Managing Stress in the New Year
A new year often means resolutions, new goals and changes in lifestyle. From getting to the gym more often to eating more vegetables, we look at ways to improve ourselves and our habits this time of year. We get back into our routines with work and social activities. School is in full swing for students. The tasks, chores, obligations and commitments start to pile on.
Before we know it, we are starting the new year with more stress than before! Below we explore simple and effective tools to manage stress. Using them can help us stay accountable to our goals and be productive in our new projects without feeling the burnout. Stress management puts us and our health as a top priority.
Create Lists and Reminders
Time management and prioritizing are key elements to stress management. We find ourselves busier than ever before. The constant demand for our time and attention can be draining and stressful. Our schedules become so packed that we start to forget about appointments, important dates and more. Luckily we can make the most of our technology (or a pen and paper) to set ourselves reminders and to create lists. Here are a few tips to improve your to-do lists and make your reminders more helpful, all without feeling completely overwhelmed:
- Create a done list. By taking the time to write down our “dones”, we gain the same rush of satisfaction that comes with crossing a task off a to-do list. This can motivate us to be productive and to continue getting things done.
- Use location-based reminders. These reminders use our phone’s GPS to notify us about things we need to do at that location. Such as a reminder grocery list when we arrive at the grocery store.
- Set a pseudo due date if a real due date doesn’t exist. Sometimes we are working on a project that has to be completed in the next several weeks. Not having the pressure of an actual due date can make putting off the project easy to do. Instead of avoiding it, set a pseudo due date so that it gets done without the last-minute stress.
Almost any form of exercise, from a spin class to yoga, can be a stress reliever. Exercise increases our overall health and our sense of well-being. It is most effective when it is included in our everyday life. That doesn’t mean that we have to be at the gym 7 days a week. We can easily include some form of movement into our daily routine. For example, a walk at lunch, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, start the day with a simple low impact movement routine. The stress-busting benefits of exercise include an endorphin rush, increased energy, better sleep, improved mood, and so much more.
Get Enough Sleep
Not getting enough sleep can be both a cause and an effect of stress. Stress can keep us up at night leading to decreased productivity and increased reactive stress throughout the day. Managing our stress can help us sleep better. Getting enough sleep can help us manage stress. Good sleep hygiene is at the root of getting enough sleep.
Sleep hygiene is essentially a set of habits that we include throughout the day that can improve our sleep health. Good sleep hygiene includes:
- Going to bed at a consistent time each night and getting up at the same time each morning.
- Creating a bedroom environment that is quiet, dark, relaxing and comfortable. Removing electronics and bright lights from the bedroom as well.
- Avoiding large meals, caffeine and alcohol before bed.
- Exercising regularly. Being physically active during the day can help us fall asleep more easily at night.
So this year, make sleep hygiene, quality and quantity a priority.
Introduce Breathing Exercises or Meditation
According to the Health Science Journal, belly breathing (or deep breathing) has been shown to reset the nervous system. Studies have shown a decrease in fatigue and anxiety with deep breathing exercises. Recommendations for effective belly breathing are 5 minutes, 3-4 times per day.
Mindfulness meditation is a common technique used to combat stress, anxiety, chronic pain, depression and headaches. Check out these helpful tips to add mindfulness to your routine.
Another great stress management tool is to take regular care of your musculoskeletal system. Our team of chiropractors, massage therapists and physiotherapists at CURAVITA can help you manage headaches, upper back tension, low back pain and so much more. For relief, relaxation and overall wellness call the CURAVITA Health Group today to book your next appointment.