Don’t lose touch… Maintaining your ties with close friends and family, even if it seems like the last thing you can fit into your life, has been shown to alleviate stress. Strong emotional support is one of the best stress antidotes around.
Don’t be a drama queen… Give yourself a little talking to when that voice in your head gets a little shrill and hysterical. Not every problem is a catastrophe. Think ahead a few days, weeks or months and ask yourself how much today’s dilemma will matter then. Maintain a sense of humor.
Clean up!… Clutter and mess can load on the stress incrementally. Tidy up your desk, throw out those old magazines you’ve been keeping, give away the clothes you don’t wear, streamline your life. Making lists of things you need to take care of rather than carrying it all in your head will help ease the pain too.
Let off a little steam… Don’t overload on anxiety. Write down all the little things that are adding up to your huge, palpitating panic attack and then rip up the paper. Sometimes just identifying all the small stuff helps alleviate the pressure.
Schedule yourself a break…You have to plan for free time, as counter-intuitive as that may sound in an already overscheduled world. But if you don’t write it in your date book just as you would a meeting or a doctor’s appointment, you’ll never take the time you need.
Breathe… Okay, we know that sounds obvious, but there’s really something to it. When you breathe slowly and deeply, the flow of oxygen into your blood is maximized and the result is a heightened sense of calm.
Feed your senses… The colors, sounds and scents you surround yourself with can make or break you. Pastels can have a calming effect and blues and greens promote relaxation. As for music, inside you may be having a Maalox and Metallica moment, but if you listen to soothing classical music like Mozart, you’ll definitely feel better faster. And light a candle or spray a little fragrance. Lavender, orange and sandalwood have been shown to take the edge off stress.
Just a little exercise… You know, you know. You should be getting to the gym more often. But trust us, a little goes a long way. Don’t be overly ambitious. Three hours a week of moderate activity like yoga or running does a lot for you. And if that seems like too much to ask, even just one hour of exercise a week has been shown to work wonders as well.
Put down those doughnuts!… Keeping your blood sugar balanced will really help you steel yourself against the detrimental effects of stress. Eating balanced meals that include a good dose of protein from chicken, fish or red meat will increase energy and lower anxiety.