Posted on May 18, 2016
Wellness Wednesday: How To Manage Stress
Because it’s something that affects all of us, learning how to manage stress is crucial to our well-being.
Stress affects each of us in different ways and the sources of stress as just as varied. For me, work and juggling responsibilities tend to be key areas that aggravate me. For some it’s relationships, school, family, or even a daily task like driving in rush hour traffic.
Photo: Victor Hanacek
The worst part? Stress causes us to feel more than just lousy. Repeated exposure to stress can have a long-term detrimental impact on our physical health. In fact, some studies have estimated that up to as much as 90% of all doctors’ visits are due to a stress-related health concern! [source]
I’ll be honest. I’m not what you’d call a “poster child” of successfully and regularly managing stress. I’m writing this post just before 10:00 pm – and well past my normal bedtime. It’s been a long day following a long week and my idea of unwinding this evening included downing a bag a salt and vinegar chips while watching Forensic Files on YouTube. However, I’ve got a few tried-and-true means of stress relief that work for me when life’s kicking my butt. Here are my top eight ways to manage stress.
1. Stretch It Out
Yoga has always, always, always been my go-to form of exercise because not only does it feel good physically, it has the ability to clear my mind completely. Dropping in on a yoga class is a quick and easy option, but when I don’t have the time to leave the house, I’ll click play on one of the awesome Yoga With Adriene videos available online.
2. Essential Oils*
If you know me, you know I love my essential oils and I don’t leave home without them.
Lavender helps me rest when I’m having trouble sleeping (another side effect of stress), but my absolute favourite oil is arborvitae. It’s a gorgeous cedar-derived oil that reminds me of carefree days as a child, walking through the forest with my grandfather. Instant grounding.
3. Nutrient Support
A huge part of feeling good is fuelling properly. When I’m eating a lot of vegetables, drinking green juice, and getting a balanced diet, that’s reflected in my overall feeling. For those moments when I need a boost, a couple drops of Rescue Remedy on my tongue does the trick.
4. Canine Cuddles
Countless studies have proven the positive impact of the human-animal bond, but I don’t need to read any of them. When I walk through my front door and am greeted with a smiling face and wagging tail, it’s impossible not to melt. Not everyone can have a Jordy, but fostering or volunteering at an animal shelter an also provide a mutual beneficial relationship for you and the animal(s) you’re helping.
5. Walk It Off
When I moved to Vancouver in 2004 I sold my car and became an official pedestrian. I’m now used to walking everywhere for function, but it’s also a fantastic way to burn steam or decompress at the start or end of a day. Even grabbing a 15-minute stroll on my lunch break can set me up for a much more productive afternoon.
6. Write It Down
I’ve written about the benefits of journalling in a previous post, and I stand by my word. Writing out my thoughts – especially if they’re causing stress – can help me to better and more clearly understand things and find new perspectives on old problems. I also find journalling to be an encouraging way to keep track of how I progress and work through things.
7. Hug It Out
It’s hard to not forget past moments when my husband gives me a good squeeze at the end of the day, but it doesn’t have to be a spouse. Whether it’s a friend, a pet, or a close colleague, find a hug buddy. In fact, I can point you to 10 reasons why you need your fair share of hugs each day.
8. Get Yo’self Some Nature
This might just be my favourite stress-busting method. Escaping the city and hugging a tree might not always be a convenient option, but sometimes the effort is necessary. Fresh air, the feel of dirt and roots under my feet, and the idea that some things always remain the same can ultimately be very freeing.
Your turn: what do you turn to when life’s stressing you out? How do you restore a sense of wellness, manage stress, and find peace of mind when you need it most? Let me know in the comments below.
*If you want to know more about the brand of essential oils I trust and personally use, contact me to learn more, order them, or find out where to buy them.