Healthy Ways to Manage Stress

Yesterday was a very stressful day. The kind where nothing goes right, no matter how hard you try. The kind where you step outside to take a walk and it suddenly starts to rain (although, to be fair, it did stop after a few minutes).

Even though the day was tough, the weather was gorgeous for the most part, so I’m thankful for that. I honestly think the sunshine got me through.

Over the years, I’ve become much better at managing my emotions and handling my stress levels. Most of the coping techniques I use are prevention-focused: I try to prevent burnout and stress before they happen.

If I can’t prevent the stress (because, let’s be honest, it often pops up unexpectedly), at least I know I can change the way I react to it. I am a believer in self-care; I think you should be kind to yourself and regularly do things that make you happy. That way, when tough times arise (as they certainly will), you’ll be your best self and fully equipped to handle them.

Me enjoying the unusually sunny weather yesterday. I try to remind myself there’s always something good in each day.

As a busy working mom, I realize that’s much easier said than done. It took a bit of practice before I shifted my obligations to prioritize my own wellbeing. Once I did, it made a big difference in my happiness and productivity.

So, for this edition of Friday Five, I’m highlighting some tools that I use to restore myself when I’m feeling down and to manage my stress levels.

One – Journaling

I recently discovered bullet journaling and I really like it. It’s like a cross between a sketchbook/organizer/diary. It can be very therapeutic to sketch some feelings down on a page. In today’s digital world, we often don’t handwrite anything anymore, but I think we should. Writing by hand always makes me feel calmer and more grounded. (For some great bullet journal inspo, check out the Instagram page @bulletjournal.)

Two – Going Outside

As you may have noticed from my blog, I love being outside. If I’m having a tough day, I almost always feel better after spending time in nature. If the weather isn’t cooperating, I still try to open a window and let some fresh air in: it helps clear my mind and allows me to refocus.

Three – Going to the Gym

The gym has a therapeutic effect on me. I think anxiety is often caused by misdirected energy, so blowing off some steam really helps me calm down. Weightlifting in particular has transformed my approach to problems and built up my self-confidence: I’ve discovered strengths I never knew I had.

Four – Taking a Hot Shower

Hot baths can definitely be therapeutic too, but I don’t really like baths for some reason. I find that five minutes in a hot shower is all it takes for me to feel more relaxed.

Five – Hanging with My Family

Last but not least, quality family time is one of my favorite ways to restore my balance. We don’t have to be doing anything fancy, either. Traveling together is wonderful, but I also cherish the weeknights we’re just hanging out watching TV.

What are your tried-and-true ways of managing stress?

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