• Misled Millennial

11 Ways to Seriously Reduce Your Stress Levels!

March is zooming by at an alarming rate. I feel like I’ve blinked and it’s nearly April.

That might be because my schedule is pretty full at the moment. I don’t know about you guys but being super busy, although exciting, can definitely add to my stress levels. It’s that feeling that you can’t quite sit down long enough to wipe your ass, if you know what I mean? Or do I just sound unhygienic?

With feeling highly stressed, and our theme of habits going down a treat, I thought that today we could look at steps you can take to reduce your stress levels. Whether you are a little frantic, or feel like you’re completely drowning, I hope these steps give you some comfort.

11 Ways to Seriously Reduce Your Stress Levels!

1) BreatheI know this sounds like the most obvious piece of advice you’ve ever heard, but during stressful times, you often forget to just take a breath. When things all seem to be getting on top of you, take a minute to stop, breathe in for 4, hold for 4 and breathe out for 4. Doing this 3 times will help reset your breathing, helping you feel grounded and more rational.

2) Time management Poor time management can send your stress levels skyrocketing. It is important you prioritise your most important tasks and create a manageable schedule that works for you. I gave 3 detailed tips on how best to do that here.

3) ListsNow I don’t mean random sheets of paper and post-its everywhere, because that might push you over the edge! I mean one place where you can neatly write out daily, achievable, lists of what you need to get done. Use a Filofax, a diary, your phone, a journal, whatever works for you.

4) BreaksIf you don’t take regular breaks, you will burn out. Pushing yourself all the time is not healthy. Your mind and body will become tired and you’ll just end up singing ‘Hello darkness my old friend' in the shower. Make sure you schedule regular breaks into your working day, as well as proper down time when you aren’t at work.

5) SleepThis can seem like a bit of a cruel joke when you’re stressed, as sleep isn’t always that easy, however, your body needs as much time as possible to recover. Here are some ways you can make sleep a little easier…

- Prepare – Switch your phone off one hour before bed and start your evening routine – This doesn’t have to be anything extravagant, just little things your body can associate with winding down. It could be having a shower, a cup of tea, or moisturising. As best you can, try and create some daily habits that will remind your body it's time to wind down. I’m going to be releasing my version of a night time routine next week.

- Stretch – I know this sounds odd, but there are specific stretches that should be done before bed, as they really help relax your body and remove tension from your muscles. You can find a tutorial to follow on Youtube, or Pinterest.

- Calm your mind – If your mind is still busy, try and read or meditate before bed. You can use Youtube, Headspace or Brightmind.

6) Eat well If you’re feeling really stressed, chances are your body thinks it’s in ‘fight or flight’ mode way too often. You’re running on adrenaline and your body is exhausting quicker than usual. A good way to combat getting run down is by making sure you are well nourished. Here’s 3 easy ways to fuel your body when you’re busy…

- Smoothies – These are a miracle. You can pack in all your fruit and veggies, vitamin powders, good fats, you name it, you can blend it. You can drink it on the go, or at your desk.

- Meal prep – Now I’m not saying you need to make those super green quinoa bowls that are all over the internet. You just need some quick, healthy recipes that will keep you full, i.e, stir fry, tuna pasta, chicken salad, pitas etc.

- Hydrate – Drinking enough water is essential. It will help you feel less tired, more focused and perkier. When we’re stressed and tired, it’s easy to slip into a caffeine coma, but we NEED water to function. Get yourself a nice water bottle and take it with you everywhere.

7) CommunicateYou know how it goes, a problem shared is a problem halved. Don’t feel like you have to carry the weight of the world on your shoulders. Talk to your family, friends or partner if you’re struggling. Speak up at work if it’s all getting a bit much. Change or cancel plans if you need to recover. Voice how you’re feeling, people will listen.

8) DowntimeI don’t care if you’re trying to solve world peace, you still have time for self-care. If you find that you don’t, that just means you need to work on your time management a little more.

Think about it this way, nothing else in life functions at 100% all the time, without breaking, and we are the same. Your car needs servicing, your laptop needs restoring, you phone needs updating etc. We must take care of ourselves. Try having a bath, going for a walk, watching a movie, having a nap. Anything that allows you to wind down.

9) Find an outlet – This can be anything, so long as you enjoy it and it relaxes you. I was talking to my wonderful nana on the weekend, and she said that her outlet is poetry, and my grandad’s is sci-fi shows. It helps them to relax, unwind and ground themselves.

Mine is colouring in. I find it really soothing to be creative without the pressure of producing something. I love this adult colouring book (affiliate link). You colour in swear words and positive affirmations. This, and a cup of tea, is bliss.

10) Clean & declutter – It’s that whole tidy space, tidy mind idea again. Now I’m not saying you need to Marie Kondo the shit out of your life, (as amazing as that sounds), I just mean make sure the areas you spend most of your time in are clean and free from clutter. If your energy is low, and you don’t really want to clean, then at the very least, make your bedroom your happy place. Give your sides a wipe, wash your bedding, put your clothes away, light a candle etc.

Having a clean and peaceful space to wind down and sleep in, can have a huge impact on lowering your stress levels.

11) Become anonymousThis is my favourite tip by far. What I mean by this is, switch off from your life for a little bit. Leave the pressures you have, jobs you need to do, errands you need to run, alone for a little while and disconnect. Take some time to enjoy the pure simplicity of life without any of your burdens. Go out into the world as if you were invisible and do things to please yourself. Don’t worry about what anyone else thinks and just enjoy yourself.

Disassociating from your stresses, will not only help rationalise your thoughts, but will also allow you to appreciate the wonderful little things in life free from guilt, pressure or stress. I appreciate this is difficult to start with, but if you can disassociate for small chunks of time, it will get easier.

Ukiyo - (u-key-yo) - Japanese - Living in the moment, detached from the bothers of life. 'The Floating World'.

I really hope this post has already helped you feel less stressed, and that the points mentioned really do make you feel better. Just remember, that life can be difficult, but we can’t have flowers without some rain. You are doing so well, you are more than good enough, and you deserve a happy life.

Are you happy? Do you want to be happier? Take my quiz to find out how happy you really are, and how you can be happier!

Question of the week: What food cheers you up the most?

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