You’re a busy woman. But between your personal life and your professional life, it’s been one thing after another. And you just can’t take it anymore.
If you have signs of depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or anxiety, you know that stress can take a huge toll on your mental health. Any symptoms you already have become even worse. That ends up stressing you out more. And the vicious cycle begins.
You don’t have time for that nonsense. But, you might also think you don’t have time to do anything about it.
So, when you’re juggling a million marbles, how can you still focus on your own health? Here are 8 ways to keep stress at bay to protect your mental health.
1. Dial It In With Telemedicine
Venting to a therapist can be a lifesaver, but you have to make the appointment, get there, find a babysitter or take off work to go. This is all time—time you may not have.
Consider seeing a therapist who uses telemedicine or does counseling remotely. All you have to do is whip out your phone or laptop and bam: instant therapy, without the hassle of getting to and from your therapist’s place.
2. Squeeze In A Workout
Exercise is one of the best ways to relieve your body of stress. Even just a few minutes of aerobic exercise or a quick walk can ease anxiety and boost your mood. And regular vigorous exercise might even lower your risk of developing depression or anxiety over time.But when you’ve been going all day long, it’s too easy to say “not today.” Instead of trying to squeeze it in when you’re done with your day,
But when you’ve been going all day long, it’s too easy to say “not today.” Instead of trying to squeeze it in when you’re done with your day, schedule it in. For most busy women, if it’s not on a calendar it doesn’t exist. Make it part of your day like anything else that you need to make time for—no more excuses.
3. Put Fast Food In The Rearview Mirror
You may not have time to whip up a gourmet meal, but the fast food drive through cannot be your go-to option.
What you eat can have a serious impact on how you feel. For example, too much caffeine can bring on panic attacks if you have anxiety. And fried or sugar-rich foods can increase your risk of depression. On the other hand, foods like oil-rich fish—such as salmon—and leafy greens can have a positive impact on your mood and overall mental health.Also, pack bags of healthy snacks (e.g., nuts, berries, carrot sticks, yogurt) ahead of time, so you can grab-and-go when you’re in a rush.
Also, pack bags of healthy snacks (e.g., nuts, berries, carrot sticks, yogurt) ahead of time, so you can grab-and-go when you’re in a rush.
4. Satisfy Your Cravings—Without Sacrificing Your Diet
You don’t need a lot of time to get creative with your food. Want a milkshake? Throw four strawberries, a banana, half a cup of milk, and a bunch of ice cubes into a blender. Dying for chocolate? Dip fruit into melted dark chocolate. Quick, easy, delicious, nutritious.
5. Log Off
No, you do not need to check, text, or swipe right before bed. Using your cell phone in the hour before going to bed can make it harder to fall asleep and have a refreshing sleep. And, in addition to just not feeling well rested, a bad night’s sleep can make symptoms of mental health issues worse.
You need that precious beauty sleep time to get your body prepped to fight another day, so put down that phone at least an hour before bed.
Try to find some low-tech ways to relax before going to sleep. So, for instance, if you usually use your phone or tablet for some pre-bedtime reading, try going back to that old-school method of picking up a paper copy of your favorite book or magazine instead.
6. Keep Calm And Meditate
Meditation can ease the symptoms of anxiety and depression—and you don’t need to sit still for an hour to do it. Google “5 minute meditations” and you’ll find plenty of techniques for quick meditations that won’t eat into your day.
7. Deep Breaths, Deep Relaxation
Getting anxious in the middle of the day? Breathe in slowly through your nose, focusing on filling your lower lungs with air. Feel your stomach expand. Slowly exhale and feel your stomach fall. Do this about 10 times. You don’t need anything fancy to do this—you can do it anywhere, from the Uber to the toilet.
8. Do You
This may sound cheesy, but find something you love to do, and get to it. Take up a craft, sign up for a dance lesson, sing, give yourself an hour to watch a rerun of your favorite show for the tenth time—anything that makes you happy.
You might be busy, but you’re never too busy to pass along these tips to a friend who is also stressed out.