Raise your hand if you've already broken at least one New Year's Resolution (*raises hand*). The New Year can be a great time to set self-improvement goals. But it's also a time of stress. We're headed back to work, the kids are back in school, and we are all trying to make changes to our eating and workout habits. Meanwhile, we are intently focused on the areas of our life that need some TLC.
Together, these factors add stress to our daily lives – as if we didn't have enough to worry about already. Stress keeps us from moving forward towards our goals, leaving us frozen in fear and doubt.
If you're feeling extra anxious right now, we have some ways to reduce New Year's stress and keep you grounded.
And don't worry: falling short of your New Year's Resolution is no reason to abandon your goals. Get back on the horse and keep on keepin' on, sister.
Benefits of Reducing Stress
Overwhelming and chronic stress can have significant impacts on your mental and physical health. Identifying stressors – and then working on ways to manage your stress – is an essential act of self-care.
There are multiple benefits to reducing stress in your life, including:
- Improved sleep
- Better weight control
- Improved mental health
- Increased immunity
- Lower risk of stress-related health problems
Plus, lowering your stress levels can also impact your personal and professional relationships and increase feelings of satisfaction and happiness.
Ways to Reduce New Year Stress
#1 Get Moving
The best way to keep that stress pot from bubbling over? A good, hard sweat session.
Exercise has incredible benefits, both for our bodies and our brains. Working out releases endorphins that impact our mood and help relax tension throughout the body. It also helps to lessen the severity of depression and anxiety symptoms.
And here's more good news: it doesn't take much to trigger feel-good endorphins. Even 30 minutes of physical activity can have a dramatic impact on your overall mood.
Learn more about the body-brain connection here.
#2 Spend Time Between The Sheets
We're not talking about the horizontal tango, although that can help reduce your stress, too. Nope, we are talking about good, old-fashioned sleep.
Sleep deprivation impacts your health. Improper sleep can amplify your stress and leave you feeling overwhelmed.
Aim for getting eight hours of sleep every night, going to bed and waking up at the same time every day (yes, even on weekends). Practice good sleep hygiene habits, such as establishing a pre-bedtime routine and reducing screen time at least 30 minutes before going to sleep.
#3 Watch Your Mouth
Don't worry; you can still curse like a sailor if that's your thing. We're talking about what goes into your mouth – the foods you're eating.
An unhealthy diet can increase stress levels. We've all been hangry at times – some of us more than others (*raises hand again*) – and it's because of our eating habits. Skipping meals or eating sugary, pre-packaged meals can wreak havoc on our blood sugar. Those spikes and drops in blood sugar lead to mood swings, which can also increase your stress level.
Instead, focus on proper nutrition, eating healthy foods throughout the day. Be careful not to skip meals and reduce your sugar and caffeine intake. Hydrate regularly. You might also consider limiting alcohol consumption.
Want more tips for reducing stress through nutrition? Click here!
#4 Give Yourself A Break
Perhaps the most important step to successfully reaching your goals is to accept that you'll never be perfect. Strive for progress rather than perfection. If your resolutions are causing New Year stress, maybe it's time to reevaluate and adjust.
Too often, we set unrealistic expectations for ourselves. We don't give ourselves the grace we afford to others. So if you fall off that clean-eating wagon, or you miss a day at the gym, don't fret. You haven't failed. You've merely taken a step off of the path. Just get back on tomorrow, and keep moving forward.
By offering yourself room to make mistakes, you'll reduce the stress that comes from expecting perfection.
Stress impacts all of us. However, if you're experiencing more stress than usual, it's probably impacting your physical and mental health.
What are your tips for stress relief? Are they helping you navigate the challenges of New Year stress? We want to hear about them! Shoot us a DM on Instagram or reach out on Facebook. We would love to hear your stories.