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As a full-time working/entrepreneur mom, I have to know how to manage stress. When I was younger, I allowed myself to get overwhelmed easily. For years I lived a life of agony and strain 24/7. Looking back, I tortured myself with stress. I would worry about every-tiny-thing. I didn’t know how to handle pressure, especially those that come with running a business. Throw motherhood and marriage on top, and eventually it evolved into crippling anxiety which lead to falling HARD into depression.
I am here to tell you, you can absolutely beat stress.. Life is not meant to be dark and gloomy day in and day out. You’re not supposed to feel anguish constantly. When you learn how to banish stress, life becomes a whole lot more fun. Let me tell you, I’ve been on the side of anxiety, fear and worry… and I’ve been on the side of stress-free living. Stress-free is a WHOLE LOT better. Don’t get me wrong, some stress can be good, it can be motivating! However, if you’re living in constant stress you should figure out how to manage it. Learning how to have the attitude that you can handle anything, will change your life.
I used to not understand that life could be good for me; I literally just thought life was supposed to be “hard.” I would go about my days with a negative energy. When I finally realized that being happy is a lot easier than I was making it, I started taking note of things I could do to rid stress and be happier. In this post, I’m going to share with you 13 things I do to kill stress and live a happy worry-free life.
#1 What are you actually stressed about?
The very first step when you’re feeling stressed out, is to ask yourself what exactly it is you’re stressing over. You might not feel like taking this step, but I promise it’s the most important step out of the whole process. You will want to find a quiet space for about 15 minutes to just address it. I ask myself, “what is everything that is causing me stress right now in this moment?” I put it down on paper. Just writing out the list of all the reasons I’m overwhelmed in that moment, relieves a lot.
#2 Talk it out
I will talk out loud (if I’m alone and in private) why I’m feeling stressed out. If I am not alone, I’ll write it out. Just get those feelings OUT. Figure out why you’re so stressed out and this exercise alone will relieve even more of that overwhelming energy you’re carrying. Besides, is what you're stressing about really THAT deep? Could there be worse problems?
#3 Next, write down possible solutions to each thing stressing you out.
These do NOT need to be END ALL SOLUTIONS. They’re just possibilities. Be light about this, do not sit there and try to come up with the answer to every problem in your life. For example if your paycheck is short and you have the electric bill due this Friday, a possible solution might be to call and ask for an extension or ask a family member to borrow the money until you get your next check. These solutions may not even be the answers that you ultimately use, but they will help rid you of stress because you will feel as though you have some control over what is going to happen. I learned that with stress, a lot of it is just having a fear over what “might” happen. If you can put together somewhat of an action plan to tackle each thing that is stressing you out, you will relieve so much of it.
For me, a lot of times I would be extremely overwhelmed with work. I would have pressing deadlines, my son’s basketball practice clashing with the same time as my daughter’s after school activities and what felt like a million other problems coming at me. Maybe I had an angry client, a friend frustrated because I skipped our lunch plans, or a huge medical bill about to go to collections if I didn’t take action right then. I learned that instead of just sitting around stressing out, I just needed to make an action plan. Write down a list of everything bothering me, and a few possible options. Then, I would take action towards them and let it go. I no longer worried about what would happen or if it would be the end of the world before I knew it.
Do this, you will feel so much better. When I was younger and less financially stable, I would just constantly freak out over money. I wouldn’t open bills when they came in the mail. I would literally have things get disconnected and have to call and get them turned back on and pay even more money. I let stress and anxiety take over me. What turned around all of my finances as just making an action plan. As easy as it sounds, just writing out every bill, the amount and when it was due. I kept that in front of me on my desk at home so when I was at my computer I would see it. When I paid a bill, I would cross it off the list. Just having these little action plans will help you feel like you have control of things, you know what’s going on and the stress will lift. I promise. It’s scarier and more stressful when you just sit back and let things build up, instead of just addressing it.
#4 Let Go & Let God
You have to know that sometimes, you just won’t have a solution for something that is stressing you out and that’s ok. It’s time like this you have to let go and Let God. I mean really let go. You have to do all you can do and step away and let the big man upstairs handle the rest. Sometimes when you’re stressing out about something it feels like you’re fighting. It feels like you’re trying to paddle UP a stream. When you give yourself permission to let go and just “go with the flow” you will feel so much of the weight lifted and find that things always work out the way they’re supposed to. Things that are meant to be will be. This is a part of life. There will absolutely be things you cannot control. Sure you may be able to call and get an extension on that electric bill, but there will be bigger things that come along in life that you cannot control. Do what you can, send positive vibes, send your love and let go.
Meditation was somewhat of a game changer for me. I never really knew what it was and thought I didn’t have the patience for it. However, it really helps calm your mind and just allows you to be a lot calmer of a person. I read “Success through Stillness” by Russel Simmons and it really changed my life. Meditation has a lot of benefits. I used to think there was no way I had time to do this every day. However, you can start out doing it for just 5 minutes a day. You will eventually start to feel so good from it, that you will want to add another 5 minutes, and another 5minutes until eventually you meditate for 20-30 minutes a day.
#6 Find time for ME
This is a big one for me. I used to feel guilty when it would come to finding time for me. I did not take care of myself, I was busy taking care of everyone else. I struggled with balance big time. When I was working I was taking extra good care of my clients. When I was home I was taking care of my husband, the kids, the animals, the house… but I wasn’t taking care of myself. I came last, always. Again, I did this because I felt so guilty like there was no way I had time to do something for myself. I was needed in so many other areas. However, I realized that you won’t get far in life without having a mental breakdown if you do this. You have to take care of YOU in order to take care of everyone and everything else. You HAVE to make time for you, you HAVE to make self care a priority. If you are happy, if you are feeling good… everyone else around you will benefit.
Go outside, take a break and get some sunshine. Go on a walk, do a quick workout or a yoga session. Talk with God (or the Universe or the stars or whatever you believe in.) Get a facial. Seriously, if you haven’t gotten a facial you do not know what you’re missing out on. Take a hot bath with candles and a glass of wine. Sit down for a nice cup of coffee and a good book or pick up an episode of a show that makes you laugh. No one said it had to be an all day thing (you might need that every now and then!) even a 20 minute session for YOU will do wonders. Make self care a PRIORITY.
#7 Turn on the music and DANCE.
I dare you to spend some time listening to your favorite music and sing along. Dance, dance, friggin’ dance. It will be so impossible to not lift your spirit and just feel BETTER. It will take you out of your reality for a little while and it will feel awesome. If you can’t dance, turn it on in the car when you’re going somewhere and sing. Get into it. You will feel like a new person when you’re done.
#8 Live in the Moment
You want to be stress free? Take it from me, live in the moment. I had a mentor that always told me this, but I didn’t understand what he meant. I would get so worked up over my job, money, the kids, a judgmental mom at school… and this mentor of mine would be so calm. He would laugh; he would say “you have got to live in the moment.” After finally experiencing what he was talking about, I learned he was 1000% right. I now live in the moment in everything I do, and you need to, too. I wasted so many years with my kids and I wish I could get that time back. Since I can’t, maybe you can so listen up. LIVE IN THE MOMENT. When you’re at work, deal with work. Deal with what is going on and don’t worry about anything else. When you’re at home with your husband, focus on your husband and enjoying every single minute of that moment. You won’t get this time back, so live in the moment and only in that moment. I remember when it really hit me. My daughter wanted to go to the park. Her and I walked over to the park and she was talking to me the entire walk. Do I remember what we talked about? No. Not one word. Why? Because as she was carrying on excited and happy, telling me all of these wonderful things… I was not there. I was there physically, but in my mind I was thinking about the awful email I had just gotten from a client. It was all I could think about, and as my daughter blabbered on, I met her with a “yep, uh huh” every other sentence. We got to the park; I pushed her on the swing. She was so happy, and my head was somewhere else. I rushed the park trip and felt stressed out the entire time. I’ll never get that moment back. I should have said “I’ll deal with that email when I return; I’m going to enjoy the hell out of this moment with my daughter.” I should have pushed her on the swing, laughed and had that real conversation with her that she wanted to have. I was absent. It was an eye-opener for me. Looking back, I did that a lot with my kids. I did it a lot with my husband, my parent, my family and my friends. Instead of enjoying the moment, I lived in my head about all of my problems or whatever was stressing me out at the time. Live in the moment. Deal with your stress when it arises and let it go. When you’re doing anything else, live in that moment to the very fullest. You will be so much happier. We get one life. Life is short. You don’t want to look back and say “man, whatever I was stressing about was so silly… so pointless… I should’ve enjoyed that fishing trip with my dad more.”
#9 Positivity is Power
You probably hear it all the time and see it everywhere. “Be positive, be happy, don’t be so negative.” Well, it’s true. Look for the positive in everything you do. It will help you so much. Catch yourself when you’re being negative and say “I’m going to take a different approach to this.” Just practicing this daily, will do so much. Over time, you will build the positive muscle and will change. Everyone around you will feel your positive energy and love being around you. It will help others be positive, positivity really is power.
#10 Express Gratitude
Let me say this, if there’s one thing that changed my life in a huge way it was gratitude. I never realized just how much I took everything in my life for granted. When I truly took a step back and expressed gratitude for every single thing in my life, it was like clouds separated and the sunshine came into my life. It was like I had clarity, happiness and stress just left. No matter how stressed out you are, sit down and write down 100 things you’re grateful for. It’s not just about money, it’s about people in your life, having electricity, food, water, air conditioner, a car to drive, good health, eye sight, hearing, being able to walk. There is literally SO MUCH to be grateful for every single day. You HAVE to start taking the time each day to express that gratitude. We get more out of life when we are grateful. I promise you, if you are stressed out or feeling anxious, if you’re suffering from depression, just start with gratitude and see how quickly things start to turn around for you.
#11 Clean Your House
Look around, how does your house look? Sometimes, when I’m feeling stressed it’s because my environment is a wreck. It’s been proven that our environments have an effect on our brains. We can’t think clearly when we are living in chaos. If everything is a mess, clean it up. Purge the house, get the family involved so you’re not doing it all by yourself. Getting the house in order, will get your mind in order. This works for me every single time. There’s something about a nice clean environment that does wonders for how we feel.
#12 Consider Your Diet
What is your diet like? Turns out, I didn’t drink nearly enough water. I was low on vitamin D, vitamin B and had an overall horrible diet. I ate a ton of processed foods; the only drinks I consumed were coffee and soda. Your diet can have a HUGE effect on how you feel. Our brains need water, we need our vitamins, and we need to eat healthy! When I first read about water and how it can affect our moods and our brains, I didn’t really buy into it. However, it was a pretty simple solution so I gave it a shot to see if it would make a difference. When I made it a goal to take a multivitamin every day and seriously increase my water intake, I felt so much better. That really gave me motivation to dive deeper into the world of healthier eating. When I drank a lot of water and focused on being a healthier person, it was like I could FUNCTION better. I felt like I could conquer things much easier. Seriously, look into it. There is a ton of info about this online.
#13 Understand There Will be Bad Days
Understand that sometimes, there will just be bad days and there’s nothing you can do about it. When you fight the stress or fight the bad days, they only get harder. Sometimes, you just have to chalk it up as a bad day or a stressful day. Know that tomorrow will be a new day and you’ll deal with it tomorrow. When I started doing this, I started really living life. I understand that this is a part of life, we all have challenges. We can’t get through life without a challenge every now and then. When the bad days happen, just do what you can to get through them and don’t fight it. Tell yourself a better time is coming. It might even be a bad week or a bad month. Just keep pushing through and know that better days are ahead. In conclusion, there are many ways to decrease stress. If you’re living in severe depression and anxiety, I urge you to seek professional help. There are Doctors and professionals out there who can really help you to feel so much better. You deserve happiness, everyone does. We all deserve to enjoy our lives the best we can. Sometimes, all we need is a little help. Don’t be scared to ask for it.
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