Series: 30 Simple Ways to Reduce Stress without Leaving Home (26-30)
Heads up, mama!
On October 6, I began the first part of this series “30 Simple Ways to Reduce Stress without Leaving Home.” Every other week, I released a new post in this series. Each one outlined 5 tips to help you reduce stress. Today’s post is the final one in the series. Hopefully, you’ll come away from this series learning not only ways to cope with feelings of stress, but you’ll actually feel better because you’ve taken the time to practice some of them.
Missed the previous post in this series? Click here.
26) Just dance, mama
Just like how cardio workouts create feel-good endorphins, so does dancing. But getting your heart pumping isn’t the goal here.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Dancing is a great way to just loosen up, move your body, and have a little fun!⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
It’s easy, during stressful times, to become this robot woman who automatically does all the things. But taking a dance break is a great way to add joy to your day, put a smile on your face, and melt some tension away.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
So, today (or sometime this week), put on your favorite dance music, and dance a little (or a lot).
27) Try EFT tapping
I don’t remember when or where I first heard about EFT tapping, but I reacquainted myself with it a few weeks before the pandemic hit.
Also known as Emotional Freedom Technique, EFT (or tapping) is a concept that has roots in traditional Chinese medicine. It involves tapping certain points on your body (called meridians) to promote healing.⠀⠀⠀⠀
In February 2020, I read The Tapping Solution for Manifesting Your Greatest Self* by Nick Ortner. Even though it’s one of those one-chapter-a-day books, it took me longer than 21 days to finish (something I’m 100% okay with because I understand that personal development is a process of going at your own pace).⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Anyway, the book helped me to release some stresses and fears I was holding onto (mostly related to my writing), but since then, I’ve used EFT tapping to release other built-up fears and anxieties.
*This link is an Amazon affiliate link. Click here to read my affiliate disclosure.
For example, you can use EFT tapping to release⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
• childhood trauma
• motherhood stresses
• physical pain
• financial stresses⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
In fact, when I first discovered tapping several years ago, it was to help release physical pain.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
I strongly believe that when we don’t properly take care of ourselves, stress can build up in our bodies and then turn into anxiety and physical pain. I believe it because it happened to me.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Only when I finally faced the stress through techniques like tapping, was I able to release the pain and feel better.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
So, mama, if you want to give EFT tapping a try, I highly recommend The Tapping Solution app. This app has many free guided tapping meditations that take about 10-15 minutes to complete. And as someone who was a paid subscriber for most of 2020, if you’re thinking about signing up to unlock all their meditations, I think it’s a worthwhile investment (if you can afford it).⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
The beautiful thing about tapping is that you can do it anywhere and it doesn’t take very much time out of your day. Whenever I tap, I usually experience stress relief immediately, which sometimes means crying it out during my practice. If you experience something similar, know that you aren’t alone and it’s normal to experience deep feelings while tapping. It’s part of the process of giving yourself permission to release them.
28) Set news boundaries⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Something that probably stresses me out more than anything else is watching the news. From the tone of voice the anchors use to the stories discussed, watching the news is a sure-fire way to spike my level of stress and anxiety.
As a general rule of thumb, I only check the news if I’m in a stable mental state and after asking the question, “Do I really need to know what’s going on right now?” I was already doing that before 2020, but I’m especially just paying much more attention to how I’m feeling now. Most of the time, I don’t find the need to check-in.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
For the record, I’m not against staying informed. However, I’m just doing it on my own terms and only when I’m ready to receive it.
If you can’t or don’t want to completely ignore the news, but want to reduce its impact on your stress, I would recommend putting boundaries in place regarding the amount of time you spend consuming news (whether that’s reading it or watching it) and also around which time of day you do it.
At the beginning of the day and at the very end of the day are not the best times to consume the news, in my opinion, because those times of the day either set the stage for the rest of your day (AM) or they set the stage for how well you sleep (PM).
Also, determine how much time you need to stay informed and keep the limit at that. This might mean turning off notifications for news apps so they don’t pop breaking news alerts throughout the day. Pick a point in your day when you can spend maybe 5-10 minutes (you decide how long) consuming news and then don’t check in with it anymore during that day.
Because of the boundaries I have with my own news consumption, I have to remind those around me not to discuss news topics with me right before bed or right when I wake up. It’s okay for you to kindly make the same request.⠀⠀
29) Play games
A friend of mine shared an IG story once that said, “Hey, kids. Let’s play a game. Let’s pretend mom’s invisible today.”⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Ya’ll, I about died laughing! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
While I can totally relate to what she said, that’s not the type of game I’m talking about here.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
When you play a fun game, your body releases endorphins that help you feel calm and less stressed. Endorphins also act as a natural mood booster, so playing a fun game will make you feel happier.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
And the games you choose to play don’t have to include your kids. You can totally wait for them to go to bed, borrow their Nintendo switch and play Super Mario (don’t judge me).
Playing games is a great way to distract your mind from anything that’s stressing you out, especially games that take a lot of focused concentration. Jigsaw puzzles, solitaire and mahjong are great solo games to play if you don’t have someone else to play along with.
30) Say some mantras
I am safe. I’ve been saying that to myself for several years now. Namely whenever I can feel anxiety rising in my chest.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
I am safe.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
It’s how I remind my brain that the thoughts I’m thinking aren’t actually happening to me and that there’s no need to pump my body full of adrenaline.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
I am safe. You are safe.
Mantra’s like this are great because eventually, over time, you’ll have rewired your brain to automatically think, “I am safe” after you have a thought that’s stressful.
For example, I no longer experience an extended period of stress in my body after what I’ll call “close call” driving events. We’ve all had them. You have to dodge a vehicle that’s swerved into your lane. You get cut off and have to slam on your breaks. Things like that.
I used to replay such events in my mind over and over and go through how it could have went very wrong, but now, whenever I experience a “close call” I immediately tell myself “I am safe” because that’s the truth and I don’t have that same spike of stress as before.
Whenever I would replay the event or think of the worst case, I was essentially telling my body that it happened so it would react as if it did. This is because our brains don’t know the difference between what actually happened and what is our imagination. Once I learned that, I started to use mantras like, “I am safe” after stressful events as a way to tell my body that it doesn’t need to flood my body with stress hormones.
Start incorporating mantras like “I am safe” into your day and see how over time, it can really make a difference in your overall stress levels.
To recap this sixth and final post in the series 30 Simple Ways to Reduce Stress Without Leaving Home, here are ways 26 through 30 to reduce stress without leaving home:
- Have fun and dance
- Give EFT tapping a try
- Set boundaries around your news consumption
- Play games
- Say some mantras
I hope that you’ve learned a lot throughout the course of this series.
Remember, how you choose to reduce stress doesn’t have to be this grand thing that is a logistical nightmare to coordinate. The key to living a life of less stress is to make time and practice simple things every day. I hope that this series has left you with many ideas to take from.