1. Take a one-minute nap.
Here’s what you do: set a timer for one minute. Close your eyes. Breathe and be quiet. That’s it. If you have more than a minute to spare, then do the same exercise for three, four, or five minutes. (If anything longer opens up in your schedule, go take a legit nap straight away.) But you always have time for 60 seconds of stillness, and your mind and body will absolutely benefit from pressing pause.
2. Drink a glass of water.
Did you know that stress can lead to dehydration? If you’re feeling tense, taking a moment to drink a glass of water can be a short-term fix. When I’m tired or experiencing low energy, downing some H2O forces me to slow down and often creates a ripple effect (pun intended) in terms of paying attention to how I nourish and care for myself.
Because, let’s be honest: if I’m stressed, I’m probably ignoring my body’s signals in general. (Like, probably drinking a ton of caffeine and eating all the sugar.). A water break allows me to reset and regroup.
First, we consume an absurd amount of images and words all day, every day, and much of it is negative. Second, most of us are habitually, obsessively tied to our electronic devices…and we rely on those devices to distract us from our daily worries and help us “relax.”
While there’s nothing wrong with a little snapchat and Instagram at the end of a long work day, I’ve found that staying attached does more harm than good when I already feel stressed. I try to give myself a real, honest-to-goodness break from technology once in a while, and then I prioritize other forms of connection.
When you unplug, you have an opportunity to savor the sensations, smells, tastes, and sounds of your life happening right in that very moment, up close and personal.
4. Tackle one task off your to-do list.
I will make long, broad to-do lists that serve as a “brain dump” for literally every single task circling my brain. Sure, it feels good to jot these little tasks down on paper, but when it comes to getting shit done? Uh, I look at my list with a shudder and immediately procrastinate as long as possible.
But I do love the high of accomplishment associated with productivity. The solution when stressed is to pick one thing to do. Just one. It doesn’t have to be a big deal, either; in fact, it’s better if it is crazy small. Wipe down the kitchen counters instead of cleaning your whole place. Call the dentist on your commute to work. Respond to an email lingering in your inbox.
Doing one thing will make you feel better than stressing about all the things before doing nothing, I swear.
5. Count your blessings.
Let’s count start counting your blessings: such as warm, safe roof over your head in the first place. Many situations—major financial struggles, health scares, lack of safety—those things are truly worth stressing over. Practice gratitude for what’s already abundant in your life.