77% of people in the U.S. regularly experience physical symptoms caused by stress.*
Stress is something that affects all of us, from job interviews to first dates, piles of laundry to sick kids. It’s not always bad, but it can quickly get out of control and start negatively affecting your life.
I didn’t used to be very realistic about what I could reasonably accomplish, or very good at saying no. That, combined with the mentality that you just do what needs to be done, had me in a downward spiral of stress.
Learn to Recognize Stress Early
Because I didn’t used to understand how to recognize when I was starting to get stressed, there have been many times over the years that my stress levels built up to the point that I started having physical symptoms and would end up thinking something was seriously wrong with me, which only caused me to get more worked up.
Just because you experience one or more of these symptoms obviously isn’t a guarantee that it’s stress-related, but it sure is an eye-opener to better understand how much damage stress can do when left unchecked!
This excellent article (a highly recommended read) identifies 3 of the most common ways people respond when overwhelmed by stress:
Foot on the gas – An angry, agitated, or “fight” stress response. You’re heated, keyed up, overly emotional, and unable to sit still.
Foot on the brake – A withdrawn, depressed, or “flight” stress response. You shut down, pull away, space out, and show very little energy or emotion.
Foot on both – A tense or “freeze” stress response. You become frozen under pressure and can’t do anything. You look paralyzed, but under the surface you’re extremely agitated.
A helpful way to remember how to deal with potential stress is outlined as four “A’s” by the article I mentioned above (go there for more details).
My Favorite De-Stressers
How do you manage stress? Based on my past experiences, I try hard to stay on top of how I’m feeling and not allow stress to build up. Here are some of my favorite ways to de-stress:
Sometimes when my mind is going a million miles a minute and I can’t think straight, I just need to completely distract myself from the situation by watching a favorite show.
Get a Massage
I often get pretty tense when I’m stressed out, and my husband is really wonderful about giving me a back massage or foot rub to help me relax.
Get Some Alone Time
When I get the “going slightly crazy” feeling, sometimes the best remedy is some time alone to gather my thoughts and gain a better perspective. That might mean taking a shower, going on a walk, taking a nap, or even continuing to work, but in my own space with the door closed. Usually that means that David holds down the fort for a bit, but sometimes it means that the kids get a bit more screen time than normal. And I’m totally ok with that.
Talk it Out
Once in a while – not as often, since I’m an internal processor, but sometimes – just talking through my thoughts and feelings with a good friend or my husband, and having them understand what’s going on with me can be invaluable. Knowing that someone is in your corner, and allowing them to help and support you in whatever ways they can, essentially takes some of the weight you’ve been carrying off of your shoulders.
Do Something Proactive
Often, negative stress can be caused by feeling like situations are out of control – busyness, sickness, housework, etc. Sometimes the thing that helps me most is to regain control of something, whether it’s conquering a pile of dishes or laundry, or feeling better about myself by doing my nails, hair, and makeup.
A Long-Term Stress Elimination Strategy
There are many needless things we chase after and do in life because it’s “the thing to do”, “everyone’s doing it”, “it’s just how we’ve always done it”, etc. etc. That goes for stuff we own as well.
We’ve found incorporating a mindset of minimalism in our lives to be incredibly helpful not only in reducing stress, but also in increasing meaning and clarity in our lives. Highly recommended 😉
Bonus: Natural Stress Remedy
Lately, I haven’t been doing as well as I would like. (I just wrote a post about ways I’ve been failing lately!) When I took the stress test found here, I got a 33, indicating I’ve had high levels of stress over the past month. While the freedom we have to travel and live in different places is great, transition periods can sometimes be stressful, particularly if we get behind on work.
We recently changed location from Tijuana to El Paso and work stuff piled up more than I had anticipated. Yesterday we recorded a podcast with Smart and Simple Matters, and I was still feeling a bit stressed and nervous beforehand, so I took one of these RESCUE Pastilles, each of which contain one dose of RESCUE Remedy.
While I can’t say that the pastille helped me sound more intelligent (it’s not magical *smirk*), I do think it helped me relax a bit. The consistency is like a cross between a hard candy and a gummy candy, so just the action of sucking or chewing on the pastille is relaxing.
I love that the ingredients are totally natural, not even any dyes, and I’ll definitely be putting these in our glove box for easy access on busy days.
There are a bunch of other natural, non-habit-forming RESCUE options, including Sleep Liquid Melts to help you sleep and Pearls (dissolvable capsules also for stress relief). I also spied some stress relief gum when I picked up my pastilles, which I would love to try next!
RESCUE stress relief products are available now in the US at CVS, Walgreens, Whole Foods, Sprouts, and wherever you find natural products. There are even some great coupons – check them out!
*Source: American Psychological Association, American Institute of Stress, NY
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.
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