7 Stress-free Stress Reducers!
1. Find your “third place” and visit it when you need a respite.
Most of us have 2 places we have to be on a regular basis – home and work. But if we look, we might also discover a “third place,” somewhere that gives us rest and refreshes our soul. Maybe it’s a quiet nook in your local library or your favorite coffee shop; maybe it’s your own patio, where that one perfect bloom continues to amaze you. Maybe your “third place” is your favorite chair in front of the fireplace, accompanied by your favorite four-legged friend. Wherever your “third place” may be, make sure you don’t lose sight of its restorative value.
Perhaps you’ll want to create a “virtual” third place for those times when you don’t have time to visit your physical third place. I would love to have you visit my blog, “Words to Live By,” at LindasWorkshops.com (click any of the links on the right side of the home page). Perhaps that will be just the ticket for a refreshing change of pace.
2. Simplify ~ we have all heard that word tossed around over the past few years.
I look at simplifying perhaps a bit differently than some. It is not in my nature to stand back one day and say, “Okay, I’m going to clear out my entire house/wardrobe/cupboards/LIFE” – or whatever area comes to mind. What I have found over the years is that if I pick one small area that is stressing me ~ perhaps it’s my desk, maybe it’s one closet that is so crammed full of “stuff” I can’t find anything ~ and tackle just that one small area, I find a sense of peace. Sometimes that sense of peace leads me to another area that needs work, sometimes not. Either way, it’s OKAY! I have the peace of de-cluttering an area and if I want to stop there, I choose not to “guilt” myself into thinking I didn’t accomplish my goal. The fact is, if I decide on just one area, then I did indeed accomplish my goal. And have you ever noticed that accomplishing a goal relieves stress??
3. Do Good.
Before you think, “this one’s gonna cost me” and stop reading, I want you to step outside the box of what we normally think of as “doing good.” I’m not talking about getting out your checkbook, although there are certainly worthy causes in your own neighborhood that can use that kind of help. I’m talking about the “doing good” that seems to have been slowly disappearing in our hustle-bustle society. When is the last time you complimented a parent on their parenting skills after observing a polite and well-mannered child? Or maybe you just noticed that the parent took time to really listen to their child. When’s the last time you dropped a note to a company for their exceptional good service or asked for the manager to give a compliment rather than a complaint? When’s the last time you...
...held the door for someone?
...really looked at someone and gave them a sincere smile?
...asked, “How are you?” then stopped and actually listened?
...called an elderly friend or neighbor to see if you could pick up anything for them at the grocery while you’re there?
...slowed down so someone who DOES look stressed could cut in front of you in traffic?
...took 5 seconds to go to: www.theanimalrescuesite.com
to click on the link and donate food to a hungry animal? (I keep the link at the top of my deleted file in my email, so every time I clear out my deleted email, I click on the link and donate .6 of a bowl of food).
Maybe for you that means turning off the TV and just sitting quietly (studies show that even if we’re tired while watching TV, the act of watching is rarely restful). Maybe it means setting aside 5 minutes in the morning to just stare into space and contemplate your day (notice I didn’t say set aside an hour or even 15 minutes – just a few minutes to let your mind go quiet). The key here is awareness. When you take those 5 minutes, be AWARE that you are setting aside that time for a mental or physical rest.
5. Take a “news fast.”
GASP!! “How will I live without my 24/7 barrage of TV news or internet and newspaper headlines??” Amazingly enough, you WILL live through it...and be less stressed for having done so. I have made a conscious choice not to watch the news, not to read the depressing headlines (or accompanying stories) in the newspaper or on the internet, and I’ve even chosen not to watch fictional (or real) TV shows that depict the less-desirable and sometimes downright depressing parts of our world. My limited TV-watching consists of comedy, and okay, an occasional “Dancing with the Stars” episode. Why? Because those shows make me laugh, smile and nod in agreement or appreciation, not frown and wonder why I feel so “down.” I’m not suggesting you go cold turkey ~ maybe just refuse to read the nastiest stories from the paper or switch channels when the gruesome portions of the news come on. Try it, you might like it...
6. Just say "no."
Oh boy, I’m gonna get myself in trouble here! What I’m suggesting is not meant for you to be a selfish, mememe person (read me – me – me). But have you ever agreed to be on a committee that you knew from the get-go was going to stress you out? Or volunteered to bake cookies when you HATE to bake? Or even agreed to have lunch with someone you really like when your schedule is so packed that lunch will just be one more chore? Then JUST SAY NO! Not to everything all at once, but to one thing – just once. Use the time you just “found” to do something else that might actually relieve some stress for you rather than create more.
7. Create a stash of “happy things.”
Maybe it’s a certain scented candle. Maybe it’s a particular magazine or a book you love that you save to read and savor during a visit to your “third place.” Maybe it’s a special coffee or tea you can use to create a restful moment during your busy day. Maybe it’s a special pen that just seems to allow the words to flow from your mind onto the page ~ or a special journal to record your thoughts ~ or ... What can you contribute to YOUR stash of “happy things?”
I hope these 7 tips have given you food for thought about how you can reduce the stress in your life...as I mentioned earlier, awareness is key. Do one thing with awareness and you will find your stress level really can go down a notch or two. Whether or not that “one thing you do” comes from this list is immaterial; what’s important is that you find and do “that one thing.”