Like everything else in life, there must be a balance in order to prevent stress. But stress more or less can be at times unpredictable and it effects virtually everyone. For me, if I let stress accumulate over time instead of finding ways to relieve them, I feel completely drained and my usual good humor flies out the proverbial window. I suffer, my husband suffers, my son suffers, my household suffers, and then I just feel completely depleted. I’m sure I’m not alone here when I say I’ve had stress burnouts in my life where everything felt utterly helpless. But through time and years of experience I was able to find ways to help me deal with stress. I’ve made a list of 10 ideas but you can always find safe and sensible ways of helping you relieve stress. These ideas can also be used on children as kids can accumulate stress depending on their age.
10 Ways of Relieving and Dealing with Stress:
1- Write things down – This is by far my most favorite. When you write things down to help you remember, you have an actual tangible thing within your reach. You can just pick up that piece of paper (or your phone if you write notes on it) and reference it anytime. Or if you have the time, start a personal journal and write in it as often as you can. Just like in school, writing things down helps connect your brain to the words. That’s why writers can just go on writing for days on end because writing can be a form of catharsis that liberates you.
2- Make a list – I’m a total list writer and I learned this trait early on from my mom. Perhaps I was kind of forgetful when I was a teenager and when I moved away from home to study for college, I remembered my mom’s sage advice. Writing lists help you focus and bring everything back in front of you. Your list can be anything to help you deal with whatever stress you are feeling.
3- Go outside – There’s something about being out in nature that just calms the soul. But you’d have to literally go someplace where it’s not stressful or strenuous for the eyes. Our eyes connect us to our feelings so try to go to a park or the ocean or lake. Anywhere that takes you away from your daily life stress.
4- Read a book – I always say, read a good book and your spirits will be lifted. Choose a book from a favorite author or a bestseller from a favorite genre. Books can create vivid images in the mind and take you to other places in your soul. For children, pick a book that’s funny and touching. Or adventurous and daring. Anything to help them take their minds off their troubles and sadness.
5 – Dance – Dancing around whether you’re an expert or have two left feet always seems to get the jitters out. When you’re stressed, your body releases certain stress hormones that can be damaging to your health. When you’re feeling happy or want to feel happy, your body releases oxytocin, which is a mood lifter and a natural antidepressant. So crank up the tunes, let your hair down, wiggle your arms and feet, and dance your butt off!
6 – Sing – Like dancing, singing either softly or belting your lungs out gives you a sense of freedom and euphoria. It’s because music has a connection to your brain that triggers emotions. Sing a happy song or a favorite song when you’re stressed and soon those pressing troubles will float away.
7 – Talk – Talking to someone you trust is a good way to beat stress. You don’t necessarily have to see a psychiatrist to get your emotions out. When you talk to a trusted person, they can help you see things from a different perspective which is often the case to why you’re feeling so stressed – you can’t get out of your own stressful mind. For children, let them talk out their feelings without interrupting them. One of the things I find kids dislike is being interrupted when they’re trying to talk to you or when they’re angry and they can’t express their feelings properly.
8 – Volunteer – The old adage about feeling better when you’re helping someone else is pretty much true. When you’re helping others you are thinking of them instead of yourself. You no longer feel the need to think about your own troubles when you see that you’re lifting someone else’s troubled mind. For children, check out local charities that take children as volunteers. It could be an animal shelter, a beach cleanup, or a fundraising event. Volunteering your time and effort is in itself, a reward.
9 – Garden – Gardening is like bringing in new life. Dig your hands into the soil and you connect with an intrinsic part of your soul. When gardening, you’re touching flowers, leaves, and soil. Nature brings their own form of magic that is mystical yet almost anyone can feel a connection to. It could be something as simple as a sunflower or a pot of herbs. Giving even a small part of your effort into your garden (whether indoor or outside) can bring unparalleled results.
10 – Sleep – Sleep is one of the best ways of reducing stress. In fact, less sleep can induce stress because your body hasn’t gone through its crucial cycles during the night. The body goes through several stages of sleep cycles and when you don’t go through all the cycles, your body and mind becomes disruptive and unclear throughout the day. Even taking a nap during the day helps too. Kids especially benefit from full sleep and naps. Because their minds and bodies are constantly changing and growing, sleep helps their body catch up to their active mind.
So, remember that stress can drain your health and leave you with long term health problems. While some experts may argue that a little bit of stress is good for the adrenaline, I personally don’t abide by that theory. Stress, even an innocent part of it, can accumulate over time and when it’s not dealt with properly, eventually you’ll feel overwhelmed and incapable of relieving that stress.
Children should learn to deal with stress at an early age. Get them into the good habit of thinking positively and making positive outcomes. And while you’re at it, take that advice and apply it to yourself. When you feel stress so does everyone else around you.
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