Ten Ways to Fight Stress

No matter how much you like your job, your kids, or your life in general, we all have those days.  Here are ten tips for keeping stress at bay.

1.  Take a brisk walk (or quick jog) to start the day or during breaks throughout the day.

Several studies have shown that those who start their day with a morning jog or exercise have less stress and burn more fat throughout the day.  If you aren’t able to jog, start with a brisk walk around your neighborhood.

Take periodic breaks throughout the day and walk around your neighborhood or office building.  I keep a pair of slip-on athletic shoes at work so I can easily and quickly put them on without worrying about socks or tying laces.

2.  Post motivational quotes or pictures near your desk or work area. 

My computer monitor and PC tower are decorated with a collection of Post-It notes with sayings and quotes that inspire me.  We also keep a motivational quote on a big white board in the copier room at my office.  We rotate quotes motivational quotes about business, entrepreneurship, and life in general out every few weeks or so.

3.  Get more sleep at night.

Everyone knows that you can’t function properly either physically, mentally, or emotionally if you are sleep-deprived.  Yet we still tend to stay up late to watch the news or Letterman.  And we pay for it the next day.  Make it a goal to be in bed, lights out, no later than 10:00 (earlier is better) every night for the next week and see how different you feel the next morning.

4.  Take breaks or hang out with positive coworkers and friends.

Emphasis on positive coworkers and friends.  Nothing can drain you and add to your stress faster than being around people who are constantly complaining and negative.  It’s EXHAUSTING.  More times than not, you end up being mad at exactly the same thing they are made about, or mad at them for being obnoxious.  Either way you end up mad and more stressed out.  Find friends or coworkers you can laugh with.  You’ll end up re-charged and upbeat as a result.

5.  Share your stresses and anxieties with trusted friends and family members.  

Social support is incredibly important in combating stress and dealing with the problems we face in life.  Those who share their struggles and frustrations with a strong social support network cope better than those who keep everything bottled up inside.  If you are really stressed and having panic or anxiety attacks, do not be too proud to seek the help of a reputable counselor or licensed mental health professional.  They can assist you in developing coping strategies or, if necessary, prescribe appropriate medication for anxiety and stress.

6.  Eat a healthy breakfast and lunch.

Don’t skip breakfast.  I am bad about running out of time in the morning and doing this, and I pay for it later in the day.  I always feel better and am much more focused when I eat a complete breakfast.  We’ve heard it over and over growing up, but breakfast really is the most important meal of the day, and should be the biggest meal we eat.  Try to include both a whole grain (like whole wheat toast or oatmeal) and a lean protein (egg whites, turkey bacon, etc.).  Note:  Neither pop tarts nor cereal is a complete breakfast.

The 8 Best Fast Food Breakfasts

As for lunch, there are literally endless possibilities for healthy meals.  Check out our earlier blog post on eating healthy at work.  Frozen meals have come a long way since the days of TV dinners in metal trays.  There are hundreds of different types to choose from.

And if you forget to bring something from home, you can usually always find a healthy option, even at the greasiest burger joint.  One way to cut a quick 100 calories from any burger or sandwich is to replace the mayo with mustard.

Here are some lists of healthy fast food options:

The 22 Healthiest Fast Foods

10 Fast Food Meals That Won’t Wreck Your Diet

Most Healthy Fast Food Resources

7.  Tune to positive motivational, inspirational, or upbeat CDs, radio stations, or TV programs.

Garbage in = garbage out.  Just like hanging around with negative friends, constantly watching negative TV programs or listening to negative music breeds negativity in return.  TV news programs or networks are geared to motivate people based on negative emotional reactions to bad news.  Read the news online instead.  It this Twitter age, news via the internet is almost happening in real-time.  In addition, reading words on screen removes the ability of an anchorperson to spin the story using their body language and tone.

8.  Make time for your hobbies.

“All work and no play make Jack a dull boy.”  Find something fun you like to do, and make time to do it.

Note: Hurling a 10 pound object as hard as you can at a target is a GREAT stress reliever.

9.  Keep a funny picture near your work area so you can remember to smile.

This hides behind my office door, but is always in my view.  Bazinga.

And this sits on top of my PC tower.  Very few people in my office get it, but it makes me smile every time I look at it.

10.  Call a regular customer who you enjoy doing business with or a close friend you haven’t talked to in a while.

This lady here can always make me smile every time I talk to her.

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