A lavish spa weekend might be super relaxing, but going into debt to pay for it will only cause more stress in the long run.
A new year is here! And while it brings the potential for positive changes and opportunities, the stresses of 2018 are riding into 2019 right along with you. Sadly stress does not work on Cinderella rules: It won’t just turn into a pumpkin when the clock strikes midnight.
Thankfully there are many options for dealing with stress. You could get massages and the full spa treatment every day; you can quit your job and just take a tour of the most relaxing all-inclusive resorts around the world. But unless you have Scrooge McDuck-levels of money, you might need to seek some more affordable options to de-stress.
Thankfully, those options exist! Treating yourself every now and then is important, but spending beyond your means to do so is going to leave you with a lot more stress in the long run.
Here are some ways to break through your stress without also breaking your entire bank account.
Get a hobby.
Wait a minute! Get a hobby? So in order to lower your stress … you should become even busier?!
It all depends on what you’re busy with. Certain activities can be very therapeutic. But don’t just take our word for it!
“Your accountant might not realize this, but you can seriously lower your stress with a satisfying hobby,” explained Yocheved Golani, life coach and writer/editor at E-Counseling.com. “There’s even evidence that gardening adds years to a person’s life. That’s much more fun than having a heart attack or a stroke, and way more affordable.
“Novice gardeners and even some pros use cuttings that they trade with each other for no charge. Broken bits of plants lying about can be rooted, as can the tips of root vegetables cut off from the stuff that went into your salad or soup.
“All this costs only a mere bit of water and some cheap plastic pot, or a ceramic one lying around taking up space. Add plenty of free sunshine. Sacks of soil are quite affordable, so have a go at gardening and see how much money you save on your grocery bills.”
Get into nature.
Nature used to be the primary source of stress for our ancestors. Without supermarkets or animal control, you were constantly in danger of starving or becoming a meal yourself. These days, however, very few Americans are living off the grid and nature can actually reduce the stress of the daily grind.
“A great substitute for a massage or spa is to get into nature,” advised Susan Petang, stress management coach at TheQuietZoneCoaching.com. “Take a walk in a park, the woods, or at the beach. Observe everything around you. Is the sun out? Do you hear birds chirping? What do they sound like? Look at tree bark. Watch the waves. Listen to them crash on the beach. Really see and hear your environment, and find the wonder in it.”
Removing stress from others can take stress away from yourself as well.
“Other affordable and no-cost ways to lower stress include volunteering for causes that you admire,” suggested Golani. “Become a Big Brother or Sister, dole out servings in a soup kitchen, and check out the emotionally pleasing displays when you help out in museums or libraries. Seek out volunteer opportunities with your place of worship, too.”
Close your eyes, center yourself, and slowly breath in and out in a rhythmic fashion. Now open your eyes again so you can continue reading the article.
“The scientific evidence shows that meditation actually can reduce stress!” offered mindfulness trainer and author Joy Rains. “The practice of meditation helps you respond to life’s events consciously, rather than react unconsciously. This can go a long way towards reducing stress.
“For example, if you are waiting in line to pay for your purchases and someone cuts in front of you, rather than going into an immediate stress-related reaction (such as shouting ‘How dare you cut in front of me! I’ve been waiting 20 minutes!’), meditation can help you notice events without having such a strong emotional reaction. You may be able to calmly say to the encroacher, ‘Excuse me please, people are waiting in line here. Please step to the back of the line.’
“Practicing meditation doesn’t have to take long; simply sit in a quiet place for a few minutes, close your eyes and bring all your attention to your breath, noticing your chest rising and falling, or noticing the coolness of the air when you inhale and its warmth when you exhale. Any time your mind wanders—which may be every second or two for beginners— gently bring your attention back to your breath. This practice, even if done for a few minutes a day, can help recharge and center you.”
Get to smellin’.
“Stop and smell the roses” isn’t just a saying!
“Aromatherapy seems to be everywhere these days!” Ruth Klein, author of The De-Stress Diva’s Guide to Life, told us. “You don’t need to join an essential oil subscription service or anything crazy like that, but there are lovely de-stress aromatherapy options out on the market right now that fit any budget.
“Check out your grocery store’s bath and body or first aid section for options. For an even more wallet-friendly option, dry some flowers and make a potpourri sachet that you can tuck in your bag for the day. Whenever you’re feeling stressed out, take a deep inhale and focus on the scent.”
Not everyone has a bath. But if you have a bath, consider taking a bath?
“Take a bath,” suggested Dana Horner, founder of Whole Body Herbs. Things to add that won’t break the bank (or even make a dent): Epsom salt, flower petals from the garden (roses), bubbles, bath bombs, a few drops of essential oils, oatmeal. Does the thought of cleaning the tub afterward stress you out? Put the flowers, oatmeal and other things that won’t dissolve into a cloth bag and either run the bath water over them or let it steep in the tub with you.”
There are also the tried and true classics to consider like spending time with loved ones and exercising. Once you start thinking of de-stressing as a necessary part of your life, you’ll be able to tackle your other required activities more effectively.
Yocheved Golani is a popular writer whose byline has appeared worldwide in print and online. A certified Health Information Management professional, she is a member of Get Help Israel. Certified in Spiritual Chaplaincy (End of Life issues) and in counseling skills, her life coaching for ill people puts healthy perspective into a client’s success plan for achieving desired goals.
Whole Body Herbs was started in 2016 in Los Angeles County. In addition to making high quality, small-batch herbal products, the founder Dana Horner began seeing clients one-on-one, taking a healing journey with them, digging into the root of their health concerns, and finding ways to aid the body in healing itself. Dana is a Certified Herbalist and uses a combination of customized herbal formulas, supplements, dietary analysis and daily, lifestyle practices to help clients be their most vital self possible.
As an award-winning entrepreneur, soul-centered coach and 6-time bestselling author, Ruth Klein (@RuthKlein) used the power of Brand Influencer Positioning to build a 7-figure enterprise. The Wall Street Journal refers to her as “The Marketing Maven for Business.” An international speaker who holds Masters Degrees in Clinical Psychology and Spiritual Psychology, Ruth has been quoted and featured in national and international media – including O: The Oprah Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, Prevention, Chicago Tribune and on all major networks. Over the past five years alone, her clients have generated over $10 million using her Winning Branding Strategies. As a media expert and award-winning speaker, Ruth teaches her clients how to engage and connect with their audiences authentically and organically.
Susan Petang (susanpetang) is a Certified Mindful Lifestyle & Stress Management Coach, and author of The Quiet Zone – Mindful Stress Management for Everyday People. The Quiet Zone Coaching program was developed as the result of her own anxiety survival, and experience managing the stress of daily life. She is the mother of four and lives in New York.
Joy Rains (@joy_rains) is a mindfulness trainer and author of Meditation Illuminated: Simple Ways to Manage Your Busy Mind, a primer for beginning meditators. You can find more information on www.JoyRains.com.
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