Updated: May 18
Self-Care Tips for Stress Management
I know how life can feel like a lot to handle with a full-time job, young ones to take care of, relationships to maintain, and dreams to chase. It’s easy to get caught up in the busyness of life that you forget how to take care of yourself. The stress of it all can disrupt your balance and harmony.
Stress is a normal part of life – you experience it when things don’t go as you expect them to when you make mistakes when you’re running late, and in many other scenarios. However, if you don’t effectively manage the stress, it can become a threat to your well-being. The truth is that most of us lack the right coping skills to manage our stress. We move from one stressor to the next without really tuning in with ourselves so that we can cope in healthy ways.
As much as we can expect stress to happen to us, we should not normalize enduring it for the sake of keeping it together in life. Resilience is not built by your ability to endure stress but by how well you bounce back from it. In today’s hustle culture and people holding two to five jobs at a given time, stress can seem like the little price to pay for having a good life. But is it worth it in the end when you’ll be left struggling with a myriad of lifestyle diseases and poor mental health? You’re right, it’s not worth it.
Self-care is the antidote to stress. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t seek professional help if you’re dealing with chronic stress. The idea is to prevent normal stress from developing into anxiety or depression because it can easily get there if not properly managed. Self-care means intentionally adopting wellness habits that support your physical, mental, and emotional health.
Before choosing self-care habits, ask yourself the following questions:
Is it sustainable? Are you able to maintain these habits or do they require so much effort from you that you can’t keep doing them in the long run? Sustainability is about doing what you can and using what’s available to incorporate your self-care habits into your daily routine. For example; It’s unrealistic to go to the spa every day but it’s realistic and doable to have products that create an at-home-spa feeling.
Is it accessible or affordable? Self-care is not about how much money you can splash on relaxing experiences or how many products you can buy to sustain your self-care. Selfcare is about easy-to-do lifestyle choices that improve your well-being. Sometimes, you’ll need products but don’t break the bank trying to catch up with the latest self-care trends. It’s more important to stick to the basics of self-care; exercise, nutrition, hydration, and rest.
Is it manageable? How attainable are your self-care goals and are your habits in alignment with your goals? You don’t want to have self-care routines that demand so much from you that you get tired of doing them. For example, running may not be for you even if it’s a good exercise but if you force yourself to run, you’ll end up hating the idea of exercise because it will feel like punishment. You can try alternative cardio routines like dancing or walking which you enjoy and still get the work done.
“There is enough time for self-care. There is not enough time to make up for the life you’ll miss by not filling yourself up.” - Jennifer Williamson
Self-care habits to:
1. Recharge Your Body: Your body is prone to getting weary and in the worst-case scenario you could develop chronic fatigue from stress. Your body was meant to move and be nourished and here are ways you can do so:
Take deep breaths every few hours. Inhale and exhale slowly for a few minutes. This helps stimulates your parasympathetic nervous system which controls your rest and relaxation response. It helps you manage stress and decrease anxiety and fear.
Have a healthy relationship with food. Approach food from this perspective; Does this food nourish me or just fill me up? Nourishing foods are whole grains, healthy fats, water, minerals, supplements, fruits, and vegetables. Eat more fiber and anti-inflammatory foods.
Move by any means necessary. The enemy of your body is you sitting or lying down all day. Take a walk, dance, stretch, go to the gym, hike, etc. Don’t sit in one spot because a lack of movement is the fastest way to get lifestyle diseases.
2. Feed Your Mind
Journal your thoughts and feelings. Release the stress by writing. Journaling is a sustainable way to manage your emotions. The Gabby cares life planner has a wonderful journal section.
Listen, read, or watch positive videos, podcasts, or films. The information you consume can either accelerate your stress or give you hope to keep it ongoing. Use social media intentionally and follow pages that uplift you.
Meditate. This practice helps cultivate inner peace, build resilience, and relieve stress and anxiety. It can seem hard to do at first but once you get the hang of it, it becomes a go-to practice when you’re stressed. Click here to learn some techniques for beginners.
3. Brighten Up Your Soul. We all need a pick-me-up when we’re stressed. It’s about doing the small things that bring us the most joy. That looks different for everyone but you can try;
Watching your favorite shows – preferably ones that evoke your emotions. Some make you laugh out loud which might be what you need when stressed and others make you cry which can be a great way to release built-up emotions.
Practice gratitude. Make a list of all the things and people around you that you are genuinely thankful for. Gratitude evokes more pleasant emotions including the hope that things will get better.
Plug into your relationships. Call people who love you or spend time with them. Ask your spouse to affirm you or hug you. Relationships trigger the release of our happiness hormones that improve our wellbeing. Don’t isolate yourself when you’re. If you don’t have anyone to support you, Gabby Cares will support you with confidential help and therapy.
“Nourishing yourself in a way that helps you blossom in the direction you want to go is attainable, and you are worth the effort.” - Deborah Day