how i reduce stress in 10 steps

good morning everyone!

today’s post is all about stress. this time of the year is probably stressful for everyone: holiday shopping, prepping for exams, finishing tasks before the winter vacation…

i’ve come up with 10 easy ways to reduce stress that usually work for me. it’s normal that sometimes the stress is overwhelming but it is tamable. i hope these thoughts can help you manage whatever is stressful in your life!

1. breathe, smile.

easiest but also the hardest step. by breathing i mean, taking a moment and reflecting on the world around you. send away negative thoughts and invite positive ones. smile gently as you realise that there’s more to your stressful moment.

if you have the time, meditate simply by focusing on deep breaths. i find it extremely calming and it tames down any usurping thoughts that may corrupt what you have to do.

2. eat mindfully

when i am stressed, i definitely overeat. sugar and carbs are high on the list and i will reach for anything in my pantry that checks those boxes (bread, crackers, cereal…).

my tip for this one is to first ask yourself if you’re hungry (the answer is probably yes) and if you really have to eat something, eat it mindfully. do nothing else but eat what you have to eat and recollect on the taste and pleasure it gives you. one serving of what you are snacking on will probably suffice.

(this tip applies to every meal but by good habits start small!)

3. drink tea

tea is a wonderful way to wind down. i love drinking hot beverages when i’m feeling stressed. coffee and hot chocolate don’t cut it and i find tea to be the perfect answer to almost any problem. i always have a cup on my desk when i’m working.

i recommend a floral oolong like the tie guan yin (smells like lilacs!). excellent after a meal and very delicious.

extra tip: every time you’re taking a sip, breathe and recollect!

4. exercise

that’s something i still need to work on. exercise is the first thing off my list when i feel stressed/busy/overwhelmed. the feeling of exercising, however, is so therapeutic that it should be on top of my priority list! if i feel that i simply can not have a run in the morning, i try to walk a few extra bus stops or take breaks outside to have some fresh air.

5. make a list

this tip is tricky because seeing what you have to get done may be very scary. i like to make a list and list the items in order of priority. get things done in order and leave the best or easiest for last.

if you’re struggling with procrastination, i recommend the pomodoro technique which is essentially 25 minutes of uninterrupted work and a short break in between. after four “pomodoros”, take a longer break.

be careful when you’re taking a break. i often find myself gravitating towards blogs to read or other stationary activities. i realised that physically getting up (or the opposite if you’re working physically) and moving a bit really helps me to relax.

6. envision yourself getting it done

very simple and quite effective. what will you do after? how will you feel? thrive to a successful completion of your tasks and do them well so that the satisfaction is greater when all is finished.

7. take a good look at the world

when i’m feeling stressed i often feel very self-centered. “i” am stressed, “my work”, “my time” are all things i think about when i feel pressured. you are not alone and this is a good time to realise it. i love to take a moment and call friends and relatives to see how they’re doing and connect with them. it feels very refreshing to hear about someone else’s day and usually puts things into perspective.

8. give yourself limits

don’t overwork yourself! if you know that you need a good night’s sleep, make sure you get all of your hours. i usually like to stop working around 9PM. when i fail to meet that limit, i know i won’t be as effective the next day.

9. don’t neglect other tasks

cleaning, walking the dog, being part of a family…they all seem to be “unimportant”. take the time to really see what are your priorities in life, not just in your work life.

10. plan a reward after the big event/period

the best tip! after your stressful moment, plan a treat that will motivate you. i usually like a nice meal at a restaurant or a night in with a good movie and a hot chocolate. do what you love to do and make it grand! by that time, you will most definitely deserve it.

so those are my tips! hopefully they are helpful!

take care and don’t forget…breathe!