Stress and how you perceive it can have a tremendous impact on your ability to power through long to-do lists, get enough sleep and make it to Bar Method class. The good news? There are actually a handful of things you can do to keep your energy levels high while carving out time to take care of yourself — even with a jam-packed schedule.
To better understand what exactly helps ease stress and how to manage it, we talked with Angela Mader, a NASM CPT who’s certified in Fitness Nutrition and the founder behind fitlosophy. A champion for living a well-balanced life, Angela gave us a handful of great ideas that should help you stay calm and collected as you (or your kids!) head back to school.
1. Write it out. It may seem counterproductive to find time to journal when your stress comes from the fact that you feel like you don’t have a minute to spare, but Angela swears that writing out your thoughts can make a tremendous difference in how you go through each day. “Try taking 15 minutes to jot down a few sentiments of gratitude and you’ll likely find that you can relax, sleep better, and if time allows, even longer,” she says.
2. Take care of yourself first. Make sure you find the time to do the things that make you feel good and remember that you’re best equipped to care for others when you actually have the energy to do so. Whether that means carving out 15 minutes of alone time each day or making it to 3-4 Bar Method classes each week, do your best to avoid compromising your feel-good, healthy activity.
3. Power down. Angela tells us, “Break away from your devices at least 30 minutes before bed. The light of your phone or tablet stimulates brain activity and can really interfere with sleep. Turn off the TV, step away from the phone and pick up a relaxing read instead.” Studies show that just six minutes of reading each day can cut stress by 60%.
4. Nourish your body. Eating well will help you keep your energy levels stable while helping you manage all of the back to school chaos. If you have a green thumb and feel up to a few fun hours, Angela suggests, “Plant a garden to nourish your body with the fruits of your labor. Whether you grow herbs, produce, or flowers, this relaxing pastime can be a major stress reliever.”
5. Take a break when you feel like you really need one. Feeling exhausted, overwhelmed or like you just can’t make it happen? Angela reminds us, “Not every workout has to be killer. Sometimes, a relaxing, stress-reducing walk might be just what your body needs. Listen to your body.”
How do you de-stress? Tell us what works for you in the comments.