The word ‘stress’ seems like such a vague concept. Isn’t it just something everyone feels when they have a lot going on? Technically, yes, but it’s much deeper than that. The Oxford dictionary defines stress as “a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or demanding circumstances.” Science has proven that stress has many negative effects on both the mind and the body, the way you think, as well as the way you behave. In fact, stress is often said to be a trigger for many autoimmune diseases. To me, this makes perfect sense, as my psoriatic arthritis symptoms emerged during the most stressful time of my life: studying for the Bar exam. Although there is not yet strong evidence that stress can cause cancer, it has also been linked to how fast cancer progresses. (My mom went through breast cancer in 2012, so she has done lots of research on this!)
I have within the last couple of years realized how truly important it is to reduce stress in your life. It makes life easier (and more enjoyable) for you and for those around you! In case you struggle with how to do this, here are some ideas. Hopefully there are some new suggestions you may not have thought of before.
6 WAYS TO REDUCE STRESS IN YOUR EVERYDAY LIFE
- Laugh. Here’s some more science for ya: laughter can reduce the physical effects of stress on your body. Some of my favorite ways to laugh: watching Modern Family, going to Zanies (or other comedy clubs), and watching YouTube videos of babies doing adorable things. Oh, and sibling and siblings-in-law group texts. My family is hilarious.
- Sleep more, and sleep better! This one is arguably the most important, but also probably the most overlooked. To help with better quality of sleep, I use a sound machine for white noise and essential oils. There are lots of great oils for sleep and relaxation, but my favorites are lavender and Stress Away (I put them in my diffuser and on the bottoms of my feet).
- Just say no. As we all know, it’s easy to feel like you have to do EVERYTHING. You want to go to every event, do favors for everyone who asks, and cross off every task on your to-do list. When you wear yourself too thin, you aren’t giving any of these things the time and attention they deserve. Sometimes, it’s okay to just say no and take time for yourself. Maybe you need to regroup and take a Netflix night, just you and your spouse, instead of going to the concert or organizing your closet. People will survive and the event will go on without you, even if it doesn’t seem like it sometimes.
- Get a pet. My preference here is a dog (because my Jackson has been so perfect for me), but I guess if you’re a cat person, that could work too. 😉 It is a fact: dogs and cats reduce stress. They love you unconditionally, and will get lose-their-mind-excited to see you, even if you just went to the mailbox. Plus, they are so fun to cuddle with. Pets don’t ask for much, but give you so much in return. There are so many sweet dogs who need families. Go getcha one!
- Take a bath. Baths aren’t for everyone, but if you haven’t taken one since you were a kid, try it! Get yourself a Lush bath bomb (I’m such a fan!) or a bottle of bubble bath, a candle, and your favorite book, and let Calgon take you away.
- Focus on others. When we dwell on our problems and all the things we have going on, we often forget about everyone else around us going through their own things, many times even worse than ours. Take the time to do something for someone else, and you might just forget about your problems for a little bit. Perspective can be very helpful to remind us what’s truly important.