Best Practical Ways to Reduce Your Stress Level
Get organized. Disorganization frequently leads to stressful situations when you can’t find what you need or miss deadlines and assignments. Here are some tips:
- Pick out what you’re going to wear the next day the night before.
- Put everything you want to take with you to school or work or wherever you’re going in one place.
- Get into the habit of putting things you use every day—your keys, jewelry, medications, makeup, iPod, cell phone—in the same place every time.
- Keep a list, either on paper or electronically, of everything you have to do, and keep the list in a place where you can access it easily
- Use a planner to keep track of all your activities.
- Use a planner to keep track of your homework assignments and deadlines.
- Keep your room, or your part of your room if you share, in some sort of order so that you know where things are.
- Break down big assignments or projects into parts and do one part at a time, making sure you leave enough time to finish the entire project.
Slow down. Moving through life at a frantic speed can get to seem normal after you’ve done it for a while, but it is wearing and stressful. Try some of these ways of relaxing:
- Plan a stay-at-home night and chill out with a video or a book.
- Invite a friend or two for a “no-stress” night with facials and favorite movies.
- If you’re in a particularly busy and stressful time, reschedule a lesson or appointment and use the extra time to catch up on your work or to relax.
- Don’t overschedule yourself with social or other obligations.
- Determine what you most enjoy and spend your time on one or two activities, rather than always jumping from one thing to another.
Here are ways to make some quiet time:
- Take the headphones out of your ears, turn off your cell phone, get away from your computer, and just sit quietly for 15 minutes.
- If you live in an area where you can do so, go outside and listen to sounds of nature such as birds, the wind, or crickets at night.
- Create a small space, either indoors or out, where you can go to be alone and undisturbed, and visit it several times a week.
- Practice deep breathing, meditation, or journaling.
- Consider your spirituality and what it means to you.
Do something nice for someone else. Research shows that people who reach out and care about others are happier than those who don’t. Try doing the following:
- Visit an elderly relative or neighbor.
- Take a child to the park or for a walk.
- Tell a parent, a grandparent, or a friend that you appreciate him or her, and why.
- Volunteer at a nursing home or assisted living facility.
- Take your neighbor’s dog for a walk or help clean up his or her yard.
- Be aware of what other people are going through and express concern to someone who you know is experiencing a problem or difficult time. Volunteer at your local library; a preschool; or your church, synagogue, or mosque.
Get active. Exercise is an important stress management tool, so make sure you find time to fit in some physical activity every day:
- Keep a jump rope handy and do 100 jumps three times a day.
- Train yourself to think of physical activity as a gift of time that you give to yourself, instead of a chore that needs to be done.
- Engage in little bits of physical activity at a time, increasing the duration as you go.
- Participate in an organized sport, or get a group of friends together for an informal game of football, Frisbee, or other activity.
- Dig out the skateboard or scooter you had as a kid and give it a go.
Finally, take care of yourself, no matter what:
- Give yourself some time before bed to relax and quiet down.
- Try to go to bed and get up at about the same time every day.
- Make your room as quiet and restful as you can, and turn off the TV before you go to sleep.
- Avoid drinks that contain caffeine, especially later in the day.
- Try to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables every day and stay away from too much fast food and processed foods, especially those that contain lots of sugar, salt, and fat.
- Don’t beat yourself up over little things you did or didn’t do.
- Don’t demand perfectionism of yourself or anyone else—you won’t find it!
- Regularly take time to think about what’s good in your life and practice feeling grateful.
- Engage in an activity that you enjoy every day, even if it’s only for a short time.
- Forgive yourself when you do something wrong and forgive others for their mistakes.