11 non traditional ways to be stress free!
By: Kristina Tsipouras, November 16, 2015
1. SAY NO: The easiest thing to do this holiday season that often translates into stress is, overbooking ourselves. Get comfortable with saying no. If your time was worth $500 an hour, would you choose your time more wisely? Act as if this is so, and it will help you prioritize your schedule. Pick one or two holiday parties to attend, not all seven that you were invited to. Instead take those free evenings and make them all about you. Allow your body to rest, snuggle on the couch and watch a holiday movie, cook a nice dinner, go to that hot yoga class you have been wanting to try, and get in bed early instead. You will be a better you for putting yourself and your time first, and this will translate into a less stressful holiday season.
2. LIFE INTERRUPT: This is one of my favorite de-stressors, and it works every time! If your stress level is high, your to-do list is overwhelming, take a moment to prioritize and tackle the top few things on your list. When you are finished, get away. Get away from your life, your head, literally go somewhere else. Take a road trip for the day to a town you have never been to. Or if your schedule allows, get out of town. Grab some friends, even for a night, rent a cheap hotel room and just get away from your day-to-day schedule. This shifts so much. When you return, you will have a fresh mind to re-organize and prioritize everything.
3. HANG OUT UPSIDE DOWN: The classic yoga headstand does wonders for the nervous system and your stress levels. We don't suggest that you try this on your own, however it is a great practice to learn. The practice I take is when feeling stressed and overwhelmed, I do a headstand (assisted by a wall) and focus on ten deep breaths. This always brings me down to a more calm and peaceful state of mind.
4. MAKE A SPA AT HOME: In the colder months, hot showers become soothing, cleansing and so much more than just jumping in and out to get ready for the day. They are the ultimate de-stressor if you allow them to be! Make extra time on your schedule to turn your shower into a cleansing ritual. A few things I love to do: Hang fresh eucalyptus on your shower-head. The natural extracts help open sinuses and are a natural stress reliever. I also love to take a dry face towel and exfoliate the entire body in an upward motion. Afterwards, take oil such as almond, and warm it up. Lather your entire body with the warm oil, let it sit for ten minutes and then jump into a warm shower. This is so rejuvenating and cleansing and will allow for a great nights sleep!
5. PRESENCE: Although meditation is an amazing de-stressing tool and practice, it is often hard to set aside the time or patience to successful reach a place of calmness to fully clear the mind. A simple and I think easier practice is called presence. Simply sit and look at something alive. A tree outside your window, your dog or cat, or even a person. With a soft gaze, do a mental head to toe check on how your body feels. Sit with the sensation of whatever you are feeling and offer it kindness. Focus on the word kindness and offering it to the parts of your body that need it most. Sit in this state for a minute or up to five, whatever your schedule allows. This will quickly take you to a place a calm and peace in the midst of a hectic day or situation.
6. HELP OTHERS: As soon as you leave your own problems and help someone else with theirs, your worries and priorities will shift. This will always put your life into perspective. Offer help to a local food pantry; help the older woman put her grocery bags into her car, or offer an extra hand at work to someone who would never expect it. These gestures will warm and open your heart immediately. The feeling it will bring you, will allow your own stress to fade away.
7. THE SWEATER DRESS: Pick 1-3 basic looks that are easy to dress up, dress down, accessorize, and simplify your wardrobe! I have this one black sweater dress from HNM. When I have no time in the morning to overthink my look, I always go for this basic. Each week, I simply add a new scarf, wear different boots, or style my hair differently. The classic go-to pieces in your wardrobe will never let you down and will help make a stressful day, a bit more manageable. Another tip is to dress for comfort. If that sweater or dress does not fit just so, or is not comfortable, don't buy it. Comfort is our best friend, especially in these cold winter months!
8. ADD SOME COLOR: It is so chic to go all greys and blacks in the winter months, but pops of colors like ruby red on your lips, nails, or even your weekly planner is believed to lift mood levels and lower stress. Go red for that next manicure!
9. POSITIVE LIST: If you aren't a fan of journaling, try this simplified version. Keep a journal on your nightstand. Every evening, get into the habit of writing down 3 things that you are grateful for. It can be as simple as, the beauty of Boston, or getting an extra hour of sleep. Every Sunday evening, read through your gratitude lists. Being grateful and allowing yourself to think and write about what you appreciate will not only shift your stress levels, this simple practice will shift your entire life.
10. WUNDERLIST: Wunderlist is a game changer. It is an app that allows you to create live to-do lists. You can add your roommate to the 'grocery list,' your co-worker to the 'project management' list, etc. When you complete an item it automatically syncs to your phone and computer. Write everything down that is on your mind, and organize it into lists. Tackling organization at home and at the office is the key to a less stressful environment and life.
11. SOULSHINE SUNDAY: When I asked friends and family what their biggest stressor was, the answer was almost always, "not being prepared for the week." Take Sundays back, and make them all about you! When you spend a day during the weekend to get organized for the week ahead, with cleaning, organizing, grocery shopping, running errands and cooking, you always set yourself up for a successful and more manageable week ahead. Leave more free time in your weekend schedule to be able to prepare for the week ahead!