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Stress Relief: Are You Living The Right Life For You?

photo: Mike Baird

If you feel like you have a lot of stress in your life, it probably comes from a variety of sources: a difficult boss, your long commute, feeling like there aren’t enough hours in the day, family stressors – it could be a combination of many things. But if you boil it down, it’s really about your life and the choices you are making. So if you’ve been feeling stressed out lately, ask yourself – Are you living the right life for you?

If you really think about it and get honest in your answer, you might find that there are areas in your life that really don’t make up what you think your best life should look like. That may be what’s causing all the stress, and those are the things you want to really consider where there might be room for some changes.

Assess Your Life To See If It’s The Right One For You

One of the best ways to figure out if you are living the right life for you is to do a self-assessment of what’s working for you and what isn’t. Ask yourself these questions:

Physical Health

Am I getting enough sleep?

Is my diet mostly healthy?

Do I exercise? If not, what’s stopping me?

Emotional Health

Do I get upset often? What things upset me? Which of these things can I control?

How do I respond to things that upset me? Do I have good coping mechanisms?

Do I have a good support system, or do I more often feel like I’m on my own?

Overall Checks

What do I do well?

What things in my life am I not doing well that I wish were different? How can I make those things different?

What things constantly pop up in my mind that I feel I should be doing, but never do?

photo: Ed Yourdon

When you start to identify the things that are going well in your life, as well as the things that aren’t going well, you can figure out whether you are truly living the right life for you.

Some of the things that aren’t going well may not be within your control, such as a family illness. But you’d be surprised how many things are in your control if you really think about it.

Everything Is A Choice

I’m a big believer in the idea that life is a series of choices. Everything is a choice – even breathing if you really think about it! Truly, everything is a choice, and there is a consequence for every decision.

You may think that your boss is difficult or you have to deal with a lot of challenging personalities at work, and those things are beyond your control. They aren’t. Your job is a choice you make, and you can choose to leave it. You might not find another job with the same status or the same salary, but maybe you’re better off sacrificing those things in order to live a better life.

You may think you can’t sacrifice salary, because you have a sizable mortgage and a big car payment each month. But those are choices too. Maybe you would be happier taking less salary and living in a smaller house and driving a used car if that allows you to work in a better environment and would make a big difference in your overall well-being.

You get the point – everything in life is a choice. Look at the checklist again and really think about your answers. And then decide if you are living the best life for you, and if not – what can you do to make a change?

21 Quick Ways To De-Stress After Work

 

Many people have stressful days at work, and then they go home and have even more stress dealing with everything that has to get done there. Sound familiar? What you might need is just a few minutes to yourself between the time you get home and the time you start tackling all your evening responsibilities, to de-stress and then move forward with a fresh and relaxed outlook. Try some of these ideas, and see what works for you!

21 Quick Ways to Unwind and De-Stress

1. When you get home, before going in the house, sit on the front steps for a few minutes, maybe sort through the mail or just enjoy the fresh air – and then go in the house.

2. Play a quick game of hide-n-seek with your kids.

3. Kick off your shoes, take off your make-up, and change into some comfy clothes for the evening.

4. Pick some flowers, bring them in the house, and put them in a pretty vase.

5. Spend a few minutes reading a magazine article.

6. Sip a cup of tea before you even think about what’s for dinner.

7. Do a few stretchestouch your toes (or shins or knees), roll your head in circles, raise and lower your shoulders as far as you can.

8. Jump in the shower to signal to your body that you’re shifting between work time and family time.

9. Throw a ball for your dog, pet your cat, or have a chat with your bird.

10. On your way home, park a block away from home and walk the rest of the way. After dinner, walk back and get your car.

11. Take a few minutes to meditate or daydream about your next vacation.

12. Before going in the house, have a quick chat with your neighbor.

13. Before you leave the office, turn off your phone’s ringer. Challenge yourself to leave it off all night.

14. Eat a quick energy-boosting and satisfying snack, like a banana or a handful of almonds.

15. Play catch with your kids for a few minutes.

16. Water your flowers and talk to them while you do it!

17. Tidy up the kitchen a bit before you start dinner.

18. Before you get out of your car, sit quietly, close your eyes, and take three long, full breaths.

19. Listen to your favorite music on your way home.

20. Warm some soothing essential oils to freshen the room and relax your mind.

21. Hug your partner, your kids, your pets, your neighbors, and anyone else you can find!

I hope these tips give you some ideas on healthy, calming ways in which you can transition from work to home – with a little break for you in between. Let me know which ones work for you!