Below are eight simple strategies you can adopt to get ahead of stress before it may overwhelm you:
Plan your day the night before
Plan your next day the evening before. Before bed, close your eyes and visualize what you want your next day to be. Then write out a complete list of all the things you need to accomplish.
Try the 3-3-5 breathing exercise
Implement the 3-3-5 breathing exercise in your daily routine or something similar. Simply breathe in through your nose for three counts, hold it in for three counts, and then release it through the mouth for five counts. It’s simple, highly effective and can be done anywhere at any time.
Close your eyes and do a body scan
Close your eyes and notice your bodily sensations, especially how your stomach and neck feel. By scanning your body, you can take a moment to acknowledge where you are holding tension, and then take a stretch/break when needed.
Focus on the solution, not the problem
Focus on the solution instead of the problem. When you start focusing on the problem, you get flooded with toxic hormones and chemical reactions. When you focus on the solution, it helps you stay present and look toward the future with hope. The small shift can make a huge difference.
Carve out breaks in your schedule
When you know you have a very busy, stressful day ahead, make sure that you leave gaps of time so you can have a little quiet downtime. Make some tea, sit quietly and breathe or similar to give your brain a rest.
Take a moment to go outside
Head to the park or beach before you get too stressed out, even for five minutes, but the longer the better.
Ask yourself how you’d advise a friend
To get ahead of stress, ask yourself, ‘If I were going to troubleshoot this problem for a friend, what would I suggest?’ This question may help you reframe. Sometimes simply having a list of a few options helps you become more proactive instead of reactive.
Make time for self-care
Getting ahead of stress is about the non-negotiables: those daily activities linked to self-care. Some examples may be meditating, exercise, walking the dog and reading. Such rituals can help to keep you balanced and give you space to be able to cope better when more complex emotions are challenged.