For the month of February, we are focusing on self-care. How you take care of yourself has a direct impact on how well you are able to take care of others. It also has a direct impact on your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health. Needless to say, I believe that self-care is extremely important, though often put on the back burner because of life. I get it. I do it too. But that is why I want to focus on it so heavily. We all know how we feel without it. Now it’s time to see how we feel with it in our lives. Just imagine how much more you can focus on your goals and living a happier life if you felt that your needs are also being met.
One of the major topics I want to discuss during our self-care month is stress and ways to deal with it. So many of us are dealing with insane amounts of stress in our daily lives. The rates of people in their 30s having strokes and heart attacks is absolutely terrifying, and a lot of it is stress-related. Stress manifests itself in numerous ways. It can be poor food choices, the need to have a glass (or more) of wine every night, or retail therapy. If not identified and taken care of, it can start to become much more serious. It can become a headache when you have to deal with certain people. It can be a noticeable increase in your level of anxiety. It can turn into high blood pressure, increased inflammation in your body, or a stroke. We need to take care of the stress way before it gets to this point, before it impacts our health further.
Finding the time and energy to de-stress is important to your mental, physical, and emotional well-being. However, HOW you de-stress is also of the utmost importance. By the end of the week, I hear so many comments about needing a glass, or bottle, of wine to get over the stress of the week. To be completely open and honest with you, I have made those comments myself on several occasions. Sometimes I have made it a reality on a Friday night to grab a bottle of wine on my way home from work and pour myself a glass before I even get dinner figured out. And, you know what, sometimes that is ok. The keyword here being sometimes. Alcohol should not be your first thought when it comes to relaxing after a stressful day or week. There are so many other, wonderful, healing ways to de-stress. And that is what I want to focus on today.
Let’s discuss some ways to de-stress after a rough week that don’t include alcohol.
- Bubble bath
- I love a nice hot bubble bath. There is something magical about feeling the stress melt away once you get in and let the heat of the water melt the tension in your muscles. If you don’t like bubbles, you can also put in a few drops of lavender essential oil. That is another favorite of mine. Especially if followed by the next de-stress idea.
- Read a book
- When I’ve had a really rough week and I just want to not think about anything for a while. I will pick a book by one of my favorite authors. To de-stress I do prefer to read fiction and I have a book series that I have read and re-read several times. (Nalini Singh, if you're reading this, I absolutely LOVE your Psy-Changeling Series!)Such a wonderful way to escape the stress of your world, even if it is just a few hours. Really, a few hours is all you need to get out of your head.
- Now I know that this isn’t for everyone. I have friends that think it’s weird for me to love coloring, but I do. I think I’ve always loved coloring. I know that I have definitely always loved it as an adult. As someone who deals with anxiety, coloring is a great way for me to work through the anxious energy that I feel, without driving myself insane.
- Play a video game
- For those that enjoy video games, this can be one of the best ways to relax. While it’s not my go-to for de-stress, I do have a video game that I enjoy playing from time to time. (Any Harvest Moon fans out there?)
- Go to the gym
- Going to the gym to work out your frustrations is awesome! Use your stress to help you stay in shape. If you don’t have a gym membership, go for a walk or a run. Do jumping jacks, crunches, and squats in your house. Just do something physical to use up the adrenaline that comes with stress.
- Dinner with a close friend
- Time with your closest friends should never be taken for granted. Sometimes they are your sounding board. Sometimes, they can read between the lines and know what you really mean when you talk about your stress. Sometimes they are the ones who can tell you exactly what you need to hear, whether you want to hear it or not. And sometimes these are the people that will make you laugh so that you can diffuse the stress a little. These are the people who want to see you happy, why not spend a few hours with them?
- Spa appointment
- I know, this is the most expensive idea on my list. And I know that not everyone can do it. But if you can afford the splurge on a trip to the spa, DO IT! I do want you to consider one thing though. If you can afford to splurge on others for birthdays and holidays, you can afford to splurge on you. You deserve the same care and love that you give to others.
- Take a nap
- This is by far the cheapest and lowest energy way to de-stress. Turn off all the lights, close all the doors, put on your pajamas, and snuggle into the coziness of your bed.
- Stop at your favorite dessert place
- Do you have a favorite dessert? Where can you stop and pick one up on your way home? While I don’t recommend this every day, or every week, this can be a comforting way to de-stress after a rough week.
- Have sex
- I won’t go into details on this one but if you have a healthy sex life, this is another awesome way to de-stress.
These are just a few ideas that you can use to de-stress that don’t include alcohol. Like I said at the beginning of this blog, we are dealing with absolutely ridiculous amounts of stress and how we deal with it has an enormous impact on our health. Self-care is so extremely important to our well-being and how we handle stress is included. Please take this seriously. The inability to de-stress in a healthy way will have a lasting impact.
Now that I’ve started the list, what are some other ways that you can think of? Let me know your favorite way to de-stress that is alcohol-free.