While the holidays may be a wonderful time of year for some, they often come with the gift of added stress. To help you recuperate, whether your holidays were full of joy or drama, here are some tips from my program on how to stress less and live better. I hope that these ideas will help your New Year get off to a good start.
Instead of pressuring yourself to set New Year’s resolutions, take small steps toward improving your life and health. Too often, we give ourselves ridiculous and unrealistic goals to pursue, without having an idea of how to get there. So, we’re going to start small and suggest manageable steps to help you reach your goals.
Step 1: Practice self-care. Make yourself a priority by taking 15 minutes twice a week to do something that relaxes you or brings you joy. Some of my favorite self-care practices are taking a walk through the neighborhood, eating my favorite food (which is chocolate), and listening to music. These are some ideas to get you started, but it’s best to find what works for you. One of my clients recently discovered that the mindless TV he watched was not relaxing, but watching something that interested him helped to calm his mind.
Step 2: Go slow. Don’t expect sudden changes. Instead, take one step at a time and don’t multitask. Research shows that multitasking is not an efficient way of getting things done. In fact, what happens is that our attention is divided and we frequently become overwhelmed. Some of the ways I like to do this are to take 3 deep breaths when I’m stopped at a stoplight, to walk slowly around my back yard, or sitting outside in the morning having a cup of tea. When you physically start to slow down, your mind will follow.
Step 3: Keep it simple. You don’t have to add anything extra to your life to ease stress and quiet your mind. Start with the things you’re already doing, but learn to focus your attention differently. For example, instead of focusing your attention on your to-do list while you take a shower, think about the scent of the soap and the sound of the water. Studies indicate that when we direct our attention to our sensory experience, it allows us to savor the moment and feel better because we’re not focusing on something unpleasant and worrisome.
Stay tuned for more ways to Stress Less and Live Better in 2020!
Here are some additional resources you can look at in the meantime: