Being Intentional About Unloading Stress

If you’re human then you’ve experienced stress. Stress can come from all sorts of different areas of life: from work, from home, and everything else that we find ourselves doing. We’ve all experienced it and sometimes too much stress can build up. On the other hand, I believe stress in a small amount can actually be a good thing. I think of when I feel challenged at work or when I’m working out at the gym there is a mild level of stress there. However, too much stress for too long can bog us down and depleted the happiness from our lives. From my experience when stress and burnout hit at the same time that’s when I feel the most defeated and this is obviously something that should be avoided.

We can’t always control the things that happen at work or in our personal lives and therefore stress is something that we’re going to encounter. The good thing is that we can control how we diffuse stress and if we do this we can avoid the negative impact from stress and use small healthy amounts of stress to our benefit as a way to keep us motivated and engaged in different areas of life.

Here’s 5 ways of letting go of stress.

One way to be intentional about reducing stress is making time for yourself. I know that you parents out there with young kids are saying “Yeah, right, time to myself, huh? What’s that?” But even just taking 15 minutes to have to yourself in the middle of a busy day can be extremely helpful. This could be some quiet time to read a book, mediate, or just sip some hot coffee on a Saturday morning. For me, I like my quiet time. I’m totally an introvert and being around a lot of people makes me feel stressed. After being around a lot of people I enjoy just being alone and having some quiet time to myself. The same is true for me at work. On my lunch break I enjoy finding a quiet place to be by myself. I have found that more and more when I’m driving by myself I turn the radio off and just drive in silence and focus on relaxing and letting go of the stress.

Another way to reduce stress is to hit the gym. There’s something about going to the gym and getting a good sweat on that feels good and helps reduce stress. I’ve read and heard from several people that exercising releases endorphins which are chemicals that are naturally produced by your body that help you to feel good. Also, exercising on a regular basis can increase your metabolism which can help you to feel like you have more energy to conquer the challenges that you face day to day. This will help you to feel ready to tackle the things that you would normally dread. Having a better attitude because you have more energy can help you to feel more confident and less stressed.

Another great way to relive stress is prayer. Sometimes we don’t always have someone to talk to about the stressful things that are going on in our life, or sometimes we don’t want to burden the ones that we do have to talk to with all of our own stresses. The great thing about prayer is God always has time to listen to us. He’s always there willing to take the burdens from our lives. Asking God to help you through that hurdle that you’re facing can help you to let go of the stress by realizing He is for you and with you every step of the way.

Eating right can help you deduce stress . When I’m stressed it’s easy to eat junk food as a quick treat that temporarily makes me feel good. I get a huge smile on my face when I think of stuffing my face with a bunch of glazed donuts. But junk food is only a temporary fix that has really bad side effects. Eating junk food is bad for our health and the longer-term effects are just going to make you feel sluggish. As I’ve learned in the past all those donuts might be tasty right when you eat them but the upset stomach and the energy crash they cause you will only bring you dissatisfaction. Also, drinking lots of water can help us to avoid dehydration. For me, a lack of water means that my mind isn’t as clear as when I’m fully hydrated and eating clean. Also, try to eat on a regular basis. We’ve often heard of the word “hangry” which is a combination of the word hungry and angry. Some of us get upset when we don’t eat and this can add to our level of stress.

The final tip for reducing stress is to get good sleep. We’ve all been sleep deprived at some point where it feels like we’re running on fumes, our body feels like it’s dragging, and our mind seems foggy at best. Sleep can make a huge difference on our energy levels and how we react to stress. To get a good nights rest try to go to bed and wake up at consistent times. For me, if I stay up way too late, like on a weekend night, it takes me at least a couple days to get back into my sleep rhythm. When I get out of my sleep rhythm, from either over sleeping or under sleeping, I start to feel sleepy and groggy and it’s hard to be productive when I feel this way. So, try to keep your sleeping times consistent. Also, avoid caffeine late in the day. I found that when I stopped drinking caffeine after 1pm I was getting better sleep and feeling more rested.

In summary, a little stress is good but too much stress can really take a toll on your life. Be intentional about reducing stress in your life if you want avoid hitting the “red zone”. Believe me, reducing stress in your life will bring more happiness to yourself and those around you. So remember, take some time for yourself, get some exercise, make some time for prayer, eat right, drink enough water, and get some good sleep. If you do these things you’ll be able to fire on all cylinders and tackle whatever the day throws your way.