Life moves at the speed of light these days, and we all have to find ways to keep up. The average day for most of us just doesn’t seem to have enough hours in the day: between school, work, family obligations and a social life, by the end of the day you’re stressed and exhausted.
And the pervasive presence of electronics has taken a real toll on people’s ability to unwind: smartphones, laptops and TV’s can arrest our attention and keep us from truly relaxing.
But stress doesn’t have to be a given of everyday life, and you do have a choice about how much stress you encounter on a regular basis. Taking steps to avoid stressful situations, as well as making healthy choices, can lead to a low-stress life.
Make a plan
The value of creating a daily schedule is highly underrated—for people with a ton of things on their plate, keeping appointments or class times straight can be really tough. There are productivity apps for your computer and smartphone like Evernote and Gmail’s calendar feature that can keep you on track and on time every day. Being able to glance at a calendar or a to-do list and see all of your upcoming assignments or meetings can take some of the edge off your day.
Take care of yourself
Eating right, exercising and getting enough sleep are all steps you can take to decrease the amount of stress in your life. It’s been proven that the benefits of exercise include relieving stress and increasing endorphins, the “feel-good” chemical your body manufactures naturally. Of course, finding the time to work out each day might stress you out even more; but making time to exercise will pay off once you start to feel—and see—the effects.
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Unwind and Unplug
Another important step you can take is unplugging from your electronics at the same time every evening. Many people use their phones as an alarm clock, but that’s no reason to keep your phone right next to you, where it can tempt you to check e-mail or your Twitter timeline. Leave your phone on a shelf in your bedroom—and leave your laptop in your living room or study. When you go to bed each night, you should go to sleep. That’s what your bed is for!
Get Comfortable with Work and Education
For students or people with high-stress jobs, it’s critical that you’re able to find a place that you can concentrate and do work without too many distractions. For college students enrolled in online education or telecommuters who work from home, dedicating a room or creating a space for work and study is also a great way to separate work from the rest of your life. Working or studying from home doesn’t exempt you from stressful situations, so do what you can to draw a clear line between work and leisure.
A stress-free lifestyle is nearly impossible, but you can lead a low-stress lifestyle, even if your daily schedule is hectic. Commit to taking care of yourself, making room in your life for relaxation, and the 24 hours you get each day won’t seem like too few.
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I’m an avid traveler and blogger. I love music, art, people and how the three intermingle. I play music and am actively involved in my church. No smoking, no pets, the occasional beer… that’s about it.