Friday, January 18th, Day 136
Take a Break: Self-Care Can Reduce Stress
Don’t let anyone tell you that taking time to have fun, relax and renew your emotional and mental batteries are a waste of time. People who routinely ignore stress, blood pressure and mental health pay a heavy price and often find themselves taking medications to control diabetes, hypertension and prevent lasting damage to their organs. There’s little doubt that accepting the mental health benefits of self-care is nothing less than an investment in your long-term well-being.
Don’t underestimate the value of sitting still and doing absolutely nothing. Sometimes it’s the best answer to a hectic day or a problem you just can’t get your arms around. Try sitting quietly in a darkened room, focusing on your breathing. It’s difficult to function effectively during the day if you’re so stressed that you can’t think clearly, so make a point of shutting down and regrouping when it’s all too overwhelming. And don’t forget that a healthy diet — one that supports the good bacteria in your gut — is also essential for lowered stress, a decreased stress response, and improved mood. Probiotics, both those that naturally occur in food and those that are found in supplements, can help keep your gut health in check.
Clutter can add to stress and affect your sense of well-being and ability to relax, so make a point of keeping excess belongings organized or give them away. Many of us have trouble parting with things that we don’t really need anymore. Consider renting an affordable storage unit until you’re able to decide what to do with all the clutter. You can consider it a short-term investment in your mental health that doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg.
If you want to keep your bedroom decluttered, you can invest in under-bed storage boxes for a little as $9. You can pack items such as clothes, linens, blankets or towels in these sturdy bins and keep them out of sight, but conveniently within reach. Not only can these bins be used in your bedroom, but they also can be stored other rooms to keep much-needed items in one place. Reducing clutter and preventing disorganization can significantly lessen stress in your home.
Return to Nature
You don’t have to live in a cave or move to a deserted island to go natural. Sometimes just spending a couple hours walking in the woods or taking a bike ride in the country can be exactly what’s needed to alleviate a week’s worth of pent-up stress and frustration. Spending time in nature can help you maintain perspective and remember that you’re not the only person in the world with problems.
Relaxing and shaking off stress sometimes means shutting off the outside world for a while and just trying to make sense of everything. To that end, set aside a block of time every week to shut down social media so you can quiet your thoughts and just relax. Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are great ways to stay connected, but an awful lot gets said and argued about on social media that means very little in the real world. Eliminate the aggravation by shutting down social media for a day or two each week and just use text or email to stay in touch.
It’s important to take time for yourself every now and then. We live in a world immersed in stimuli. It pours out at you every day through social and traditional media, inundating you with messages, warnings and exhortations until it becomes nearly impossible to separate what’s real from what’s trivial. Silence and quiet contemplation can be your best friend, a refuge from the world.
Courtesy of Pixabay.com.