Fall is a busy time of year. Between school sports, special activities, and Halloween prep (everything from a visit to the pumpkin patch to the hunt for the perfect costume) — not to mention work and school! — it’s common to feel overwhelmed. Fortunately, there are some easy ways to calm your body and get back to a better headspace.
Here are seven tips to help you mentally refresh after a stressful day.
1. Notice and acknowledge.
You don’t want to just ignore your stress; instead, it’s important to recognize it. Think about how you’re feeling these days. Give validation to each and every emotion that pops into your head. When a moment of anxiety hits you, take a deep breath, identify the feeling, and remind yourself that you’re doing your best.
If you’re feeling mentally cluttered, chances are, your physical space is cluttered as well. Mark off a few hours on the calendar to declutter! It may energize you and even reduce your anxiety. Having trouble determining what to keep and what to give away? If you haven’t used an item in the last six months, it’s probably time to let it go. This simple exercise will allow you to gain some mental clarity and support local charities, like a women’s shelter, with your donations. It’s a win-win!
A meditation routine is the perfect way to practice mindfulness and find inner peace. You can start with a simple breathing exercise called 4-4-4: Breathe in for 4 counts; hold for 4 counts; and breathe out for 4 counts. For something more advanced, download an app like Headspace or Calm to access guided meditations.
Working out can refresh you both physically and mentally. As you run around your neighborhood or lift weights at the gym, pay attention to your body’s movement and reset your focus. As you exercise, your body releases endorphins, which trigger a positive, relaxed feeling. We all need a little more of that, right? Plus, if you can get outside, you’ll have the added benefit of sunlight and vitamin D, which has been proven to boost your mood.
Thanks to our smartphones, social media, and a 24/7 news cycle, we are inundated with multiple stressors each and every day. Make it a rule to put your phone away or even turn it off after 6 p.m. Better yet, challenge yourself to unplug for a full day on Sundays. You can add a cute basket to your bookshelf as a “special spot” to encourage device-free time.
6. Think positive!
Your positive attitude is your secret super power. If you go into a day thinking it’s going to be stressful and overwhelming, it probably will be. Instead, use the power of positive thinking to literally change the day ahead of you! Remind yourself how lucky you are to have such a strong community and so many things on your plate.
7. Practice self-care.
It may sound counterintuitive to add something else to your already bursting schedule, but hear me out. No matter how busy you are, it’s important to make time for self-care. Make an effort to read a book on the front porch, take your dog on a long walk, or journal before bed. You’ll be amazed at the impact of this small adjustment.