How Do I De-Stress My Life?

By Elina Furman

Q. My life is very stressful. Between raising my two kids alone and working full time I am always anxious and tired. I worry that if I keep going at this pace, my health is going to suffer. Can you help?
 
Whether you’re single working woman trying to climb the corporate ladder or are a single mom trying to balance a job and raise a family, stress is a permanent part of life. for those women balancing the rigors of a full-time job and child rearing, the importance of de-stressing is especially vital. And while stress may be a normal part of life, it doesn’t have to overpower you.
 
Find a Happy Place
Everyone has a happy place that makes them feel calm, secure, and at peace with the world. Whether your happy place is a beach you once relaxed on, a special event like a family reunion or a party that brings up happy memories, or a room in your house that fills you with contentment, you can conjure it up anytime to mitigate some of the stress you feel. When you feel yourself clenching and tensing up, sit back, close your eyes, and breathe deeply – even if it’s just for 10 minutes. Now think about your happy place: the smell, the sights, the sounds. Really try to transport yourself and feel those muscles unwind.
 
Create a Ritual
As a professional and family woman who is always on the go finding stability is easier said than done. One day you’re flying to another city for a business meeting and the next you’re racing to get home in time for the parent/teacher conferences. To help you cope with the ups and downs of daily life, it’s important that you do small things for yourself that allow you to relax. Reading before going to sleep as opposed to watching TV, taking a bath or a long hot shower with calming scents like vanilla and lavender, eating a good breakfast (one which includes fruit, protein, carbohydrate, calcium and vitamins) or taking advantage of the 10-min massages at the beauty salon – these small rituals can mean a big difference in your overall mood and emotional health.
 
Personalize It
After countless weeks and nights spent finishing an important assignment at work, it’s easy to feel as if you’re stuck in a corporate purgatory with no escape in sight. Having a sense of comfort is very important whether you’re traveling or just always on the move. To make yourself feel at home, it’s important to include some reminders your family so you can feel connected even while away at work. Something as simple as a drawing or a picture frame of your loved ones can make you feel as if you’re back on your home turf even when you’re hours away from home.
 
Get a Support Network
While romantic relationships seem to be a good source of stress relief, friendships are actually much more effective in helping to release the feel-good hormones that cause you to feel joy and reduce stress. When people have a strong social support network, they are more likely to feel less anxious. On weekends, make the time to check in with friends with phone or email even though your schedule may be crammed with activities with your children. You should also make a concerted effort to meet up after work for an hour even if you’re very tired or hire a babysitter on Friday/Saturday nights to catch a movie and have some play time. The boost to your mood will be well worth it. Of course, the reverse is true as well. If you find that your coworkers, relatives, and friends have become toxic or co-dependant, make sure you establish clear boundaries so your energy doesn’t get zapped.

 

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