5 Ways I Reduce Stress and Boost My Mental Health

September 15, 2012

The past few weeks have been stressful for me.  It is when I am under the most stress that I find it hard to reduce my stress and boost my mental health.  However, when I do not do the following things, I am quickly reminded to get back to incorporating them in my life.

1.  Exercise

I have found that regular exercise is one of the best ways to reduce my stress and boost my mental health.  It is not always easy to find the time or to get motivated to exercise BUT I have found it can bring me out of a down and difficult time.  Sometimes all I can do is jump 10 to 15 minutes on my Rebounder (mini-trampoline).  When I do my blood gets pumping and my mood improves.  Whenever I have the time, I incorporate strength training as well.

2.  Prayer and Meditation

I always start my day with prayer.  I find that it puts my day in perspective and balances my mind and spirit.   If I did not have my faith, I would not see my higher purpose.  If it was not for prayer and the prayers of those around me, I literally would not be able to write this blog or help others.

3.  Spending Time with My Family and Friends

When things are not going well and I find myself feeling down, I reach out to my family and friends for encouragement and support.  I do not live close to my family but they are always a phone call away.  If family is not available, I reach out to my friends.  I am blessed to be able to get together regularly with a group of my female friends.  They are always willing to listen and encourage me when I need it the most.  For me, when I feel isolated, it can be hard to pick-up the phone and call a friend but I do it anyway.  I feel better when I reach out to others.

4.  Keeping a Schedule or Routine

This can be a tough one but when I get out of my schedule and routine, I find I am more susceptible to feeling overwhelmed, stressed or depressed.  Sometimes life gets hectic and things do not always get done when they need to get done.  But if I stick to a routine, I can prioritize my day.  If my day does not go as expected, I try not to be critical of myself.  I have learned that some things can wait and sometimes the unexpected turns out to be a blessing.  I find schedules to be a guideline and that they need to be flexible.

5.  Keeping a Healthy Diet

I have found that when I eat foods that are fatty and high in sugar, it may be a comfort at first, but then it makes me sluggish and tired.  Eating healthy during times of stress can be a challenge.  It is so much easier when time is limited to grab fast food or unhealthy snacks.  Sadly, such food is so readily available that it can be hard to make the healthiest food choices.  Thankfully, there are now healthier options even when you have to eat on the run.  There are times, when I am stressed, that I have to force myself to make the best food choices.  If I get off track, I do not beat myself up but rather make healthier choices the next day.  I have found that taking regular vitamins and nutritional supplements help me, especially during the times when I am stressed and not able to make the healthiest food choices.

No matter what the situation, I have found that eventually things improve before the next trial comes my way.  The 5 things I have listed above are what works for me.  I would love to hear from others on what works for them.  Please comment on my blog below.  I look forward to hearing from you.