenery: Step away from a stress-inducing setting, whether it is at work or at home, and even if only for a few minutes. This time will offer a mental break and an opportunity to assess your situation and reframe it.

- You can change scenery after working for a set amount of time. Studies show that we are most efficient and least overwhelmed when we work in intervals, particularly 90-minute intervals, and then take a break. Use the break to take a walk, meditate, visit a co-worker and chat, or enjoy some stress-fighting foods. Another option is to vary your work settings when possible. Switch between relaxing places like a coffee shop, outside park, or comfortable library spot.

- A bout of exercise: What’s one healthy way to relieve stress? Exercise. Any sport can serve as an outlet for frustration and negative thoughts, particularly because of how exercise affects hormones. When a structured exercise program is not an option, a short walk is effective too. Another option is progressive muscle relaxation. All you need is a few minutes, some privacy, and a comfortable place (like your bed!). You can also take a fitness vacation to enjoy a change of scenery at the same time.

- A nap: The sleep and stress relationship can be a vicious cycle: too much work and anxiety contribute to lack of sleep, and lack of sleep contributes to even more stress and anxiety. Even when you think you don’t have time for a nap, a 20-minute power nap in the middle of the day is likely to work in your favor. You’ll wake up rejuvenated and ready to keep working.

Long-Term Stress Relievers

A spontaneous and difficult situation can’t always be prevented. As the saying goes, “stuff happens.” Long-term action plans can make the situation less overwhelming though. Try to:

- Establish healthy habits: This includes three crucial ones: a balanced diet, consistent exercise, and proper sleep. When a stressful situation arises, these can help you feel in control and prevent you from going completely over the edge. All three affect energy levels and how you feel about yourself, leaving you less stressed day-to-day. Start forming them with the choices you make.

- Stay Organized: Time management directly affects your stress levels, especially when it comes to taking on more responsibility. Try planning and other strategies to prioritize what needs to be done. Remember, when you stay organized and complete tasks in a timely manner, you have more time to unplug from work and de-stress later on.

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