Reducing stress and improving your sleep can help you become a better parent and spouse according to a recent study conducted by the Catholic University of Chile, which showed just that essentially in the form of parents improving their mindfulness as a result of accomplishing the aforementioned. It can help you increase your work productivity, and can even help you enhance your health. But if you're constantly feeling under the gun, stress reduction might seem impossible. Like anything, you have to prioritize its importance and take steps to get it under control. Use these tips to start reducing your stress.
1. Efficiently Manage Your Time
When you manage your time and get more out of each day, you'll perform at a higher level, and reduce stress that accumulates when you feel like you're running behind. Plan your days, block your schedule, and keep your to-do list and calendar up-to-date. You'll feel better about life when you're not stressing about all the things you have yet to complete.
2. Ignore Workplace Gossip
It's one thing to get stressed when you receive privileged or negative feedback from your boss, but it's an entirely different thing to allow yourself to get stressed by general workplace gossip. Just because so-and-so said such-and-such to who-de-who, doesn't mean it's true or worth your time. Let the workplace chatter roll off your back and focus on the important things instead.
3. Cherish Your Downtime
When I worked in the restaurant biz, sometimes my shifts spanned the lunch and dinner crowds. The hours were long and stressful, but knowing I could sit down with my wife at the end of each day with a cup of tea helped alleviate the stressors.
Think about the things that help you unwind after a stressful day, and schedule them into your life. For instance, if you love playing catch with your kids, set aside 20 minutes when you get home to throw the ball around. Or if you need hang out with friends to unwind, schedule at least one night a week when you can all get together.
During these "down times," let yourself truly step away from other stressors. Turn off your phone, head outside, and unplug from the rat race. It'll be there to greet you after you've given yourself the chance to relax.
4. Improve Your Physical Health
Constantly managing injuries and illnesses is stressful. And while you can't avoid every health-related complication, you can lower your risk of chronic disease by prioritizing and improving your physical health. According to the CDC, Americans should accumulate 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week. You can achieve this goal by exercising just 30 minutes a day, five days a week, or you can break it down further and aim for 20 to 25 minutes per day. Take a walk on your lunch break, or head to the park with your kids. There are lots of ways to add activity to your day and bolster your health.
5. Eliminate Bad Habits
You might feel like downing a couple beers after a stressful day at work, but alcohol and nicotine consumption won't actually decrease your stress. The National Institute for Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism reports that there's a link between alcohol consumption and higher stress levels, and the National Center for Biotechnology Information states the same for cigarette smoking.
6. Make Time For Personal Indulgence
If you like surfing social media, tracking your fantasy sports team, or perusing Internet dating websites, don't feel guilty about spending the time. Rather, plan it into your day. Once your work responsibilities are complete and you've celebrated a successful day, go ahead and spend an hour dinking around online - you've earned it. As one example, the Journal of Health Psychology conducted research which showed that gardening can boost your happiness and even reduce the amount of cortisol in your body, a stress hormone.
Reducing your stress level is something you must take personal responsibility for. Grab the bull by the horns, institute changes to your daily schedule, and watch your stress level fade away as your sleep quality gradually improves.
How do you manage your stress level?
Greg Martin writes about personal development, health and wellness, and tips for being more happy in daily life.