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stressed? take a (literal) minute for yourself

May 6, 2022

Stress happens when we feel overwhelmed and out of control. Mounting bills, a painful boss, being pulled from pillar to post. These are some of the many ways that stress builds. Sometimes it feels like we just can’t get a break, but there are small steps we can take, like identifying some simple triggers, that can help us make it through the day.

There’s a lot of advice out there for managing stress, and most of it involves meditation and exercise. While those are two incredibly useful strategies, they don’t work for everyone. Here are some tips to help you take a moment for yourself so you have space to breathe.

Identify your triggers

Take some time to think about what stresses you out on an average day. It takes time to fix the big stuff, so focus on the little things for now. Make a list of these small triggers that ignite your stress. This can include losing your keys, ordering in when you don’t feel like cooking, or getting stuck in traffic. 

Maybe you’re overwhelmed at work because of your workload or your coworkers or you’re just not in the career you want. These are more difficult to deal with, but taking a few minutes out of your day to mentally step away will work wonders.

Find small ways to counteract those triggers

Once you’ve pinpointed those triggers, think about little ways you can help recenter yourself and relieve stress. The key here is to take a step out of your mind for a few moments to give yourself a breather from your stressors.

See if you can use or adapt these suggestions:

  • Make lunch for the next day while you’re making dinner, so you don’t have to rush in the mornings.
  • Take a minute to step away from your desk and look out the window or stretch your muscles.
  • It doesn’t seem like a lot, but leaving home five minutes early. In heavy traffic, those extra few minutes mean a little less traffic.
  • Try cooking meals on the weekend so you don’t have to start every dinner from scratch during the week.
  • For those bigger issues, take that mental time out by focusing your attention on something tangible:
  • Find a stress ball or a fidget or even a pen to hold in your hand. Feel its weight and texture. Really focus on what the soft pads of your fingers feel.
  • Count to ten when you feel overwhelmed or flustered. Bonus points if you can close your eyes and breathe deeply while you do it.
  • Get a plant for your office so you have something from nature to look at and nurture. Cactuses count too.
  • Plant your feet firmly on the ground and feel how they feel. Feel the weight they support, the way your shoe fits against your sole.

These small steps can help you learn how to step away from the stress inside and around you.


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