BY SUSAN B. B. SCHABACKER
Busy lifestyles and miles-long to-do lists? It’s easy to get overwhelmed and overstressed. Even for the even-keeled, anxiety can attack us. And it doesn’t just affect the way we feel, but it also affects our mental and physical health, crippling confidence, and stagnating growth.
Stress-induced anxiety can keep us at bay from living our best lives. So, enough of the bad stuff. Even with the busiest lifestyles, we can overcome this.
POWER OF POSITIVITY
RECONSIDER YOUR OUTLOOK – Stay positive. When you look in the mirror, look past what you or others view as flaws. Make a habit of saying “I love you” to yourself and your loved ones, even when you feel unloving, unloved, or unlovable. Let love lift your spirits.
REFLECTION, PRAYER AND MEDITATION – Studies show that prayer and meditation are not just spiritual practices but also yield health benefits, helping us cope with stress and anxiety and even promoting longevity. Taking just 15-30 minutes a day to pray and/or meditate can make a powerfully positive difference. Relax your body, quiet your mind, turn to your higher power, focus inwardly, and reflect on how you feel. Whether written reflections, recorded audio, or focusing inwardly, get in touch with who you really are and how you really feel. Check into that place of calm with this intrinsic vacation, a much-needed break from your daily duties. Embrace opportunities to experience peace of mind. And try out apps that encourage prayer and meditation.
CLEANING, DE-CLUTTERING, AND ORGANIZING – Spring green cleaning with non-toxic, natural products (also DIY) can give you the reprieve you need with a cleaner (and healthier) environment. Open windows for fresh air, decorate with plants for better breathability and spray your room (and yourself) with a combo of distilled water and essential oils. Before cleaning, de-clutter and organize. The more you can manage your environment, the better you’ll be and feel in it. However sentimental about stuff, it’s an ideal time to part with some of it. Be selective about what you keep around. Rethink what you need versus what you want and find the right place for it, whether in a storage bin, another room, another person’s life, or the trash bin. Don’t overdo it, cleaning to an extreme, but maintain your environment. You’ll be healthier and happier, making your space more breathable and livable.
DIET, SUPPLEMENTS, SLEEP, EXERCISE, AND BODY CONDITIONING – Opt for healthy foods and beverages, keep hydrated, take vitamins and supplements, get enough sleep, actively exercise, and body condition (e.g., yoga, Pilates, and tai chi) for healthier living. Improve your health and resiliency in dealing with stress and anxiety.
PLANNING WITH PRIORITIES – What’s a building without a blueprint? What’s a business without a business plan? What would our bodies be like without bone structures? Without a framework and a solid foundation to build on, we lack stability. So, get a game plan and figure out your priorities before you check things off your list. Do what’s most important and urgent first and foremost. What would a garden be like if we didn’t do any weeding? Narrow down your list to avoid getting overwhelmed. Less is sometimes more. Allow yourself to say “no.” What do you already have going? Consider this before adding other items to your list. Also, allow yourself to gather support. We all need help sometimes, so recognize when you do need help, and don’t be reluctant to ask friends, mates, or professionals for insight about planning and priorities.
DEEP BREATHING, RELAXATION, AND MASSAGE – Often, we forget the importance of breath and tend to breathe more shallowly. Simply taking deeper breaths from our diaphragm can improve our health, lower blood pressure and cortisol levels that rise during “fight or flight” in response to stress, calm our anxieties, and even help us live longer.
Other creative ways to reduce stress and alleviate anxiety might include laughing with loved ones, getting creative with visual and/or performing arts, and/or embracing our ears with music. Don’t overlook pet therapy and reconnecting with nature. Try walking or jogging and relaxing afterward with a calming cuppa tea.
Embrace these stress-busting and anxiety-relieving tips to breathe easier, get healthier, and live better!