We all have those weeks. The really hard ones. The ones that make us feel unbalanced at life and everything just seems to end in feeling….tired. This type of stressful tired seeps into all areas of our lives and can cause us to over-think, over-cry, over-eat and over-drink…all of which do not make you feel better in the long run. You may lash out at loved ones or not respond to friends texts. After a tough week…even if the stress starts on a Monday, you have to find ways to decompress so that you can be a better person in all aspects of your life.
Health problems can occur if the stress response goes on for too long or becomes chronic, such as when the source of stress is constant, or if the response continues after the danger has subsided. With chronic stress, those same life-saving responses in your body can suppress immune, digestive, sleep, and reproductive systems, which may cause them to stop working normally.
Routine stress may be the hardest type of stress to notice at first. Because the source of stress tends to be more constant than in cases of acute or traumatic stress, the body gets no clear signal to return to normal functioning. Over time, continued strain on your body from routine stress may contribute to serious health problems, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and other illnesses, as well as mental disorders like depression or anxiety.
There is so much advice out there when it comes to how to relax and de-stress, but I have found that these are my all time top favorite that work for me (yes, I do have some tough weeks!).
Cook & Eat a Great Dinner!
Go on Pinterest and find some recipes! Find something that you love or even something that your partner loves. Buy your ingredients, set aside some time, and start to cook! This is one of my daily de-stressors. I will admit, I was never considered a cook, my mum and brother are amazing at it but I just wasn’t into it. But then after finding a few receipe’s, I started to understand that satisfaction that my mum has when she cooks an amazing dinner. I kept on “pinning” and I was hooked (plus it makes my husband super happy!)…so try something new, pour a glass of wine, and cook!
Take Some Alone Time
Whether in the car or taking a bath, sometimes alone time is all you need to compress. I have a commute so sometimes I really just enjoy turning on Pop2K and rocking out to some old songs that I loved in College (lol!). If you don’t have a commute, a simple grocery store shop or Target run (alone!) can really help. Shopping isn’t always the answer, but make sure that you have some essential oils or bath salts and draw yourself a relaxing bath. Put the kids to bed, leave the husband on the couch and just have a moment to yourself. Drink wine and read a good book or make yourself a cup of tea to feel that full ‘spa-like’ experience!
Exercise Your Stress Away
I do not exercise. Well not very well. For me, exercise can come in all forms…mostly walking and yoga. Find what works for you. Even though I don’t enjoy exercise (just yet, but you may convince me), I do find peace in focusing on something without being able to think about the stress of my day. Yoga really helps me in this. What I really love about Yoga is that you can do it anywhere. You don’t have to pay for class, although it really does help at the beginning to learn good form, but you can find videos online, set up a space in your living room, and just relax. Word of advice, try to do it before you get home or after the kids go to bed if you plan on not going to class…interruptions are bound to happen if you do it while your kids are up. But find some time for you…something that will naturally make your body feel good but will help you focus your mind.
Reflect & Think about Simplification
Take some time to reflect on things that stress you out after you leave work. Do you put pressure on yourself to read and respond on Facebook? Do you put pressure on yourself to show that you are “happy” and “perfect” in an Instagram post? Sometimes it’s all too much. And the time that it takes can take away from truly authentic time with your family and friends. Try limiting your social media time to only one time or day or even only a few days a week. Tune into your family conversations at the dinner table or watch the evening news and lead a discussion at home. Simplify your life. Sell items at a garage sale (good extra cash to have!) or try a ‘no-spend weekend’ challenge!
Human Contact- It’s Cuddle Time
It’s difficult to find time to relax in today’s hectic world. Many even sacrifice their time for intimacy to work more hours. But intimacy with others is one of the essential elements to make human beings happier. Cuddling is one of the easiest ways experience the intimacy we need with our loved ones. Along with so many benefits, it’s definitely something that can’t be sacrificed. Cuddling is not just for women, men long to cuddle as much as women do. There are many surprising benefits of cuddling, it’s good for your body and soul. If you don’t have someone to cuddle in your life, cuddle your pet! When you cuddle, your body releases Oxytocin. Oxytocin is a hormone that does everything from making you feel good to helping you feel connected to others. The release of oxytocin, this feel-good hormone makes you feel like nothing can hurt you—which is an amazing benefit! It also increases hormones that help fight infection. Basically, you’re boosting your immune system because you’re feeling too good and healthy to get sick.
So, when was the last time you said you were stressed? Last week? Yesterday? A month or so ago? How about all of the time?
Honestly, I have to say my levels of stress run pretty high most of the time. It’s kind of an occupational hazard. The strange thing is that I doubt I’m alone. Stress has become a ubiquitous part of our world these days. We work longer hours than ever, we’re constantly connected to email or social media, financial uncertainty is everywhere and the world is, well, a little messy. So try using some of the strategies above to help you refresh and de-stress after a tough week at work. Let me know how they work in the comments!