Welcome to the Manage Your Stress series. In these posts, I will share a variety of stress management tools and techniques that can help you reduce and manage stress.
Chronic stress is wreaking havoc on our physical and emotional health. It affects our relations, our work performance and reduces our quality of life.
The good news is that we can reduce and manage our stress so that it does not consume us and take over our lives. We just have to take a little bit of effort.
“I don’t have time” is what I hear the most. Being a parent, working full time, managing your own business, taking care of ailing loved ones and many other life situations seem to leave no room for self-care and stress-management. But, like taking your medications, brushing your teeth, and filling up your tank with gas, we have to find time before our emotional and physical health, and our quality of life, starts to deteriorate rapidly.
There are so many creative ways to manage our stress. Today, we look into journaling.
If you are a writer or wish to improve your writing, journaling can be a great way to practice your writing skills,relieve anxiety and ease worry. Even if you are not a writer, having a journaling practice can be a very healing and rewarding experience. If you have half an hour, great, if only 5 or 10 minutes, that is also great.
Here are some 5 minutes journaling exercises that you can try out. Pick one and stick with it for a few days or cycle between a few of them. Try to write for a full 5 minutes, letting thoughts tumble out of you. Don’t worry about spelling, or details and point form is fine. Let go of perfection and just write:
1. Write down 3 things you are grateful for and why. They can be big things or small things. Here are some examples:
- The weather: I don’t have to wear a heavy winter jacket and my skin can breathe! I feel free. I can eat my lunch outside today.
- Perfect blueberries
- Your favorite blanket
- A niece or nephew
- Your fifth grade science teacher
- That you have a job
- That your printer is working
- A nearby park
2. Write down one thing you accomplished today. Be compassionate. Here are some examples:
- Cleaning the house
- Doing laundry
- Sending out a certain number of emails
- Getting up in the morning
- Making yourself a delicious meal
- Making yourself a healthy meal
- Paying a bill on time
- Meditating for 5 minutes.
- I wrote in my journal for 5 minutes
3. Write down one thing that you will do to take care of yourself today and how that will help you? Here are some examples:
- I will brush my hair before i go to bed. This will feel really good on my scalp and keep my hair from getting too tangled in the morning.
- I will put lotion on my skin before bedtime. I will not feel so dry and tight skinned in the morning. I will smile when I look in the mirror and my skin looks good.
- I will call an old friend and catch up. This will help me feel connected and nostalgic. We will have fun chatting about the fun and silly stuff we did back in the day.
- I will write down all the things I was worried about today in my journal. This will clear my head and help me to organize my thoughts better. I can reflect on what I wrote and perhaps find a way to manage these stressors in a better way? Maybe I will notice that I need to ask for help for certain things, if not stress-management in general.
- I will take a 20 minute walk and enjoy the weather. It will be nice to get some fresh air. I will feel refreshed, get a little bit of exercise and maybe pass by some friendly neighbors.
4. Write down something that you learned today and how you might apply it, or why you found it interesting. At least describe why it caught your attention, even if it was not that interesting at all.
5. Write down your stresses in a Worry Journal. Get your worries and anxieties out of your head and onto the page. This is great exercise to do before bedtime, putting away your worries for the night so that you can have a decent night of sleep.
There are so many journaling exercises that you can use. The important thing is to write a little everyday. Not every exercise will work for you right away and some may not work at all. But keep trying!
Until Next time,