10 easy ways to put stress to rest

Don’t stress, don’t stress, don’t stress… girl you deserve nothing but the best.

Thanks Jesse McCartney for those soulful lyrics, but your boyish charm and undistinguishable boy-band vocals are simply not enough to alleviate the dark circles under my eyes and the twitch I’m developing from endlessly twirling my hair.

What is it about stress anyway? What is it with us Americans and our constant need to STRESS ourselves out? I don’t know about all of you, but if I don’t book every second of my day with things I need to get done, I am stressed at the thought that I did not stress enough about the things that I needed to do to stress me out some more. For example, I’m writing this blog… my phone is ringing (seriously)… and I have a painting only slightly started in the living room….and, again, I’m writing this blog… yup.. and just got a text. I’m stressed out doing the one thing that doesn’t usually stress me out– writing.

But I’m not alone. A study by the American Psychological Association showed that 47 percent of Americans are stressed out about how much stress they have.

However, there comes a breaking point. As a girl who works well over 60 hours a week, of which at least 40 are spent in some sort of stress-related environment, I can confidently say I am a head case, and I know I’m not the only one out there… so I took it to the best counselors I knew… YOU GUYS.

After a little research, and your input, I’ve compiled a list of the *best* ways to alleviate stress out of your day-to-day life and into something productive

Here goes:

What to do when the going get’s tough: How to put stress to rest

1) Take it out on the gym– A number of you suggested some sort of exercise and the medical web sites seem to agree. Taking the time to get a good workout, whether it be a jog, a zumba class, a bike ride or just some laps in the pool, can significantly aid in your pursuit to calm down. Releasing all of that energy is a surefire way to start anew.

2) Do something for yourself– “Me time” is integral. Get a pedicure. Take a bath. Get a haircut. Secretly watch reruns of the Bad Girls Club… we don’t judge here. Just take a few minutes each day to dedicate just to you. If you take just 10 minutes a day to meditate, or pray if you’re a spiritual type, it can transform your state of mind.

3) Sing– A few of you suggested this as well, and what great advice. Singing is a fantastic outlet in a similar way that exercise releases energy. Driving down the road and belting out a few ballads will make your throat dry, but hey, you’ll feel a little less worried about your giant to-do list… Oh, and make sure you do it at stoplights… not only will you be relieving stress, you’ll be providing quality entertainment for all the vehicles surrounding you.

4) Return to nature– There’s something about being surrounded by nature that cleanses the soul. Whether you’re sitting on the beach or listening to the wind rustle through the trees, just taking a minute to acknowledge the beauty of the Earth can take you to a deeper level of serenity. I feel like a total hippie saying all of that, but nothing rejuvenates me more than a few minutes of thought to myself on the beach.

5) Make a to-do list– While a to-do list can actually worsen stress in some cases, it will help you feel under control. Being able to see the tasks you need to complete will give you a better sense of how to control your time. Also, just the feel of marking things off the list will give you a sense of accomplishment, even if it’s just something small.

6) Indulge– Ok, perhaps this isn’t the best idea all the time… but sometimes you need to indulge. Granted, indulging sometimes will stress me out even more, but there’s a healthy balance that can be achieved. Remember, indulging can range anywhere from taking a shopping trip to eating a candy bar. Sometimes we need to do something that just feels good.

7) Find a hobby– Half the reason we get into a hobby is not because we’re purely interested in the actual hobby… part of it has to do with how that hobby makes us feel. For example, I began doing art because I was so stressed out with school work. I was in a rigorous program and I just needed something I could put all my focus on. It was the only place I could just drift into thought. Painting did that for me, and maybe it can do that for you too. Or perhaps your hobby is fishing. Perhaps staring out at the open water waiting for your bobber to wobble is what gives you peace. Whatever the case, find a hobby that makes you feel at ease and divulge in that every now and again. I can tell you from experience, it makes a world of difference.

8 ) Drink water– I have no idea, but for some reason keeping myself fully hydrated with water keeps me sane. Whenever I get super freaked out, I drink a glass of water to calm myself down. Perhaps it’s just a childhood remedy for my ongoing fear of the dark… and aliens, but I swear it works.

9) Clean up– Sometimes the mess in our minds can be in direct correlation with our environment. Clean up your room, your desk, your office, whatever and you might feel a little more in control.

10) Accept it with positive affirmation– Make a note to yourself that you have to do what you have to do, and that you’re going to get it done with flying colors. There’s no better way to predict the future than to create it with the words you speak. You can quote me on that…

Hip Hip for a stress-less tomorrow! I know it’s silly to say you can completely eliminate stress, but we sure as heck can make a few changes to live with a little more relaxation.

  • Meredith

    I’m going to try the water idea. Something I also do to calm down is to read a book. It’s like a short escape from your own reality into another characters lol.

  • Zach

    Making a to-do list works best for me. It provides a sense of organization and gives you goals that are achievable. Forget all these gimmicky zen ideas — prancing through a meadow, indulging in a sweet treat, reading a book — and instead dominate what you need to do and get on with your day.

    Also, you forgot alcohol and cigarettes on this list.

    • Jessica

      Oh you know what, you’re right.. totally forgot cigarettes and alcohol… that way you can die before you hit 50 and never have to stress again. RIGHT???!?!?! Heck yeah, man.

      But to each their own. Everyone has a different way of ridding stress.. some people need the “gimmicks,” others can nail it down with a to-do list. We’re all different.

  • Tina

    Outstanding blog.