When it comes to stress, people who live busy lives are often caught in a vicious cycle. Your responsibilities and various life obligations cause you a lot of stress, and you simply don’t have time to take the measures to counteract and manage said stress. Though you’ll unlikely find the level of calm and peace of mind that someone without a ton of stressors feels, there are ways to better manage your time and some healthy habits you can do with a busy schedule in order to help reduce that stress level. Here are some tips.
It all starts with sleep
Everybody needs enough sleep to maintain overall mental and physical wellness. “Enough” means different things for different people, but if you aren’t getting the amount of sleep that your body requires, it’ll start to let you know – cruelly if necessary. Some that live busy lives feel that they can cut back on the amount of sleep they get in order to fit more actionable hours into the day – either by going to bed later or waking up earlier. One healthy habit you can bestow upon yourself is to not sacrifice your sleep.
“Sleep is so crucial that even slight sleep deprivation or poor sleep can affect memory, judgment and mood.3 In addition to feelings of listlessness, chronic sleep deprivation can contribute to health problems, from obesity and high blood pressure,” says the American Psychological Association.
Yeah. It’s that important.
Stress can often lead to sleep issues, and those with busy lives find themselves unable to get quality sleep even when they want to it. It’s important not to turn to drugs or alcohol to force sleep – as they are habit forming. More healthy options include meditation, daily exercise, and turning your bedroom into a “sleep only” room. This means leaving the TV, computer, work emails, and Facebook out of your bedroom. Once your brain is trained to sleep and sleep only when you’re in bed, you’ll begin to experience better quality sleep.
Fit exercise into your lunch break
Whether it’s a long walk, a 15-minutes workout routine, or just some push-ups in your office, make it habit to fit some exercise into your lunch break every single day.
“It doesn’t take 30 minutes or an hour to eat. So make your lunch break productive,” notes Inc.com. “It doesn’t matter what you do as long as you do something. You’ll burn a few calories, burn off some stress, and feel better when you climb back into the work saddle. And you’ll start to make fitness a part of your daily lifestyle without having to add to your already busy schedule.”
Make time for one-on-one time with yourself
Far away from the distractions of daily life – from work emails to family and relationship obligations – there exists a magical place where you can be alone with your own thoughts. Some may find this sort of daily privacy ludicrous, but it is incredibly important.
Meditation is a great way to reduce stress and give yourself that alone time you need to recharge. It also provides you with the tools you need to stay strong in the face of bad habits.
“Meditating daily will strengthen your willpower muscle. Your urges won’t disappear, but you will be better equipped to manage them. And you will have experience that proves to you that the urge is only a suggestion. You are in control,” notes Harvard Business Review.
With just three easy, free new habits – sleeping better, exercising, and meditating – you can begin a new path to overall mental and physical wellness. By practicing mindfulness, you can better manage the various stressors in your busy life and develop peace of mind that doesn’t rely on substances or other unhealthy habits.