Okay let’s be honest – we’re all trying to decrease stress in our lives. Whether you are 18 or 38…we all have too much on our plates or feel more stress than we’d like to. I’m in the same boat. On top of that – we are still trying to have another baby so it’s EXTRA important to reduce stress as much as possible. In the past month or so I’ve made a few small (but significant!) changes in my day to day life that have made a big difference in decreasing my overall stress.
Even though some of these tips might seem really basic or small…I wanted to share them with you guys today because like I said, they’ve made a big difference in decreasing my overall stress which means…I’m sleeping better at night, not having insane cravings, I feel more present when I’m with people…and who wouldn’t want those things? I am not an expert by any means but these are 5 simple habits I’ve formed that have helped to decrease stress in my life.
one. timing my coffee better
Don’t worry, I’m not about to tell you I’ve cut out caffeine lol no way. However, drinking coffee on an empty stomach first thing in the morning can really spike your cortisol and also negatively impact your hormones. In the past few weeks, when I wake up I now drink hot lemon water (which is great for digestion) while I read my Bible, and then I drink my coffee around 830am when / once I’ve eaten breakfast (so I’m not drinking coffee on an empty stomach). The first morning I did this it was SO HARD haha I’m such a creature of habit and I’m so used to starting my coffee the second I get out of bed. But after I did it one morning, I realized…it wasn’t hard! And I actually enjoyed drinking my coffee a little bit later in the morning (when I really needed it more).
two. shifting my workouts
If you’ve been following me for a while…you know I love to workout first thing in the morning. I would wake up, drink coffee, read my Bible, and get my workout in all before Shiloh ever woke up. I thought ‘this is what works for me. otherwise I won’t do it’, and after meeting with my nutritionist last week I realized how stressful this was actually starting off my day. I’d wake up around 530am, drink coffee on an empty stomach, go do an intense workout, then I’d feel rushed to get shiloh up and fed then get myself ready etc etc and wasn’t making time to really sit down and enjoy a nutritious breakfast with my coffee. So it was essentially cortisol spike after cortisol spike to start my day.
I know this ‘shift’ might not work for everyone but this past week or two…I now wake up and spend un-rushed time with Jesus while I drink my hot lemon water. Then I get Shiloh up and we eat breakfast together and I drink my coffee. Then I fit my workout in wherever it fits – usually for me that’s around 10am but sometimes it’s the afternoon. This has really helped me to start my day off in a calm (and nourished!) state which affects the rest of my day, in the best possible way! I thought I would HATE not working out first thing in the morning but I actually have really liked it. When I would workout at 6am I’d kind of just sleepily hop on the peloton and force myself to feel ready for a 45min HIIT and Hills even though my brain wasn’t even awake yet. Now when I workout later in the day…I feel more in tune with my body and can really think through “what sounds good to my body today? a walk? yoga? a bootcamp class?” and follow through with that!
three. proactively decreasing screentime
This is a habit I started about a year ago but I am still growing in daily. I notice on days when I’m on my phone / computer all day…I feel so stressed / frantic / irritated. Obviously we all need to be on our phones and computers to some extent to work and communicate with people. But there are also times of the day that we CAN carve out to be screen-free-time. For me, one of the most doable times for me to reduce screen time is at night. Starting at 9pm I plug my phone in in the bathroom and don’t look at it again until the morning (I don’t sleep with it by my bed). And then when I wake up in the mornings, I don’t let myself check my phone until after I’ve spent time with Jesus (so, for the first 45mins I’m awake, I do my best not to check my phone).
At first, these changes were HARD to make. But after I did them and noticed how much less stressed and happier I felt…the changes weren’t so hard because they were very fruitful.
Find a time (or times) in your day to carve out screen-free time. Leave your phone in your room, or plug it in somewhere while you make + eat dinner with your family. Whether it’s dinnertime or Saturdays or whatever it might be…find a regular time that you know is screen-free-time and stick with it. I’m constantly trying to carve out more of these pockets of time because it’s been so helpful.
four. creating a ‘wind down’ routine
I’ve shared before that a previous struggle / habit of mine was pouring a glass of wine nearly every single day around 6pm to signify the work day being done, and transitioning into ‘family time’. I’d pour a glass of wine while I cooked dinner and one glass usually turned into two. If you know much about alcohol you know…that glass or two of wine is actually doing nothing to help with your stress or anxiety. In the moment wine might dull your senses but the next day you end up feeling MORE anxious as a result of that wine. Anyway…I’ve been on a journey this past year to drink less and not use alcohol as a way to cope with stress.
What HAS been helpful for me is to have a routine I do around 5 or 6 to transition from the workday into family time. If the weather is nice, we will go for a family walk around 5. Sometimes I’ll open up my journal and just brain dump whatever is stressing me out around 5. Or turn on music and change clothes and dance in my room for 5mins. SOMETHING to break the habit of just pouring a glass of wine that helps me to unwind after the work day is over. I’m still working on this one, so let me know if you have any post work “wind down” tips for me!
five. Apple Watch break
I shared this on my stories a week or so ago…but it’s been almost a month now since I’ve worn my Apple Watch and it feels freaking amazing. I stopped wearing it before our Cabo trip because I didn’t want to be laying by the pool and being ‘buzzed’ constantly by texts or e-mails. (I know, you can turn off notifications, but regardless it’s a smart watch with all of your notifications and the internet on your wrist haha). I’ve always said I loved my watch because it’s so convenient and I can text people back right away etc etc. But after I stopped wearing it I realized how much the constant buzzing on my wrist and feeling the need to respond to people right away was stressing me out. Even if I DIDN’T respond…if I knew I had a text, it stressed me out to just not respond. Or I’d be playing with shiloh and my watch would distract me with something. Plus the rings on the Apple Watch have always messed with my head. If I did a more low impact workout one day like yoga and then I didn’t “hit my move goal”…it messed with me! Not in a big “I’m a failure” type of way but in a way that was just taking up too much brain space for me.
I might go back to wearing my watch again down the road and just turn the notifications off but for now…this is the longest I’ve ever not worn my Apple Watch in probably 5 years and it feels very freeing. Now I am more intentional about when I sit down and respond to me, I don’t feel this pressure to get back with people right away…and it’s really helped relieve some stress in my daily life.
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TBH I could honestly write a novel about this. I feel like everyday I am making shifts in my life to decrease stress and help me be more present with the people I’m with or to just enjoy life more. But, I figured 5 tips is a good place to start haha. Thank you for reading!