20 Tips for Beating Stress

The last few years have been challenging to say the least, and stress has accumulated for most of us. Whether you have been job searching, working through COVID-19, laid off work or are retired, now, more than ever, it’s time for some self-care.

Here are 20 different ways to help reduce stress:

YOUR ENVIRONMENT: What’s around you, what you see, smell, hear, touch and taste affect how you feel. What makes you drop your shoulders and say, “Ahhhh”? Look for ways to bring beauty to your environment:
1. Create coziness with warm lights
2. Declutter your main living area

YOUR THINKING: How you think about events and information determines your emotional reactions, so dwelling on problems, thinking of the worst-case scenarios, and beating yourself up over mistakes will all increase your levels of stress. On the other hand, allowing yourself to make mistakes and move on, focusing on the best possible outcome will reduce your stress load. Here are some strategies:
3. Meditate on positive words
4. Appreciate the small gifts in the everyday – a beautiful sunset, a sunny day …

YOUR CREATIVITY: Creativity is a great way to channel stress into beauty. Use the arts to relax and process your challenges at the same time. Product is not as important as process. Give these a try:
5. Take an online Painting/Drawing class
6. Learn to Knit/Crochet/Needlework

YOUR PHYSICAL BODY: Often, you will feel stress in your body through tight muscles, nervous movement, and stiffness. To reduce stress, move your body through stretching, aerobic exercise, or rhythmic motion and create better sleep habits. Care for your body by making healthy nutritional decisions. Try the following to reduce stress physically:
7. Create a stretching routine
8. Go to bed earlier

YOUR HUMOUR: Laughter diffuses tension and lowers blood pressure. Try these to chuckle away your stress:
9. Watch a good comedy on Netflix
10. Reminisce with an old pal about fun times you had together

YOUR SPIRITUALITY: We are holistic beings, and the spiritual part of us can help soothe stress too. Try these spiritual strategies as a preventative measure for stress:
11. Meditate
12. Practice gratefulness

MANAGING YOUR LIFE: Some stress is created or increased because of procrastination, disorganization, and inattention to details. By managing time, money, plans, and clutter, you can make a difference in how you feel in as little as 15 minutes. Some management strategies are:
13. Say “no” to too many commitments in your day
14. Set goals for the new year

YOUR RELATIONSHIPS: As long as we interact with people, we will have relational stress. This is even more important in relationships that are meaningful to us. But, just as relationships may create stress, they are also a source for reducing stress. Try these relational strategies to decrease stress:
15. Be kindly assertive
16. Make an extra effort to reach out to friends and family
17. Forgive a hurt

GETTING OUTDOORS: Being outside can adjust our attitude by giving us a new perspective. No matter what the weather or temperature, dress appropriately and enjoy some fresh air for a quick or leisurely stress reliever. Some outdoor strategies that might be helpful are:
18. Star or cloud gaze
19. Take a stroll after dinner
20. Take a walk in the forest (forest-bath!) or by the ocean

References – Seaward, B. L. (2006). Managing stress: Principles and strategies for health and wellbeing (5th ed.). Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett Publishers.

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