In my previous post, I discussed why stress can be particularly bad for those of us who suffer from chronic illnesses. In this post, I share some techniques that I use to relieve stress and also give some ideas for stress relievers that you may want to try to incorporate into your routine.
These techniques could work for anyone who wants to reduce the impact stress has on their life. Reducing stress is important for all, however, people with chronic illness have even more reason to try to reduce stress.
Stress Relievers I Use
Stress relief techniques vary widely and what works for me may not work for you. I believe it is important to try a variety of stress relieving techniques to find out what works best for you. I particularly love yoga, meditation, and reading.
Yoga works for me because I am able to work out tension. When I am stressed, tension builds up in my neck, upper back, and shoulders. Yoga has proven an effective tool to combat the physical manifestations of my stress. I am constantly amazed at how little practice I need to find relief!
If you want to try yoga at home, check out this YouTube video for beginners. I actually had this video as a VHS tape (!!!) and started practicing yoga using this video when I was first diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. I found it very helpful and a great intro to yoga. Another option is to look into a class in your area. Classes offer better instruction than videos and allow for proper guidance to help avoid injury.
Meditation is something I know I benefit from, but honestly, I am not great at practicing it. I have the Headspace app on my phone and find it very useful, but my meditation habits ebb and flow quite a bit. I still think the Headspace app is great, I just haven’t bit the bullet and paid for a subscription (to access more meditations) when I know I won’t consistently use the app. I’ve found other ways to
center myself and meditate, like the book Find Your Happy by Shannon Kaiser. It has a daily meditation that only takes a minute to read. It is amazing how often the daily meditation that I read applies to my life in some way. I love it!
I find reading for fun is a great escape into another world. I enjoy a variety of genres but my current favorites are mystery/thriller novels and the classics. Some recent books I’ve enjoyed are Red Sparrow by Jason Matthews, The Woman In Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware and, The Alchemist by Paolo Coelho. I have also been known to enjoy a little bit of science fiction and romance like Artemis by Andy Weir and the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. Reading helps me fall into someone else’s life and for a time, allows me to leave all my worries behind. The best books are the ones I continue thinking about when I’m not reading that book. I know I’m loving the story, plot, and characters when that happens!
Other Ways to Reduce Stress
Here are some more ideas to reduce stress and the havoc it wreaks on your body.
- Prep your food for the week on Sunday. This can be helpful if you get stressed out by having to think about your meals throughout the week. This can be breakfast, lunch, and dinner, or just one meal for the week, such as dinners only. It’s amazing how meal prepping can greatly reduce the stress around meal times. Pinterest has some great meal prep ideas and you can check mine out here.
- Listen to music. Particularly calming or instrumental music. I love piano and string instruments together and find it very relaxing and calming. One of my favorite Spotify playlists is called “Peaceful Piano”. Spotify also has playlists that are specific to relieving stress. Pandora, Apple Music, and other music streaming services probably have great playlists, too!
- Unplug. Try to completely unplug when you leave work. Mentally unplugging from issues going on at work on your drive or commute home can really help reduce stress. Often, nagging issues at work actually get figured out by your subconscious when you actively try not to think about them. A bonus is your family and friends feel like you’re truly engaged and not just going through the motions as you are being distracted by those nagging work issues.
- Limit screen time. Give yourself a break from your smartphone, tablets, computers and other devices. While I think these devices can be a great stress reliever in some instances, like trying to take your mind off of a particularly stressful issue, they can cause some harmful side effects. This article discusses some of the reasons we all need to cut back on screen time.
- Hug! Physical touch can be a great stress reliever and hugging in particular. Here’s a great article on the benefits of hugging.
- Other ways to relieve stress include getting a mani/pedi, getting a massage, going for a walk, watching a movie, watching funny YouTube videos, etc., etc. Really, anything that takes your mind off what might be causing you stress.
There are so many ways to reduce stress. I hope this list gives you some ideas to try to reduce or relieve stress; or at least reminds you to take time to care for yourself. When you aren’t doing well, it is difficult to care for others (family, friends, pets, etc.)
What do you do to reduce stress? Are there any particular stress relievers that have worked for you that I didn’t cover? I’d love to hear them! Please leave a comment below, or, email me here.
Thanks for stopping by,