Health + Wellness, Lifestyle

Listen to Your Body + 8 Ways to Reduce Stress

November 3, 2014
ways to reduce stress

My sleep was interrupted by squiggly, flashing bursts of light, slowly growing in intensity. I managed to fall back to sleep until about 7am when my pounding head demanded attention. I took some medicine and drank coffee (usually helps the medicine kick in faster). Then I made a huge mistake. I got ready for a day of errands and went on my way, despite a protesting head. By the time I got to Destin, about 45 minutes away, the flashing aura was back and my head was going into migraine-round-2.

Generally when I get a migraine I need to hibernate in a dark, quiet room for a minimum of 4 hours. I’ve been getting them since I was about 8, and I get the aura that lets me know one is coming, so I should know to listen to my body by now. A lot of my migraines are caused by stress, not eating enough, not sleeping enough, overwhelming my senses (perfume, bright fluorescent lights), etc. I’ve been doing so much better lately, but this was my body’s plea for a break.

Listen to your body. Physical symptoms like headaches, muscle aches, changes in sleep, changes in digestion, lack of energy and changes in appetite are just a few of the more obvious signs that your body is trying to communicate that something is wrong. Something needs attention.

So, here are some of my plans for managing my stress.

8 Stress Reducing Ideas
  • 10 minutes of meditation per day
    • I’ve been reading up on meditation a lot lately and am fascinated by its ability to change your body on a cellular level. I downloaded the app Headspace to help me get started but plan to try a few others before spending money. (Headspace has a free 10 day beginners intro that I’ve really enjoyed it so far.)
  • Keep a gratitude journal
    • I am a big fan of gratitude journals. These have also been proven to help with stress and joyfulness. I plan to keep it simple by writing 3-5 things I’m grateful for at the end of each day.
  • Construct better boundaries around work time
    • It can be challenging to set boundaries (for myself and for clients) since I work from home. The next few months will be super busy, so I plan to stop working no later than 7pm each night and reserve weekends for myself. This is also challenging because I’m supporting two people and building my business, but the goal is to relax and clear my mind so I can be more efficient during work hours.
  • Saturday digital detoxes
    • Eventually I’d love to have the whole weekend be free of my smart phone, but for now I’ll try for most Saturdays. (I’m writing this on a Saturday…so…this one will take some work!)
  • Increase yoga and exercise
    • For me, this includes all movement, such as long daily walks outside, strength training and yoga.
  • Focus on quality sleep
    • I’ll be removing my cell phone and any other electronics from the bedroom (except for my Kindle, but that doesn’t count, right?).
  • Limit sugar and caffeine
    • Both are known to aggravate anxiety and stress.
  • Utilize herbs and essential oils
    • I love this Yogi Stress Relief Tea and Dr. Teal’s Chamomile epsom salt. I also have lavender essential oil and body lotion.

I’m listing these as ideas rather than a concrete plan because I need to work with my body to figure out what it needs. Adding another to-do list won’t be helpful.

What signs does your body give you when you need to slow down? What are your go-to stress relievers?

 

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