Stress: Take Control or It Will Control You

If you’re a human walking the planet Earth, it’s safe to say you deal with stress on a daily basis. Stress is not only inevitable, but it also helps us get shit done when it needs to get done.

The way you move through your day, from the time you wake up in the morning to the time you crawl back under your covers at night, tells the world if you’re controlling your stress or if your stress is controlling you.

Let’s look at your morning routine. Do you choose to wake up with plenty of time to get yourself where you need to be at a leisurely pace (not to mention everyone else you’re responsible for)? Or do you press the snooze button until you’re late and scrambling around? One choice shows stress who’s boss. The other sets a less than optimal tone for the rest of the day.

In his blog post “Top 5 Hacks for a Great Morning Routine,” personal trainer Cristian Baratiak offers some great ideas that can give you the edge over stress each morning and throughout the day. But if you want to set yourself up for success, you’re going to need to roll out of bed with enough time to make it happen (see hack #3).

Just getting out of bed at a reasonable time is an uncomplicated way to take control of stress. Commit to it and you won’t look back.

Okay, you’ve set yourself up for a good start to your day and made it through your morning responsibilities with an even demeanor. It’s time for lunch. The choice you make here will decide if your afternoon continues to be productive or if you spend it looking for ways to sneak in a nap.

Skipping the drive-thru and packing a nutritious lunch instead is the answer, my friends. Take the initiative and make your lunchtime a cinch. Start by roasting a chicken that you can turn into chicken salad or toss with some dark leafy greens. Not only will this reduce the mental stress of the “What’s for lunch?” question, but it will also reduce the inflammatory physical stress that drive-thru food puts on your body. And it will keep you on task so you won’t fall behind on whatever the afternoon requires of you.

Who knew that making healthy lunchtime food choices could help you control all sorts of stressors in your day? Make it a habit and you’ll see the benefits.

Your afternoon proved uneventful (just the way you like it), and now your evening duties are staring you in the face. Do you have a plan, or are you winging it? It would be a shame to end such a stellar day with a stressful dinner.

Choosing to develop a weekly meal plan will help you make it to bedtime without a care in the world. Taking the time to plan it out and recruiting the suggestions of everyone you’re feeding eliminates the need to make last minute decisions—which aren’t always the healthiest.

Planning ahead for dinner tells stress that you aren’t interested in ruining the good run you’ve had today. Status quo can be your ally.

Now that everyone has a full tummy, it’s time for your bedtime routine. Do you stare at a screen of some kind until you close your eyes, or do you pick up one of the books sitting next to your bed? The choice you make here can determine whether you drift off into a rejuvenating slumber or a restless night.

In “Insomnia Relief! Help from a Former Insomniac,” Maria Atwood offers firsthand advice for anyone struggling with insomnia. Be sure to check it out for tips that will help you take control of this frustrating nighttime stressor. Or maybe you just need a new pillow. 🙂

Everything we do throughout our day affects how we sleep at night. Taking control of possible stressors we can see coming makes for healthy sleep each night.

Whether you’re stressed about a work deadline or just getting your family where they need to be each day (and on time), you do have choices when it comes to controlling your stress or letting it control you. Which one do you choose?

Image from iStock/SasinParaksa

Paula Widish

Paula Widish, author of Trophia: Simple Steps to Everyday Self-Health, is a freelance writer and self-healther. She loves nothing more than sharing tidbits of information she discovers with others. (Actually, she loves her family more than that—and probably bacon too.) Paula has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Public Relations and is a Certified Professional Life Coach through International Coach Academy.

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