9 Unique Stress Management Tips
to Try This Year
Every new year brings new stressors. Instead of relying on old methods that haven’t changed anything for you, why not branch out and try something new that could help keep your stress levels under control?
These unique techniques can help you learn how to manage your stress efficiently, allowing you to enjoy every moment of leisure you can.
1. Unleash Your Creativity
Find something creative that soothes your mind and your soul. Don’t think of it as an “art project” — doing so might trick your brain into thinking that it’s an item on your to-do list that you must dedicate focus to. Making art can decrease cortisol levels and stress, even if you don’t consider yourself an artist or have never attempted it.
You can dip into art in multiple ways. Try painting a scene with your feelings, or you could build a fictional world from the ground up through writing. You can make music and teach yourself how to play an instrument. Whatever the case, make sure you appreciate yourself and the art you create, and unleash your innate creativity.
2. Watch Your Diet
Have you heard the saying “you are what you eat”? What goes into your body can drastically affect your mood and behavior. It could even affect how you tolerate stress. Stress can also cause you to overeat or simply not eat enough, leaving your body open to attacks from illnesses. Make sure to eat a balanced diet to ensure that you’re getting the proper nutrients your body needs and not putting excess stress on it.
3. Schedule Downtime
In a world where everything is scheduled, you may need to pencil in some downtime for yourself. You may have appointments, games, recitals and so much more to keep up with as a parent, or your work schedule may be overloading you to the point where you can’t think about anything but your to-do list, even to the point that it affects your sleeping habits negatively. That feeling is a sure sign that you need a break.
Scheduling downtime doesn’t have to be difficult, nor do you have to structure it in the same way you would your projects. Simply allow yourself enough time to decompress in any way you choose — whether that’s reading a book, taking a walk or playing video games.
4. Create Boundaries
Examine what’s stressing you out. If relationships in your life are harming you rather than benefiting you, consider whether you really need those people in your life. Maturity helps you recognize which people add nothing but negativity to your life and worldview. These people may try to one-up you in your suffering and declare that you don’t have it as bad as they do, or they may never offer to help you, check on you or say anything positive around you.
Friends don’t treat their friends like they’re expendable. Someone who cares for you will make an effort to talk to you and help you, even if it’s not constant due to ups and downs in their own life.
If the person in mind is someone you can’t avoid, like family, you may have to go low contact until you feel comfortable enough or until they respect your boundaries enough to be a consistently positive presence in your life. With boundaries, you may find that even the most difficult relationships feel like old times.
5. Use Guided Imagery
Guided imagery walks you through relaxation, allowing you to release tension in your whole body by picturing an environment, scene or closed room in your mind’s eye. Someone narrates through a video or audio file — all you have to do is close your eyes and tap into a bit of your imagination.
This form of meditation can allow you to relax without much contribution. You can picture yourself in your “happy place” or anywhere in the world — all you have to do is find the video or audio that allows you to be there.
6. Try Affirmations
Affirmations are simply tiny sayings that can make you feel more positively about yourself and your achievements. If you only show negative self-talk or don’t think you’ve accomplished enough, choosing to write down affirmations and keep them within sight or recite them can improve your outlook.
Surrounding yourself with positive words is bound to influence how you think about yourself. If you tell yourself that you’re capable of handling stress like a pro, then who could deny that?
7. Use Your Nose
Scents can affect your mood. You might choose to smell something that could bring back fond memories of your childhood, or maybe you should opt for lavender, which is known for its calming properties and its ability to ease the symptoms of depression. If you’ve never tried aromatherapy before, now may be the best time to start.
8. Cut Back on Bad Habits
Habits like smoking and drinking can be detrimental to your health. They heighten your risks for certain diseases or conditions, especially regarding your lungs and liver, that immediately stopping can help reduce. Even light smoking can carry certain detriments to your health, so it’s better to wean yourself off of the negative, detrimental habits when you can. Once you live without them, you’ll notice that some of your stress and anxiety may subside as a result of your health improving.
9. Get Enough Sleep
The average adult needs over seven hours of sleep to feel rested. If you aren’t getting enough rest at night, it could lead to your irritability and how you respond to certain stimuli. Getting enough sleep can help you function better in your daily life, thus allowing you to perform better at work and home. You might find that once your working efficiency improves, your stress decreases.
You may also analyze your sleeping environment. Consider getting blackout curtains if you have an issue with light trickling into your room while sleeping. You might also want to invest in a new mattress if the one you sleep on is old or falling apart. Prepare your bedroom for the best sleep of your life, and you’ll get it.
Further Reading from Skills You Need
Understand and Manage Stress in Your Life
Learn more about the nature of stress and how you can effectively cope with stress at work, at home and in life generally. The Skills You Need Guide to Stress and Stress Management eBook covers all you need to know to help you through those stressful times and become more resilient.
A New Year Means New Opportunities
Managing your stress has several unique benefits that can help you in the short and long term, such as lowering your risk of cardiovascular diseases and allowing you to focus on the present and enjoy your time alone or with loved ones. Managing stress is key to a healthier, happier life. Try these new techniques for a more peaceful way of living this year.
About the Author
Ava Roman (she/her) is the Managing Editor of Revivalist, a women’s lifestyle magazine that empowers women to live their most authentic life. When Ava is not writing you'll find her in a yoga class, advocating for body positivity, whipping up something delicious in the kitchen,
or smashing the patriarchy.