Managing stress in middle age

I have learned to be more mindful of managing stress as I enter middle age. Things that were not typically stressful in previous years tend to be triggers for stress and anxiety now. Here are 6 things I do to keep my stress under control.

  1. Let it go. No, not the Frozen movie theme song. I mean really, let it go. If something is bothering me, I try to not hold it in/hold a grudge. So either I try to truly let it go, or address it and move on. Life is just too short to keep things bottled up. Oh, and I have this super cool talent of developing weird skin conditions if I don’t let it go. Think shingles, sebaceous hyperplasia, etc.
  2. Move your body. The way I exercise has changed in the middle age years (more on that topic in another blog post), but it is so important. I put my workouts in my calendar, and I am fiercely protective of them. I am proud to say I have only had to cancel a workout for work or other reasons a handful of times this year. I also work out with a trainer. Best investment in myself. I have paid for that time, so I better show up. And if I show up, why not make it worth it? Local folks, check out Chapel Hill Training. It is fun place to sweat it out, and they have options for all budgets.
  3. Run away. I am a big fan of quick weekend getaways, especially water front ones. Time near water is one of the best ways for me to reset and recharge. VRBO even reminds me from time to time that an adventure is needed. I love the website since you can search distance from your home, if pets are allowed, water front, etc. Always read the reviews before booking, though. I have only had one bad experience with my lake therapy trips, but let’s just say the pictures were very flattering of the home. When we pulled into the driveway, my oldest asked if Pennywise from the movie It lived there. A horror movie house was not what we were interested in!
  4. Take screen breaks. I work from home and do a lot of work on the computer. Every day around 3pm, I step away from the screens (yes, I have more than one computer which feels obnoxious) and head outside with a smoothie shake. Just 30 minutes, and I am back to work. But I swear that 30 minute break makes me a lot more productive. This one was hard for me at first, since I did not need breaks in my younger days. I don’t like to waste time, but I am learning that if I take care of me, I can still be productive (and a lot happier).
  5. Garden every day. Ok, this one can be challenging in the winter months, but in spring, summer, and fall, I try to do something outside with plants or veggies every single day. It might just be looking at the flowers, weeding for 15 minutes after dinner, or completing a big project. Being outside makes my heart happy. Honestly, I can feel my mood lifting when I am digging in the dirt.
  6. Take naps. We have “Quiet Hour” at our house on the weekends. You don’t have to nap, per se, although the husband and I never turn down the chance to nap. You can read a book, listen to music, with the goal being to just be still for an hour. I feel like our culture is always saying go, go, go, and my job is to say slow, slow down.

So there you have it folks. Six ways I manage my stress. What about you? How do you recharge and reset in order to stay happy? I would love more ideas!

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