Reduce Stress in Your Life in 10 Simple Steps

Published On: March 6, 2024Categories: Mental Health

The burdens of life can be a heavy load. When you feel like you are on a hamster wheel that you can’t seem to get off, chronic stress and fatigue creep in like a silent intruder that you can’t escape. When there is no end in sight, the feeling of overwhelm takes over and burnout ensues. Then, when you reach the end of your rope and can’t push any harder, your body goes into survival mode and hijacks your life with forced rest, oftentimes in the form of physical or mental illness

If this sounds familiar, you may be one of the millions of people who are left wondering how to break the cycle of constant, everyday stress that is plaguing their lives. The reality is, there are only twenty-four hours in the day. That is not nearly enough time to finish your entire to-do list or solve every problem, much less have a few spare moments to enjoy your life in the process. 

The key to long-term stress management is not necessarily how to cram all of life’s demands into twenty-four short hours. Instead, it is about how to prioritize the right things to do, at the right time. And oftentimes, it involves slowing down instead of speeding up. 

Here are some tips to ease stress in daily life, as well as cultivate a sustainable rhythm that will leave you feeling fulfilled instead of utterly depleted. 

1. Identify your priorities in life

Do you feel like you are constantly spinning your wheels, busy from sun up to sun-down, working your life away with nothing to show for it? Try taking a step back to gain a new perspective on your priorities, and evaluate whether you are spending your time wisely. 

Properly ordering your life requires a clear vision of what you consider most important. You won’t always be able to give all your time to these things, but identifying the values that give your life meaning will help you design a roadmap to order your days, weeks, months, and years ahead. You will begin to make progress in the areas that you consider priorities, lessening your overall stress level.

2. Create stress-reducing systems in your home

In his book Atomic Habits, habit expert James Clear states, “You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.” Creating clear systems and routines around grocery shopping, meal prepping, cleaning and organizing can alleviate stress from daily operations of the home. Build efficiency into your life to reclaim your time and spend less energy planning those mundane daily tasks into your week.

3. Cut down on screen time

While plopping down on the couch to watch TV and scroll through social media may seem like a great way to unwind from a busy day, it does not actually allow your body to enter a restful state. It accomplishes the opposite. Studies have shown that increased screen time causes heightened mental stimulation, which can lead to increased stress hormones in the body, interference with the body’s sleep rhythm, and decreased overall mental and physical health. Try weaving screen-free forms of entertainment into your day, such as reading a book (a real book), playing an instrument or starting a DIY project.

4. Get outside

Fresh air, sunlight and the calming visual input that nature provides are all major contributors to lowering stress levels. To reap the benefits of the outdoors, try coming into direct contact with the earth through bare feet or hands. Grounding, or the natural exchange of electricity from the human body to the earth, has been shown to reduce inflammation and promote physical healing, as well as lower stress levels and improve mood. 

The sun is a powerful weapon against stress. Medical providers and lifestyle enthusiasts alike recommend getting 10-15 minutes of direct sunlight per day to help overall health and well-being. Benefits of the sun include: 

  • Improved quality of sleep at night
  • Natural source of Vitamin D
  • Stronger bone density 
  • Increased mood 
  • Regulated circadian rhythm

Be sure to use appropriate sun protection if you will be outside for an extended period, as prolonged exposure can lead to skin damage.

5. Move your body 

Oftentimes when people hear the word “exercise,” they think of gym memberships and hours spent on the Peloton. While traditional forms of exercise such as weight lifting, running and yoga can all be effective ways to improve overall fitness, simply moving your body can be enough to get the endorphins flowing. Start with adding ten minutes of intentional movement to your daily routine in the form of a walk or stretching and watch the stress melt away.

6. Cultivate a journaling, prayer or meditation practice

Physically slowing down can be a challenging endeavor, but quieting the mind is a great place to start. Practice finding mental calm through journaling, prayer or meditation. 

7. Spend time with other people

Smartphones and social media platforms have made it easier than ever to stay in touch with people, but reports show that levels of loneliness and depression among Americans are through the roof. Human beings are meant to live in community with others, and while digital connectivity can imitate true connection, it does not lead to true human flourishing in the same way that face-to-face relationships can. Try reaching out to a friend to schedule a coffee date or plan an activity together. If this feels overwhelming, start with a phone call to catch up with someone you haven’t connected with in a while. 

8. Declutter your life

We are conditioned to believe that more is better. The advertising industry has succeeded in selling us higher speed, greater productivity, bigger houses, more possessions, and nicer cars. This never-ending pursuit of the “next best thing” has created a culture of deep dissatisfaction and unrest. Little do we know, that with every additional upgrade comes a great cost, far exceeding the purchase price. 

When you own fewer things, you have less to worry about daily. Change your mindset to become the boss of your belongings. If they don’t serve you well, fire them. Start by cleaning out your closet, reorganizing your desktop, or decluttering your kitchen. You might be surprised at how much freer you feel without the responsibility of managing so many possessions.  

9. Eat, sleep and drink (water)

Reducing your stress levels doesn’t have to be complicated. Practice simple lifestyle improvements like adding vegetables to your weekly shopping cart and bringing a water bottle wherever you go. Instead of watching that next episode on Netflix, get to bed an hour earlier. Consistency with these small changes can lead to massive improvements in your health and stress levels.

10. Integrate natural calming remedies into your routine

Certain flavors and scents have been shown to reduce tension and stress in the body. Try drinking some chamomile tea before bedtime, or integrating aromatherapy into your daily routine. Soft music and essential oil diffusers can set the tone in your home and help your body unwind; lavender is a great place to start. Acupuncture and chiropractic medicine can also help manage chronic stress and anxiety. 

Find Relief From the Stressors of Life Today

If you are feeling stressed and overwhelmed with the burdens of daily life, Tapestry Recovery is here to help you carry the load. Contact us online today, or call 828-490-4032 to begin your road to a healthier life today.

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