We’re no strangers to chronic stress over here at We Get To Know. We’ve dealt with our fair share of military life, autoimmune diseases, side hustles, children with special needs, anxiety, family members with cancer diagnoses etc. It goes to show that one thing is sure in this life: we all experience stress and anxiety in varying degrees during our time on this planet. We’re in this together so below are some of our tried and true methods that continue to help us combat the devastating effects of chronic stress. None of these are new ideas but sometimes it helps to remind ourselves of ways to up our self-care routines.
This is a favorite of ours because it can be done right in the thick of it. You don’t have to wait until the kids are down or the stress has past, take a deep breath on the spot. A simple practice to calm yourself down is to consciously slow the breath to about five to seven breaths per minute which looks like inhaling for a count of four, then exhaling for a count of four. Another great tool we love is the Calm App. It provides fantastic guided mediation, stretching, and sleep stories to help you gently fall asleep.
Lack of sleep ups stress hormones in our bodies. It also interferes with immune function, mental health, and your metabolism. It’s that simple. Problem is that when you’re under stress, it’s more difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep. We aren’t experts but we know from experience that taking your bedtime routine seriously and prioritizing sleep is absolutely key to stress management.
I think we’re all aware of the incredible benefits of exercise. It’s a well-studied way to burn off stress chemicals and heal the mind. It’s powerful, rejuvenating, and one of the greatest things you can do to combat anxiety and stress so let’s get moving. Try yoga, running, dancing, interval training, or foam rolling.
There’s great value in taking time out to ask for help, vent, laugh, or simply just be with your closest friends and family. They know you best, love you, and can offer support and perspective. We live in a time where family and community ties are weaker than they once were. We were made for relationship so don’t wait until you’re over the edge to call on your people; odds are they will feel privileged to help.
Stretching is another well-researched effective strategy to aid in the relief of stress. It lengthens your muscles and relieves tension. Here is a great article from GOOP on yoga stretching for stress relief.
Let’s not underestimate the power of unplugging, getting some fresh, air and walking off our frustrations. Sometimes just taking time out to walk around the block can de-stress and reset your mind and body for a moment. While walking, work on deep breathing to calm the mind.
Cleaning up your diet can do wonders to reduce the impacts of stress. Eating whole, real foods restores balance to your hormones. Studies show that an anti-inflammatory diet can do wonders to improve mental health and on a personal note, completing a Whole30 greatly helped our ability to manage stress. Visit this post for our Favorite Whole30 recipes.
There are some powerful supplements out there with strong stress-reducing properties. Some examples are Melatonin, Magnesium, Vitamin B-Complex, Omega 3s, Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid etc. This is an area worth researching and talking to your doctor about; sometimes a simple vitamin D supplement can have fast acting and lasting benefits.
These can include getting a massage, taking a relaxing bath, infusing your space with essential oils, listening to music, impromptu dance parties, etc. All are great helps to relax the mind and soul. We can’t tell you how many times a family dance party, right in the middle of tears, has changed the course of an evening.
It’s a bit of a mind-flip to realize that stress is a thought and a perception of a threat. Stress is not something that happens to us but something that happens within us. Sometimes simply realizing this helps put the power back in our hands. Reframing your point of view can be powerful. Here are some ideas to accomplish this: keep a gratitude journal, read about someone else’s struggle to help shine light on your own, sign up to help a person in need, or challenge your beliefs and responses to triggers to see where you can grow in grit.
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