After the stress of selling and moving out of my condo, I finally had a chance to relax. It was back to giving work, friends, and those two hyphenated words: self-care, my full attention. Bouncing back from stress isn’t easy. When your time is wrapped up in one thing, other aspects of your life are put on the back burner. When the clouds dissipate, you quickly realize you’re out of routine. So where do you start?
To bounce back from the stressful situation, I was determined to shake it off because I was tired of feel run down. After just a short two weeks of implementing some new daily habits, the stress seemed like a distant memory. I noticed a few things that worked really well that I wanted to share with you today. Many of these habits helped me sleep better and relieve anxiety.
If you’re coming down from stress, need to get back into self-care and a healthy routine, or just looking for ways to just feel better every day, here are some of small habits I’m sticking to that’s helping me bounce back from a stressful situation.
1. A brisk walk every day
When people fall out of self-care or come down from stress, they often think they have to start a hardcore exercise routine to bounce back. You don’t have to run a marathon to feed your body what it needs. Whether it’s in the morning, during your lunch break, or in the evening, take a 15 to an hour walk every, single day. Walking every day has completely changed how I feel. Especially if you sit at a desk all (like me!), walking gets you outside and you soak up much-needed vitamin D from the sun, which supports your immune and nervous systems, and is also good for your brain.
2. Take care of your gut
Ever since I started taking a probiotic, I’ve been able to sleep better, feel better, and I have so much more energy. We carry stress in our gut, which can really drag us down and even cause anxiety. Everything in our bodies are connected. Our brain and our gut communicate and sends signals on how we should feel. So when a gut isn’t happy, the brain is telling us we’re not happy. A daily probiotic can help you feel better, less anxious, and more energized by keeping your gut working the way it should.
Of course, a probiotic isn’t enough if you have food sensitivities or irritable bowel system (IBS). You don’t have to go on a fancy diet, but you should stay away from foods that trigger your gut. Trust me — it’s worth it. There are a ton of probiotics on the market, but I suggest doing your research and picking out a trustworthy brand.
3. Listen to an upbeat, fun podcast
I’m not much of a podcast connoisseur, but ever since I started doing my daily walks, I found that listening to an upbeat podcast has helped me tune out the day for 30 minutes and just be in the moment. It took me a while to find one that kept me engaged, so when I found Kara Loewentheil’s Unf*ck Your Brain, I finally found a podcast that helped put me in the right state of mind. As I’m walking, I’m learning about how to manage my thoughts and gain more confidence.
There are a lot of great podcasts out there, and I recommend one that you can learn from, but is also upbeat. If you’re looking for a stress reliever, my suggestion is to not listen to anything too serious.
4. Take it easy on the alcohol
When stressed, some of us have the tendency to reach for the wine bottle (me! who else!?). A couple glasses of wine on a Tuesday night might make you feel better in the moment, but alcohol interrupts sleep, makes you tired and groggy, and holds you back from living your life to the fullest. And no, you’re not an alcoholic, but the habit of pouring a glass of wine whenever things get a little tough just isn’t productive. I’ve learned this the hard way, believe me. I decided to replace the wine bottle with healthier habits (which make up this list) and ever since, I’ve noticed two things: I’m less anxious and I’m sleeping better.
4. Disconnect before bed
This might be the hardest one for most of us, but it makes a world of a difference. Just one or two hours before bed without any electronics can help you sleep better and go to bed less anxious. All that your iPhone is doing is depleting the melatonin you need to help you sleep and putting thoughts in your head. Whether you’re reading the news or scrolling through your Instagram feed, no matter what you tell yourself, the act of scrolling doesn’t benefit you. And don’t you dare take your laptop into your bedroom and start responding to emails — your boss or client can wait. If you’re in bed and you can’t sleep, try reading a book or doing some deep breathing, but stay away from your electronics!
5. Work on a puzzle
At the start of the pandemic, people were ordering puzzles like crazy and it soon became hard to find a good one. And for good reasons too — it’s a great way to spend time with friends and family at home while exercising your brain. When I first moved to my temporary home, I started working on a Frank Lloyd Wright puzzle and it became my new stress reliever.
Some of my family members also joined in, and it has become the new version of the ‘dinner table’ where everyone is relaxed working on the puzzle. At the ‘puzzle table,’ we have had some great conversations. I suggest finding one with a picture of something that brings you joy and take time finding a good one. If you’re going to spend all this time working on it, you might as well be excited to see it come together.
6. Write your feelings down
How are you feeling? Sometimes when we’re highly stressed, we just think ‘stress’ is our emotion. But oftentimes, it’s much deeper than that. We’re stressed because we’re feeling nervous about a test result, or we’re stressed because we’re frustrated that our kid’s school hasn’t made a decision on remote learning. Taking the time to identify why you’re feeling a certain way can you help you make better decisions based on logic over emotion. If you’re looking to start journaling daily, I made it very easy for you. Just click here to download the 14-Days to Self Discovery.
See a pattern?
All these small habits have helped me bounce back from stress, sleep better, and feel more energized. That’s not to say I still don’t have sleepless nights or feel overwhelmed, but I have significantly seen the difference in just a few weeks from changing some of my bad habits with healthy ones that are simple to implement. Next time you’re feeling stressed, refer back to this article. All it takes is 15 minutes a day to change your life.