15 Stress-Reduction Secrets


Tend to your spirituality. Even if it's only five minutes, spend some time praying, meditating, or reading or listening to inspirational material each day. This is particularly important if you’re spending a lot of time worrying and feel separated from God’s grace and omnipotence.

Be charitable, including your time, tithe and talents. Being generous even during times that require tremendous faith reminds us who, and Whose, we are. It aligns us with spiritual laws governing gratitude and giving and receiving. 

Eat healthily. Ideally, this means lots of fruits and veggies, fish and lean meats, whole grains, going light on fast or junk food, and not skipping meals. But don't beat yourself up over the occasional indulgence, especially during the holidays. Enjoy a bite or two and then get back on track.

Exercise regularly.Get at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week. Try breaking it down into 10-minute increments--say, a little yoga in the morning, a brisk walk around the building at lunch, lifting a few weights at night and salsa dancing on the weekend.

Limit the workweek. Unless it will jeopardize your job, try to avoid working more than 40 hours a week -- unless you love what you do. Yes, this can be difficult during this volatile economy and you don’t want to place yourself at risk; however, overworking can indicate that we need to make different choices, whether at work or at home.

Get a good night's sleep. While individual sleep needs vary, the general recommendation is eight hours. Too many Americans, however, don't get enough slumber.

Express your emotions freely. Of course you can't “lose it” whenever you feel like it, but do honor yourself and reduce inner tension by expressing how you feel in a dignified manner. (This includes learning to say no.) Stuffing our feelings can lead to compulsive behavior such as overeating.

Engage in healthy relationships. As we grow, our relationships need to grow too. During the holidays and when you’re feeling challenged, think about with whom, and how, you're spending your time.

Stay connected. Even when you're very busy, there's nothing like activities with friends and family to keep you feeling grounded.

Tend to your finances. With the economy so uncertain, be sure to set and stick to a budget.

Nurture your creativity. Whether you're writing a poem, painting a picture with your children, or singing in the church or community choir, try to attend to your creative self.

Work toward a personal goal. It's important to prepare for our futures, even when we are responsible for taking care of others.

Soothe yourself. Play music that relaxes you or that you love. Burn candles or incense so that your house smells fragrant.

Floss every day. We all know to brush our teeth, but how many of us floss regularly? The truth is, flossing is vital to preventing gum disease, which can, in turn, lead to systemic inflammation, increasing your risk of heart disease.

Dress attractively. Decorate yourself in a way that expresses who you are. Take risks, step out of your comfort zone, and have fun!

"Emergency" Self-Care Ideas

Sometimes I find that even my strategies to take good care of myself are not enough.That's when I dig into my wellness tool kit, a list of go-to products and resources that calm and center me when I'm feeling particularly anxious:

Aromatherapy oils: I like lavender (calming), geranium (uplifting), orange (brightening), and sandalwood (inspiring).

Herbal teas: I recommend relaxation and tension-taming teas, particularly chamomile.

Fragrant bath oils and salts: My favorites are Carol's Daughter bath products in the Ocean Collection.

Homeopathic remedies: I like those that aid sleep and reduce stress. When I'm very stressed out at bedtime, I also use nutritional supports like Natural Calm, a magnesium supplement that assists with sleep.

Flower power: Rescue Remedy, a line of natural flower-based sprays, drops, and creams byOriginal Bach Flower Essences, has helped me manage even overwhelming emotions.

Counseling or therapy: You may not need this resource on a regular basis, but it's a good idea to include a counselor or therapist in your personal tool kit, particularly during stressful times.