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Stress Less

I am far from perfect. There are many things that I need to work on in life. I will spare you from the laundry list for now (we’re all a work in progress, right?) but one I want to touch on today is stressing less. Or more specifically – stressing smarter. This kind of covers two ends of the stress spectrum…

  1. Dealing with the things that are worthy of stressing over by creating a healthy strategy for overcoming the stress.
  2. Being able to recognize when things are not worthy of stressing over and taking a deep breath and moving on.

I admit that I let things stress me out more than I should and it is something that I have been trying to be more aware of and proactively deal with when I feel it happening. I attribute a lot of this improvement in dealing with stress to my yoga practice. Yoga has taught me how to slow down and tune in to what I’m feeling in my body, heart and mind. I am amazed by the personal growth that I have experienced since finding yoga and I it completely thrills me that I am just at the beginning of my yoga journey.

I really enjoyed reading the comments about how you all deal with stress. I encourage everyone to check them out! Here are some of the ways that I deal with stress.

Create a plan of attack.
I’m busy. My schedule has been really insane for the last few months. When I start to feel out of control, I find it beneficial to stop and plot out how I’m going to accomplish everything. Some ways that I do this is by organizing my schedule in my planner, writing to-do lists and meal planning. I almost always find that if I can clearly see how I’m going to get from point A to point B that I can let go of some of my stress.

Do something about it.
Building on the list making and planning…those are great tools for dealing with stress if you actually act on it. How easy is it to get kind of stuck in place when you get overwhelmed? Make the list and then start crossing things off.

Ask for help.
This has been a tough one because I’m very much the “It’s okay, I’ve got it” type but asking for help when I truly need it has lifted a huge weight off of my shoulders. This has been everything from realizing when I need a break from teaching and asking for a sub to enlisting the help of my husband with meals, running errands and working around the house.

Stop. Breathe.
Sometimes when life feels especially stressful the best thing that I can do is something for myself. It seems crazy to stop blazing forward when there are so many things to be done but I have discovered that there is a point where I simply just cannot keep going. This usually means making my way to my yoga mat. I find that after 90 minutes of sweating, moving and breathing that the things that were stressing me out don’t seem quite as daunting as they did before.

Release. Run.
The first instinct that I have when I need to release energy (positive or negative) is to run. There is something about lacing up my shoes, blasting music and taking off that feels so good. It’s an instant release and it’s almost as if I can feel the stress leaving my body with every step that I take.

Another thing that I need to work on (which is another topic for another day) is getting more sleep. Why is it that when you are exhausted that everything seems ten times worse than it really is? A good night of sleep always leaves me feeling rested, recharged and ready to tackle the tasks I’m facing.

Have fun.
I love having something to look forward to. This can be as simple as a midweek pizza date with Brandon to planning a pedicure after work on a Friday at the end of a long week.

Analyze and move on.
So regarding those things that are not worthy of stressing over…recently a huge focus of mine has been to see when something is not worth my stress and move on. I am in control of my life and my happiness. I am not in control of the actions of others or personally responsible for making everyone else happy.

Laugh…and drink wine.
At the end of the day sometimes things are so ridiculous that all you can really do is laugh, have a glass of wine and hope tomorrow is a better day.


{ 29 comments… add one }
  • 1
    Britton August 30, 2011, 11:27 am

    Thank you for reminding me that there are so many ways to clear your mind and relieve stress! I stress and worry way too much, especially now as I have a masters degree, lots of loans, and there are no jobs in my field. As a newlywed, it gets stressful! I feel as though I don’t contribute and thats hard! Thanks for the little reminder about healthy ways to handle stress!! <3

  • 2
    Kristy@RunTheLongRoad August 30, 2011, 11:41 am

    i LOVE the 50 ways to cope with stress. i definitely need to print this out and carry with me. i’m happy to see that many of the things listed (and also what you listed above) i already do.

    it’s so hard because often i want to stop life so that i can catch up on life. but that’s not how it works, unfortunately!!

  • 3
    ashley August 30, 2011, 11:59 am

    THANKS for the reminder! This post is getting printed and added to my office board.

  • 4
    Whitney August 30, 2011, 12:05 pm

    I think it’s important to put into perspective that things you are stressing about. They all seem much smaller when you think about all the suffering in other places of the world. This is a good reminder for me to be grateful and thankful! 🙂

  • 5
    Brooke @ Veggie Table August 30, 2011, 12:20 pm

    Love this post – especially the 50 ways to cope with stress!

  • 6
    Cate August 30, 2011, 12:24 pm

    It’s crazy to me how much a run can help with my stress levels. And it’s usually when I almost don’t go because I don’t think I have enough time… but if I can get out the door for even a 20 minute run, I usually end up feeling infinitely better!

  • 7
    Kamaile August 30, 2011, 12:49 pm

    Love this! A good run is great for stress and watching my nephew play and laugh reminds me to slow down and enjoy the simple things! 🙂

  • 8
    Drea August 30, 2011, 12:58 pm

    great post..and such great timing! Been wrestling with a big ball of stress myself for the past few months. Finally am getting a hold of with most of the things you mentioned above! And to add to your list..pet something fuzzy! My doggies are great stress reducers!

  • 9
    Brittany (A Healthy Slice of Life) August 30, 2011, 2:56 pm

    I often read your blog and wonder how you have time to do it all! But whether you feel it or not, clearly you are very organized and in control. It seems you stay busy with work and teaching, but also create time for family, friends and fun! I admire your time management skills. Oh, and I completely agree about the importance of sleep, which has me a little freaked out with the baby on the way, but we’ll see how it goes 🙂

  • 10
    Anastasia August 30, 2011, 3:34 pm

    I have been super stressed lately so this couldn’t come at a better time. Like others have said here, I often wonder how you do all that you do! You’re so inspiring and it’s great you share how you’re able to do so much that you enjoy. I especially love the last line about just having to laugh and know that tomorrow is another day and it will hopefully be better.

  • 11
    Krista (kristastes) August 30, 2011, 4:03 pm

    I absolutely agree that the sooner you learn to differentiate between stress and ‘stress’, then how to appropriately deal with the real stress, the better off you are in life. I get better at this every day. I love your tackle stress list…by far my favorite is laugh (and drink wine) 🙂

  • 12
    Bonnie August 30, 2011, 5:15 pm

    Great post! Tackling stress is such a relatable and real topic…thanks for sharing your tips. I really connect with the running point – the first five steps out the door and already my stress levels are low. I love the image at the end too – lots of great thoughts for dealing with stress. Thoughtful post; thanks!

  • 13
    Nicole August 30, 2011, 8:43 pm

    Therapy is a great way to deal with stress! Lot’s of people find it such a release to unload on someone who is objective and bound by law not to tell their secrets! 🙂

  • 14
    Holly @ Pink Runner August 30, 2011, 10:39 pm

    Love this… I have been on the edge of being too stressed lately but I am trying to control it… If it gets to be too much I know I need to say no to things and do less!

  • 15
    Fit Chick Britt August 30, 2011, 10:49 pm

    Since I’ve gotten into exercising more over the last few years I’ve just felt the stress lift off me. These are great tips. It’s easy to forget not to sweat the small stuff and really prioritize the things that are important. Love the “50 ways to cope with stress.”

  • 16
    MizFit August 31, 2011, 5:35 am

    it is amazing how for me MORE SLEEP (enough sleep :)) changes everything.

  • 17
    Megan@eatmybeets August 31, 2011, 6:27 am

    Great post! I would also add in there – take a vacation from work. Even one day off feels amazing when you feel like you’ve been running yourself into the ground

  • 18
    Hannah August 31, 2011, 8:25 am

    i love this post and love the ways to cope!.
    i have also been sleepign horribly, have headaches, and stomach aches in the am.
    feeling completely DRAINED! I know what you mean exactly.
    very much looking forward to a little break in going to NM next week!
    but still feel like i have so much to do!!!

  • 19
    Belinda August 31, 2011, 10:20 am

    Love, Love, Love this post. Especially when a day starts off hectic. The 50 ways to deal with stress are awesome. I recently decided getting up 10 minutes earlier would make my days better. So far, so good. And this reinforces it. You just encouraged me for the day. And I think a pedicure on Friday will help end the week perfectly. Have a great week!

  • 20
    Jen August 31, 2011, 10:40 am

    Excellent tips, Jen! I completely agree that exercise is usually the best stress reliever. But sometimes a change of scenery can do wonders for a stressed mind as well.

  • 21
    Tiff @ Love, Sweat, and Beers August 31, 2011, 1:27 pm

    So true! Adequate sleep, listed priorities, and of course laughter & wine are my favs. 🙂

  • 22
    Alexandra Armentrout August 31, 2011, 3:22 pm

    I really enjoyed this post! Thanks!!

  • 23
    Erica August 31, 2011, 3:30 pm

    Thank you for this! In the next few weeks I will be going through a career change and am stressing over it but it is good to remember that no matter what everything will work out! Thank you Jen for all your inspirational thoughts!

    However, there is something else to stress over: you may or may not already know this but they are discontinuing the Trader Joe’s Organic peanut butter!!! so stock up! all they have left at the university location is the crunchy 🙁

  • 24
    Shae August 31, 2011, 3:39 pm

    This is a really great post! You definitely need to put this in your “My Favorites” so people can read it frequently!

  • 25
    jamie @ cueyourlife September 5, 2011, 11:50 pm

    I love your list! For me, asking for help is the biggest stress reliever of all! Saying what you want/need from the people in your life and asking for help when needed has saved my sanity! Thanks for the great post!

  • 26
    how to stop anxiety attacks September 23, 2011, 6:04 am

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