What’s your BEST tool or practice for relieving stress?
I was compelled to throw up the above question on Facebook recently…
I should have figured that stress relief would be a hot topic right now…
but wowsers, that post got soooo many comments!
What emerged for me was a really interesting discussion in my community, along with a potent remembering for me personally…
You see, my friend, if we’re gonna talk about stress relief, we actually need to look at two places.
- REMEDIES FOR RELIEF
The post was filled with many different and marvelous ideas, suggestions and solutions for stress relief.
From pranayama to saunas to painting to gardening to neural mindset techniques I’ve never heard of and beyond!
And there was a really wonderful post from my friend Annie, who said,
“Looking at the root problems that cause stress in my life and restructuring…
Basically checking in with myself to make sure I’m not just using stress relief tools as a bandaid.”
Annie’s comment really lit me up, because she hit on something so essential in this everyday topic that some of us (myself included) can easily overlook.
We can use all the fancy stress relief tricks in the world…
But if we’re not shifting our LIFESTYLE to minimize stress in the first place…
Our PATTERNS, and
Then all those methods are just bandaids, which will inevitably peel away in several days time.
So how to actually PREVENT stress?
Well my love, I am sitting with this, and I take a stand for the fact it can be done!
Truth: our society is a stressful place to be right now if you’re tuning in and staying educated and informed to any degree.
AND, what we can shift into is a healthy relationship with balance in our lives.
If we make staying in balance our top priority, then even when $h!t hits the fan, we have a sense of stability to stand upon.
Here are 3 ways to find more balance (+ prevent stress) in these unprecedented times:
1) Practice firm, healthy, no-shit no-kidding boundaries with your devices + media.
If there is one thing that throws off my well being, it’s too much screen time, or too much exposure to the news. I’m not advocating in any way that you tune out. But I am advocating that you have device curfews and boundaries around when and where you allow yourself to engage in social media, news, and devices.
A few examples:
– No screens or news before 11am or after 7pm.
– No screens or media in bed at all
(for my lovers out there, I just heard Esther Perel say that screens in bed are “anti-erotic”)
– Only check social media or read/listen to news in specific windows during the day (1-3pm, 4-5pm, etc)
2) Know the root of your personal stress triggers, and dig your hands into the dirt.
We all respond to stress differently. What stresses you out might not affect me at all, and vise versa.
This step requires us to KNOW ourselves and then take full responsibility for where stress gets the best of us. Once you know, then you can take action.
A few examples:
– If MONEY is a source of your stress: read a book and educate yourself (I like this one), hire a bookkeeper (Bench is amazing), start a weekly money date with yourself, or start a side-hustle.
– If SOCIAL JUSTICE is a source of your stress: read a book and educate yourself, take a course, get more information, get on mailing lists, take action, and good gracious, please revisit #1 so it doesn’t consume your entire psyche.
– If HOME/FAMILY/RELATIONSHIPS are a source of your stress: find a therapist you love, seek advice from someone you trust, hire a coach or mentor, read a book, take a course.
You get the idea!
3) Have a daily practice that is NON-NEGOTIABLE.
Many people think about self-care as pampering or spa days.
Sure, it can include those things on a sporadic basis.
But the foundation of true self-care is consistency and devotion in just a few things you know keep you grounded yet inspired.
Make it easy enough you can do it even when you go on vacation, have a friend visiting, or have something unexpected come up.
Consider having 3 versions (5 min, 15 min, 60 min) so you can always fit something in.
My top recommendation:
Have a morning practice with 3 elements.
A trinity of tools that are always the same, and then you can add bells and whistles as you like… but those 3 remain constant.
My Go-To Trinity:
– A quart of warm water first thing
– Pranayama or breath exercises
So, dear one,
Is that helpful?
Which, if any of those, would you like to implement?
Go ahead and hit reply if you want to let me know your plan– that way, I can join your cheerleading squad and help hold you accountable to your most balanced, stress-free Self.
And hey, if you have any other specific questions related to stress, please send them my way!
I’m always here and listening, and ready to serve up a soup of wellness wisdom.
In support of your resilience and balance,