Are you constantly under stress or continuously on the go? Many health experts say that acute or chronic stress is usually a precursor for autoimmune diseases, cancer, and other diseases. I have been struggling with a very painful and itchy psoriasis (psoriasis is an auto-immune disorder) flare on my hands for more than a couple of months now. This has forced me to slow down and find ways to alleviate some stress in my life. In addition to prayer, reading the Bible and spending time with loved ones, I started doing a few other things to alleviate stress.
I am trying not to be in a hurry all the time.
I started taking five deep belly breaths when I am anxious about my to-do list. This automatically forces my body to calm down. Also, I recently noticed that I am always rushing around everywhere. I came to the realization that it is not okay for me to constantly tell my daughter to hurry up, just so that I can save one more minute in an effort to feel a tad more productive at the end of the day. She takes time to enjoy life and I never want her to lose that!
I started to diffuse essential oils more often.
Essential oils help me to sleep better and they help me to relax. Even when I cannot get my seven hours of sleep, essential oils help me to feel more rested and energetic throughout the day. If you haven’t tried essential oils yet, you don’t know what you’re missing!
I started to schedule joy into my daily routine.
I started watching episodes of I Love Lucy with my daughter. Laughing out loud helps my body to relax and calm down. I am also trying to get outside everyday while the weather is still warm. It’s relaxing to breathe in the fresh air, gaze at the green leaves on the trees, and feel the warm sunshine on my skin.
I started making sleep more of a priority.
I was listening to a podcast of a popular personal development coach who said, put in extra time to meet your goals, even if it means that you lose an hour of sleep. I respect this personal development coach, but I don’t really recommend this for anyone unless it is for a short period of time. Sleeping allows our body to recover from the stress of the day. If we skip sleep, we might get more done in the short-term, but eventually we will crash—either emotionally or physically. I aim for at least seven hours per night and nap when I can. This is difficult with three small kids, but I try my best.
I started asking for more help.
In the past, I was hesitant to ask my husband to help more with the kids because I know that he works hard and is already under stress. The inflammation in my hands has forced me to ask for more help. I know that we will have to continue to tweak our weekly routine so that we can both find time to rest. Sometimes we need to ask for help from additional people as well.
I started doing yoga again and I started to work-out as much as I can.
One of my hairstylists is a lean, muscular yoga fanatic that studied yoga in India. In his own words, if he could use one word to describe why he loves yoga, he would use the word Efficiency. Yoga can build muscle and flexibility; it can help the body heal itself; and it can help with managing emotional stress. During my last pregnancy, prenatal yoga was one of the few things that helped to alleviate my crippling morning sickness. When I do yoga now, I can tell that it helps me with my stress and my psoriasis because it is good for my circulation and helps to decrease inflammation.
I was having a conversation with a co-worker about my self-induced (I say self-induced because I cause myself a lot of stress by rushing around like a chicken with my head cut off!) stress and we started talking about yoga. She said that she didn’t have time for yoga.
Friend, you might not have time for yoga, but you need to make time for something—you need to find some way to de-stress. Look at it this way. Imagine that your kidneys were failing and the only way that you could live was to have hemodialysis three times per week. That would take you about 12 hours per week, not including the time it would take you to commute to the treatment center. Would you find an extra 12 hours in your week so that you could stay alive?
I hope that you would put in that time. And if you could somehow find 12 hours in a week to save your life, you can surely find a small amount of time every week to manage your stress level—I will be so bold as to say that managing your stress level might be the thing that saves your life. So, I give you permission to TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF. If you don’t want to do it for yourself, consider these five reasons.
Five Benefits of Lowering Your Stress Level
- You will save time because you won’t have to spend as much time in recovery from being sick.
- You will save money because you won’t have to spend as much money on expensive health treatments.
- You will be more productive because your brain and body will be working better.
- You might enjoy life more because you will have less stress and be less sick.
- You will be able to serve your spouse, your kids, your elderly parents, your friends, your pets, and/or your co-workers better.
And, think about it—relieving stress is enjoyable! If you don’t like yoga, pick something else. Go to a massage therapist, go watch a funny movie, have coffee with a best friend, take a bubble bath, or go for a walk. Just find what you love to do. Don’t wait until you get to where I am—don’t wait ’til you can’t wash the dishes, cook, or take care of your kids without constant burning, stabbing pain on your hands and an intolerable itch that wakes you up at night. Don’t deprive your body of the rest it needs. Start taking better care of your body today so that you won’t have to worry about more serious ailments tomorrow!
I need more tips on stress management. What’s your favorite way to relieve stress?