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Tips for Reducing Stress and Strain

In this day and time, stress and strain are at an all-time high. Most Americans work too much and sleep too little. Sick days are just as often taken just to recover from fatigue as they are to take your little one in for an ear infection or flu. With longer hours for work, high paced scheduled, fast food, dysfunctional relationships, and less time for introspective thought, it’s no wonder many of us feel stressed out, burned out, and at times, on the verge of a nervous breakdown.

Although many of us can’t imagine a solution to these common problems, these simple suggestions may help:

Schedule 1 hour per week to do something for yourself. Many of us say, “I don’t have a spare hour per week…”. Don’t you find a way to make an extra run for your best friend, or bake a cake for your churches potluck dinner? Then surely, you can MAKE time for your own personal sanity, your body’s recovery, and peace of mind. In this hour, there are several things you can do for you. DON’T answer your cell phone, brew some herbal tea, take a bubble bath, read a self help book, enjoy a therapeutic massage.

Learn to say NO. A large reason for our “stop and go” lifestyle is that we over-obligate ourselves. Remember the old adage don’t bite off more than you can chew? How many people actually live by that? The truth is, there are only 24 hours in a day, and even though you may think you’re Superman or Superwoman, you cannot stop time or fly at the speed of light. Everything you commit to doing takes a given amount of time, and when you commit to doing more than you should, you will feel rushed, frustrated, and overwhelmed. In addition, you’ll find yourself arriving late to your obligations, apologizing for your tardiness, and feeling unorganized. Where’s your reward in that? Give yourself a break. If you don’t know how to say no when people ask you to do more than you have time to, try these starter phrases. “I’m sorry, I would really like to help, but the truth is, I have already spread myself too thin.” or “Thanks so much for wanting to involve me in that activity, but I’ve already committed to being somewhere else.” Saying no can be really easy if you accept that you are only one person and you cannot do everything.

Don’t “need to be needed”. You know that warm and fuzzy feeling you get inside when you do something nice for someone. It’s great isn’t it? It can also be addictive. When you take on needless, yet overwhelming obligations just so you can get that high from helping, you are really ignoring your own need for rest and recuperation. Find ways to give yourself that high by doing something positive for you…

Meditation, prayer, and just silent time alone are all ways that you can make/take time for self. This is a beginning step toward a happier, healthier, less stressed you!