I’m lucky when it comes to stress. I took after my dad, the most laid back Joe to ever live. So, generally-speaking, stress and I aren’t on a first name basis. However, since I am human (most of the time), I do experience stressful situations and there have been times when I’m happily chugging down life’s road, only to have stress present its ugly self in the form of a roadblock.
Hate it when that happens.
When it comes to coping with stress, naturally the best advice to give, or receive, is to avoid the things that stress you out. If you get stressed when you go shopping amongst crowds, for example, go earlier in the morning. If running late causes you to stress out, make a habit of setting your alarm clock earlier. Basically, do whatever you can do to stay one step ahead of stress.
A continued cycle of stress is ridiculously bad for your health. Studies show that stress actually WEAKENS your immune system, leaving you more vulnerable for all sorts of illnesses. Left free to roam through your life, stress also wreaks havoc on your relationships and, often, your job. Obviously, it’s imperative that you identify the things that cause you to experience stress and eliminate as many as possible. For those that can’t be entirely eliminated, find ways to deal with them. Again, stay one step ahead of your stress signals.
Also, make a point of carving out a little time each day to totally and completely relax. The great thing about scheduling this time for later in the day is that it gives you something to look forward to all day. When your to do list just keeps getting longer and has lost all sense of reason, you can smile and say, “Fine. I’ll keep working like a caffeinated maniac but when 7:00 rolls around, I”ll be on the sofa watching baseball with a Coke in one hand and popcorn in the other.”
It takes the sting out of even the vilest to do list. Trust me.
If you read my self help blog (or any of my blogs for that matter), you’ve probably already guessed what my number 1 stress buster is: PETS! Experts tell us that having a pet can help reduce blood pressure, lower cholesterol levels, and improve heart health. Pets are also excellent, excellent, stress busters. You simply cannot feel stressed while petting a cat, walking a dog, or listening to a bird sing. Before we lost our adorable dog Wednesday to old (old, old, old, old) age, he and my husband had a routine. As soon as Michael got home from work, Wednesday would perk up – he always recognized the sound of his car and heard it from a mile away. Michael would put the leash on him as Wednesday wiggled around in circles of excitement. Then off they’d go on their walk.
It was the highlight of Wednesday’s day and it seemed to help the human walker release the stress of his work day. Who can feel stressed when connected to the other end of a leash is fur-covered happiness and joy?
Cats are just as magical when it comes to releasing stress. They’re so laid back and peaceful and live in a state of zen. It’s contagious! Since I work from home, I have access to my own personal little zen generators 24/7. In the picture at the top of the post, I was on the floor playing with Alexa after a pretty stressful day. I’d roll a ball underneath the love seat and she’d swat it back. At one point, I grabbed my camera and held onto the ball just to see what she’d do. As you can see, she peeked to see what the hold up was.
One look at her expression and it was like, “Stress? What stress?”
If you’re unable to have dogs or cats, don’t think for a minute that other pet options don’t exist! Hamsters, guinea pigs (“piggies“), fish, turtles, chinchillas, parakeets, and frogs would also love to help you deal with stress. A pet’s companionship, entertainment, and most of all love is just too precious to even put into words. They give so much more than they could ever possibly take.
To read more about stress triggers, click the link.