Here’s a confession that doesn’t need confessing – I’ve been stressed AF. Shocking, I know. We’re all stressed and sometimes that stress pushes us to our breaking point more than I’d like to admit. We moved eight weeks ago and would you believe I only took two days off from work and the blog? Two days! I mean, what in the world was I thinking? I should have taken time away from the office, the blog, and social media to focus on moving and settling in to our new life. Instead, I tried to manage it all and I failed in epic ways.
I had projects due at work. Freelance clients were in the middle of contracts. There were sponsored posts and videos due. I had work-related task lists a million miles long. Oh, and I also had new furniture and appliances to buy as well as dozens of boxes to unpack. Seriously, who did I think I was? Even with Brandon’s help there was no way we could get it all done. He has clients under contract and is on a deadline to deliver his manuscript. We were barely squeezing everything in when two deadlines were moved up, we were in a car accident, and things starting crumbling. A house of cards only stands for so long.
I finally broke down. It was circling the epic-meltdown zone. So, I did what any adult does in that situation. I poured a glass of wine, gave myself 30 minutes for a crying fest, and grabbed my computer to send off some pretty humbling emails. Admitting you’re not superwoman sucks. That was two weeks ago.
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As of today, my deadlines are met and the sponsored content/videos are complete. Our furniture is delivered and the appliances are installed. The boxes are unpacked and everything is put away. I have products, eBooks, and a lifestyle blogging course available but those are done on my timeline. I’ve also reduced my blog publishing schedule to 3x a week plus Weekend Links instead of the 5x – 6x a week I was trying to maintain before. The plan is to do that for the summer so I have more time for myself and my family.
I’m doing everything I can to reclaim my time and reduce stress without dropping the blog completely (because I love it, ya know?). Right now, these are the 14 things taking priority on my self-care list so I can reduce stress and get things back on track.
14 Ways to Reduce Stress
1 // Spend time outdoors. A week or so ago Brandon and I went to the park and the pool for the first time all summer. It was the most relaxing day we’ve had in months! The fresh air, warm temperatures, and sunshine was exactly what we needed. Whether you’re lounging by the pool, going for a hike, or spending time in the garden just being outdoors is good for the soul.
2 // Try yoga. I’ve written about it before but I love yogadownload.com for in-home yoga. It works on my schedule and I’m not embarrassed about being in public and not knowing what I’m doing. This class is perfect when you want a slow flow course. The combination poses and deep breathing techniques definitely helps to reduce stress.
3 // Explore ASMR. ASMR is something new to Brandon and I but we love it, despite it being a bit controversial. ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response) allows you to experience a tingling sensation on your skin and positive/relaxed feelings triggered by acoustic, visual and digital media stimuli. There are a ton of videos on YouTube for it but my favorite is this guy with the Tibetan singing bowls.
5 // Pray. Let go of the things that are causing stress by turning them over to God or the Universe. Spend a few minutes acknowledging the things that are causing you stress. Speak them out loud, acknowledge your limited control, and let go.
6 // Get a massage or try progressive relaxation. There are plenty of studies that suggest massage is beneficial as a tool to reduce stress. If you’re not able to go for a professional massage, try progressive relaxation. Starting with your toes, slowly tense each muscle group for 30 seconds before relaxing. Move from your toes up through your neck and head. Forcing your body into a state of relaxation helps let go of tension you often don’t realize you’re carrying.
7 // Be artistic. If you’re artistic, create! Whatever your creative preference is, do that thing. Sculpt. Paint. Knit. Draw. If you’re not an artistic creative (like me), I recommend trying adult coloring books. Grab some colored pencils and a coloring book (I love this one) and spend 5 – 10 minutes simply coloring between the lines.
8 // Play with your pet. Pet owners are less stressed, it’s just a fact. Find your cat or dog (he’s likely at your feet right now anyway) and get in some snuggle time. Cuddle with them, pet them, and play with them for a few minutes. They’ll love it and it’s good for you too.
9 // Light up. Stock up on strong aromatic candles like the ones I wrote about a few weeks ago. Aromatherapy has long been considered a great way to reduce stress and it’s one of my favorite techniques. Strong pleasant scents always help me calm down.
10 // Get offline. Literally, do anything that doesn’t have you connected to the internet. The constant connectivity fuels this feeling of needing to be everywhere at all times and it’s a huge source of stress. Disconnect. Go outside. Read a (real) book.
11 // Be grateful. Take the time to write down a list of things you are grateful for in your life. No matter how small, write it down. Having a visual confirmation of good things helps overcome the feelings of negativity that threaten to swallow you whole.
12 // Laugh. I love to turn to YouTube for stand-up comedy when I’m feeling stressed. Laughter truly is the best medicine and the act of laughing helps reduce stress and the physical effects it has on your body. Find a few short clips and enjoy!
13 // Exercise. Even if it’s only for a few minutes, the physical activity reduces endorphins which help reduce stress in a major way. I use my DeskCycle to get activity in while I work. It’s amazing!
14 // Try journaling. I know journaling isn’t for everyone but writing helps get stress and anxiety out of your head. Sometimes, you just need to purge all of the stuff stuck in your mind and journaling is a great way to do it. I often use journal prompts to clear stuff out too. I try to journal once a week.
So, I’m reducing my publishing schedule and taking some days off to focus on myself and my family. It’s much needed and long past due. 🙂
What are your favorite relaxation techniques? How do you reduce stress? Tweet me @ashleyfromhp or leave your thoughts below.