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Stress is a never-ending battle for me. I have dealt with the triumvirate of anxiety, stress and depression for a number of years now. Thankfully, I’ve found a few solid go-to strategies that help me manage these stresses and maintain my sanity.
Number 1: Go For Long Walks
The first thing that I reach for is getting out for a long walk. I understand that many of you need to settle for shorter excursions due to time constraints, but I tend to need longer walks to properly decompress. Some of the walks I’ve done have been as far as 25 kilometres (or 15.5 miles). Most aren’t nearly that far, but my point is that I give myself the time to let the magic happen. Once I feel I’ve decompressed enough, I’ll either head for home on foot or grab a bus or train.
Number 2: Be Barefoot in the Woods
Being barefoot in the woods is closely related to the first point, but the important aspect here is the grounding effect of being barefoot and connecting with the soil. Grounding (also known as Earthing) is something our ancestors did every day by virtue of walking barefoot and sitting on the ground. In modern times, few of us really come into contact with the ground.
Dr. James Oschman, an expert in the field of energy medicine, is of the opinion that human beings are “electrical” beings and that grounding serves to balance our electrical potential. A secondary aspect of grounding is that it serves to reduce free radicals in the body by the uptake of free electrons from the ground. This serves to reduce inflammation in the body.
Number 4: Connect with Water
This is a close relation to the prior “Be Barefoot in the Woods” point. For me, the grounding experience is most complete when I am either in or touching the water. It could be floating in the ocean, swimming in a lake or even just soaking my feet in a creek. I find the water entirely soothing and the combination of the relaxation and profound balancing of electrical potential to be a blissful experience.
Number 4: Get a Good Night’s Sleep
A recent review of 350 sleep-study papers determined that the majority of people require 7-to-9 hours of sleep daily. Getting insufficient sleep or having sleep that is interrupted causes us to perform poorly, similar to having consumed alcohol. We may believe we’re fine, but neurologically, we’re experiencing sub-optimal function. I personally find my happiness, sense of wellbeing and stress levels all respond significantly when I under-sleep. Getting adequate sleep changes my day completely.
Number 5: Drink Less Alcohol
As tempting as it might be to drink alcohol to destress and relax at the end of a hard day, the reality for me is that even a couple of beer will cause me to sleep poorly and leaving me feeling decidedly unrested the following day. Because of this close synergy between point 4 and 5, it’s tempting to lump them together, but I think that the alcohol on its own is a big enough culprit to warrant its own point.
In the spirit of full disclaimer: I chose this last photo because of my great love of and my predilection to drink far too much whisky. The bigger issue for me is drinking too much even after I think I should stop. As such, I correctly see myself as a work in progress. That said, I’m getting better. I’m loving myself despite my weaknesses and striving to treat myself better. It’s only fair, after all, that I treat myself with the same love and respect that I encourage others to do.
Much love to you all. May you find this quick list useful.