We all have to deal with stress in our lives once, some suffer from it more than others. It is sometimes difficult to recognize when you are experiencing stress, which also makes it difficult to deal with it in a timely manner. Examples of symptoms of stress can be fatigue, headaches, palpitations, high heart rate and breathing, anxiety, bowel problems, muscle pain, stomach aches, and so on. So it’s not nothing! Take your symptoms seriously and start working on your lifestyle, don’t wait. Since I’m also a regular customer of stress, I’ve listed my 9 tips for you here. The important thing is that you don’t just do it in times of too much stress, but rather every day. This way you prevent it from becoming too much and you keep a good balance in life. If the stress can be traced to psychological problems, I recommend you talk to a professional. These tips are just a support in daily life to become aware of your moments of rest.
My most important tip for a stress-free life is the routine after you woke up and before you go to bed. Start each day with a good and healthy breakfast, take a shower, use a face cream and a perfume for example. And every night before you go to bed, go read for an hour, go take a shower, go for a 15 minute walk, cleanse your face, and so on. Above all, try to avoid screens, even if they have what is called a blue light filter. It is best to do this at the same time every evening, but unfortunately this is not always feasible for me due to the busy schedule. So come up with a nice and feasible routine that you can do every night.
Okay, this is typically Dutch: a agenda or planner. We are (in general) amazing at planning and using an agenda (at least compared to other countries). Planning gives you a good overview of how many appointments you have. This allows you to keep an eye on whether you have enough time for yourself to relax. Fun things can also be exhausting, so with time for yourself I mean that you have to do nothing at all. Just relaxing. I always put a limit on the number of appointments I have each day. If you really forget about the relaxing time for yourself, you can also schedule this. Last regarding the agenda: don’t schedule appointments too close together. Planning well also means you don’t have to rush, which also reduces stress. An organized life brings an organized mind!
To do lists
I am also a huge fan of to do lists for the simple reason that I forget otherwise. Unfortunately, I often seem to be dealing with never-ending to do lists, but thankfully they do eventually come to an end. Make the to do list, set your priorities and cross it off when the task is done. In this way you will also learn to manage your time well. In addition, you no longer have to remember everything and the chance of forgetting something is much smaller, resulting in less stress and pressure!
No, meditating is not just for floaty personalities, meditating can be helpful for everyone! Schedule a fifteen-minute meditation in the morning or evening, whatever you like. While meditating you explore who you are, you learn to recognize unhelpful thoughts and unhelpful behavior. So it’s not that meditating will stop you experiencing stress, but if you do it right it can be a result of meditating. Try doing it every day for a month, and keep track of how you feel. If you find it difficult to start meditating, you can also look up a guided meditation on the Internet. These are videos where someone guides you through a meditation. An example of this is the body scan. And as you get used to it, you can try to just meditate with meditation music or binaural sounds.
A long time ago I once wrote a post about the power of scents, especially essential oils. These oils can actually affect our feelings and emotions and increase our comfort. They influence our mental and physical health. For some types of oils, the effectiveness has been scientifically proven. This applies to oils that improve sleep quality, reduce anxiety and increase concentration. Furthermore, there is still a lot of research being done in the health care field on the effectiveness of aromatherapy. You can read my full blogpost about it here.
A natural medicine to unwind. I drink a tea with chamomile, valerian and chamomile. Whether it really works is of course hard to prove, but if I may speak from personal experience, it seems that I go to sleep at night with less busy thoughts. I always leave the tea bag in the cup for as long as possible, so that all the herbs soak into the water. I take the tea an hour before bedtime. Sleeping teas are always spicy, you have to love them. If necessary, add a little honey to make it sweeter!
Of course, it’s somewhat similar to essential oils: fragrances. Still, I wanted to make this a separate heading, because pillow spray smells a little less intense than an oil. I have a pillow spray from Holland & Barrett, from the brand Treets. This spray contains calming aromas that you can spray on your pillow before going to sleep, and according to the spray, ensures a deep and relaxing sleep. There are many more types of pillow spray with different scents, so you can pick one that suits you.
Peace of Mind® On-the-Spot Relief
From the Origins brand, they sell Peace of Mind® On-the-Spot Relief. This is a small vial with a cream like substance smelling like mint. I love it! The smell of mint has a calming and refreshing effect. It’s also great to use when you have a bit of a cold. Apply a little bit of cream to your temples and earlobes and massage it into the back of your neck. As you read, scents can do a lot to our mental state. It is definitely worth to check if it is something for you.
In the end, of course, it all comes down to one thing: balance. A balance between work and home, a balance between busyness and rest. It’s not always easy to find that balance. You can only find it if you listen carefully to yourself and your body. Don’t wait too long with changing your lifestyle, change it when you notice that you are no longer feeling relaxed in life. By not living relaxed I mean feeling bad, living in a hurry or negative feelings for example. So listen to yourself carefully. Stress never goes away by itself, it always needs to be worked on. And you are the only one who can change it!