If you're like me, a busy mum, blogger, pet owner, and a wife living the dream (read: endlessly juggling tasks) in gorgeous Brisbane, Australia, you understand that stress is part of life. But I've noticed as well that when I can reduce that stress, my potential seems to unlock in ways I never imagined possible. This led to my deep dive into learning everything I could about stress reduction, and now, I'd love to share what I've learned with all of you.
Let’s start with a quick science lesson. When you experience stress, cortisol spikes in your body. This is your body’s natural reaction to intense or overwhelming situations. And guess what? A little stress isn’t entirely a bad thing. If you’ve ever been chased by a kangaroo during a camping trip (not that I would know…), that stress response is what keeps you on your toes and gets you moving. But when stress becomes chronic, your body's ‘fight or flight’ response never has a chance to rest, leading to a whole host of health issues, from anxiety to heart disease.
To effectively manage your stress, it's crucial you understand what triggers it. For example, your triggers could be work, financial concerns, family surprises (anyone who's tried to find a missing toy at 8:00 pm with zero battery on the flashlight can testify to that!), or even your daily commute. Understand that your stress triggers are personal to you. Jake, my husband, seems to find bliss in environments that send my stress levels spiralling!
Embracing mindfulness can effectively help to manage stress. You might be wondering, ‘What is mindfulness, Harper?’ Well, in the simplest terms, it means being fully present in the moment. As a mom, it can be as simple as immersing yourself completely in a game of Legos with your child. For me, it’s when I’m playing with Lark in our cozy living room or running with Rusty, our energetic Golden Retriever, around the park. We’re not worrying about the future or dwelling on the past. We are just living, right here and right now. Mindfulness can significantly reduce your stress level while enhancing your contentment with life.
Physical exercise is a fantastic way to reduce stress. Yoga, jogging or even doing a fun dance routine can all help you vent your stress in a healthy way. The endorphin boost you get from exercise is a natural way to uplift your mood. Trust me, I've been known to get my groove on and shake it off in the living room – Lark thinks it’s hilarious, and it makes me feel amazing!
You might not think about it, but your diet can significantly affect your stress levels. Caffeine, sugar, and processed foods can all heighten stress, while a diet rich in fruit, vegetables, lean protein and complex carbohydrates can help combat it. I've tried many different diets, and let me tell you, nothing makes me feel better than ending a stress-filled day with a big, colorful salad loaded with all the good stuff!
Your environment can significantly influence your stress levels, and creating a relaxing haven at home can help you de-stress. I love jazzing up our backyard with twinkling fairy lights, comfy outdoor furniture, and a hint of lavender scent filling the air. The moment I step into that space, I feel the tension ease away.
Finding a balance in your daily routine is also crucial. As my spouse Jake often reminds me, it’s essential to work and play in equal measures. So remember to take time to play, laugh, and enjoy the beautiful and simple moments in life.
In conclusion, I've learned that managing stress isn't about eliminating it entirely, but effectively managing it to unlock your full potential. So let's take these lessons, embrace stress reduction, and walk together towards a healthier, happier lifestyle. Remember, every effort you make towards stress reduction will lead you one step closer to unveiling your utmost potential.