The Spring Series: Be more with LESS
Did you know that April is National Stress Awareness Month? During this time, health care professionals and experts across the country join together to increase public awareness about the causes and potential cures for this modern-day epidemic.
As someone who has dealt with anxiety and stress for years, this movement has a close place in my heart. Now, I would be lying if I said I was living a completely stress-free life, but I am now aware of the steps to take in order to minimize it. If you too have found yourself dealing with stress, it may be time to take extra steps towards simplifying.
We often hear the phrase ‘spring cleaning’ and I love relating this phrase to ALL aspects of life. In March I talked about spring cleaning your nutrition, and this month I want to encourage you to spring clean your life to FREE yourself from unnecessary stress. Stress can affect our physical health, mood, sleep patterns, and behavior. Chronic, long-term stress can lead to headaches, muscle tension, anxiety, anger, and sometimes even depression. It can also lead to more serious health problems related to obesity and heart health. By incorporating more self-care into our day to day routines, we can all be one step closer to that mental spring clean.
While there are so many ways to incorporate self-care into your days, here are my top favorites to give you some ideas!
- Incorporate exercise into your routine. Exercise provides your body with endorphins which naturally reduce your stress levels, as well as improves your mood and ability to sleep! Whether you choose to go on a walk, hike, get to the gym or take a class, you’ll definitely reap these awesome benefits by getting your heart rate up.
- Take a trip to the spa or have an at-home spa day. Manicure, pedicure, massage — talk about relaxation!
- Hang out with close friends or family. Spending time with people who uplift you and encourage you is a great way to de-stress. A positive community is so important.
- Make time for your personal hobbies. Whether you love photography, doing charity work, writing, reading, blogging, whatever it is, spend time engaging in it. Your passions shouldn’t have to be put aside due to a busy schedule, especially if they bring you joy and peace.
- Get more sleep. Whether this means hitting the snooze button early, sleeping in or taking a short nap, it’ll be so worth it.
- Movie, wine + dessert night. That movie you’ve been wanting to see, but haven’t had time to? Make time for it. Funny movie? Even better! Laughter TRULY is the best medicine.
- Take a staycation. Whether it’s just a day away to the city or beach or a weekend outing, taking a mini vacation could be just what you need to relax.
- Go offline. It is so easy to get distracted with emails, social media, our cell phones and so on. Take an hour a day or maybe even an entire day a week to disconnect from things that aren’t necessary. Replace this time with some of the ideas listed above!
While we can’t always control our circumstances in life, we can have control over how we react and allow them to affect us! When we incorporate self-care practices, we are giving ourselves the opportunity to live our life to the fullest and become less reactive to everyday stresses. I encourage you to join me, not only this month, but every month, in taking our mental health seriously.