How to Recharge Your Batteries to Relieve Stress
We live in a society now where stress is seen as something normal. For some, it’s even become something to aspire to.
“Are you really giving your all or living up to your full potential if you’re not stressed to the max?”
Stress doesn’t have to be (and shouldn’t be) your “normal.”
If stress has you tired, discouraged, and unmotivated, try the following tips to recharge and get back to a place of balance and calm.
1 | Spend some time alone.
As an introvert, this desire to be alone comes naturally to me, and I usually don’t fight it. For my extroverted friends, this may feel weird at first, but trust me. It has a huge pay off. Some people don’t like spending time alone because it gives them too much time to think. But that’s exactly why time alone is so incredibly valuable.
Time spent by yourself allows you to process all of the whirlwind of activity that is life. You have time to process your thoughts and more importantly, your emotions, and how those emotions may be affecting your body.
A lot of external and internal factors contribute to stress. Spending time alone helps you to realize the state of your mind and body. You’re also better equipped to create a plan to recharge and unwind.
A lot of external and internal factors contribute to stress. Spending time alone helps you to realize the state of your mind and body.
After a long day, get quiet and be alone for a few moments. Take some mental notes of the following:
Is your body tense? If so, slowly relax from your head to your toes, being mindful as you release each muscle.
If you’re feeling unusually stressed, ask yourself why? Are external or internal factors causing the stress?
If your stressor or problem is something that can be addressed and solved by you, think about how you can eliminate the issue. If it’s something that is out of your control, use self care and wellness activities (such as yoga, a bubble bath, time with friends, etc.) to get your mind off of it.
Do you process better on paper? Take time to jot down a few of your thoughts about your overall wellbeing in a journal. Sometimes, being able to read your own thoughts in front of you helps you to see areas of stress or tension of which you might otherwise not be aware.
2 | Release endorphins with physical activity.
You don’t have to be an athlete to create a routine of regular exercise. I’m definitely not one of those people.
My idea of physical activity is getting up for a snack break between Netflix episodes.
But once I create the habit of exercising consistently (about 30 minutes a day), I love it and crave it on a regular basis. It makes me feel incredible and gives me so much more energy throughout my day.
You see, exercise is not just for your body. Your mind benefits considerably from physical activity: your body releases those “feel good” chemicals known as endorphins. Endorphins trigger a positive feeling in the body.
Exercise is one of my favorite ways to release pent-up stress. The next time you’re feeling tense, go for a run, take a fun high-intensity fitness class, or find balance and a sense of calm on a yoga mat. The type of exercise doesn’t really matter—do what feels right for you and sweat a little.
There’s just something about exhausting your body with a good workout that relieves the mind.
3 | Set a daily schedule that involves plenty of rest.
If you look up "night owl" in the dictionary, you'll see my picture.
My mind seems to think the best time to write a new blog post, binge watch an entire season of a new show, or rearrange my closet is at one o'clock in the morning. I used to embrace this as a funny quirk, but I’ve realized that it’s actually pretty detrimental to my overall wellbeing.
If you’re a fellow night owl, you’ve probably experienced how excruciating morning can be when you’re running on 4 or 5 hours of sleep. Starbucks becomes your best friend as you’re downing your third cup of something yummy by 10 am. But by the afternoon, you hit a slump, and all you can think about is how cozy and inviting your bed is.
...you start to wonder if your boss would mind too terribly if you brought a pillow to work.
Or maybe you’re one of those night owls who can’t possibly make it out of bed before 12 noon. So you go to bed late, wake up late, and the cycle continues on repeat like a bad Taylor Swift song. Pretty soon, you’re not handling things so well.
You fall behind on deadlines, your social life plummets, you’re moody, airlines start charging you extra for the bags under your eyes, and you slump under the weight of the stress you’re carrying.
Creating an intentional daily schedule can shake you out of this dismal routine. Establish a morning and nightly routine, and you’ll never need that third jolt of caffeine again.
A few ideas to include in your routine:
unplug from technology an hour before you go to bed
get ready for bed (wash face, brush teeth, etc.) by a certain time, or
read for thirty minutes before you go to sleep.
Being well rested is one of the best ways to combat stress.
4 | Do something you love.
After a hectic work day or stressful week, spend some time getting back to your favorite hobby or activity.
Hiking with friends outdoors is a great way to release stress and recharge your batteries. Practicing favorite yoga poses or perfecting a cooking recipe are more ways to get your mind off stressful situations or feelings.
I recently took up brush lettering, and the gentle glide of my pen up and down a page of paper as I form the letters of words and phrases is very calming and restorative.
Doing an activity that you love—no matter how small or mundane—can help to greatly counteract the effects of stress on your body and mind. When creating a set schedule like the one I mentioned before, make sure you’re setting aside time in your day or week to practice a musical instrument, read, chat with friends, blog, or whatever it is that you love to do.
Time spent relaxing with a favorite hobby will help your stressors to not seem so intimidating.
5 | Make self care a priority.
Entrepreneur and philanthropist Marie Forleo of MarieForleo.com states, “If it’s important enough to you, you’ll make the time. If not, you’ll make an excuse.”
I’ve been really trying to take this quote to heart lately. Think about what it really means for you.
Those habits you’ve been wanting to put into practice? That daily routine of intentional self care? Is there a reason why you haven’t put forth any effort?
The answer could be because it’s not a priority. You aren’t a priority to yourself. I know that can be a hard truth to acknowledge. I know because I’ve been there. I wasn’t a priority, and because I wasn’t a high priority on my own list, self care wasn’t either.
Are you a priority on your list? If not, self care won't be either.
As a result, I felt tired, unproductive, and discouraged that I wasn’t meeting the goals I had set for myself. I knew I had to make a change, and I knew that the first step was being honest with myself about what I viewed as “important” in my life.
I had to start being intentional with my time and adopt a daily practice of self care. Now it’s time for you to do the same.
What are some of your favorite ways to relieve stress? Feel free to share them in the comments below—I’d love to get some new ideas. :)