Tuesday, June 15, 2021

How to Conquer Stress Quickly and Effectively

stress reduction tips, self-care for stress

Stress is inescapable, but learning how to conquer it may be the best self-care goal you initiate and achieve this month, week, or day.

Post updated 5/26/22

Ideas in this post are intended to help you identify your daily stressors, and see them as challenges instead of obstacles. 

Look below to discover powerful self-care practices that are known to zap stress in the bud. Try each one on for size, and choose those that resonate with you. Just know, all can restore physical, mental, and emotional energy lost to stress.

1. Identify your stressors. Learn what triggers tension, anxiety, and unease. Do you agonize about family or personal relationship issues, stew about work related dissatisfaction or job insecurity, feel frantic about a lack of money or debt, or suffer from poor self-image or low self-esteem

Self-care activities and tips

When you practice noticing how often your default setting is negativity and worst case scenario, you're taking the first step in replacing this habit, with more effective coping skills. 

Stressed in America, a post from the Psychological Association of America's Website describes long-term stress more fully, so read it to learn details. 

2. Let go of what you can't control. Affirm you are powerless over every other person, place, or thing in your life. Tell yourself that no amount of worry or obsession about someone else's actions or thinking will help you figure out how to change them. 

Reverting to a fearful place is an old pattern, and waste of your precious time. 

Serenity Prayer at Colors 4 Health

Here's "A Visualization for Letting Things Go You Can't Change," a piece by Dr. Tammy Lenski to get off on the right foot.

3. Make Sleep a Priority. Sleep deprivation makes you more susceptible to stress. Go to sleep at a consistent time every night and try to get from 7-8 hrs. a sleep a night. More about good sleep habits from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) here.

stress reduction tips, self-care for stress

Plan to squeeze in a little extra shut-eye when you need it, and take a 5-10 minute power nap or even a siesta. A 30 minute snooze can boost energy, bring clarity to thinking, and prevent you from becoming groggy or affect your nighttime sleep.

4. Just say no. Say no to those things you do, if the only reason you do them is out of obligation. People pleasing gives you less time for those things that bring you joy. 

Before you agree to take on a new project or buy a new thing say, "I need time to consider that" or "I'll get back to you on that." When you give yourself a chance to pause, you quickly take control of your choice to plan your response. Prevent overextending yourself or your budget by not giving in to doing things your self-preservation instinct feels uncomfortable doing.

5. Watch what you eat. Hunger can worsen your stress level. Don't skip meals, and keep healthy, energy-boosting snacks on hand. A few minutes of food prep planning can help you avoid grabbing high-sugar or high fat snack foods.

Healthful snack foods include fresh fruit and vegetables, and other plant-based proteins like beans, legumes, and whole grains. Stave off cravings for unhealthy foods, by eating an watermelon, apple, orange, banana, peach, celery, carrots, spoon of peanut butter, or veggie smoothie. Nutrient-rich foods including those mentioned above, work to satisfy hunger and elevate your mood.

6. Breathe deeply. Do you get stressed waiting at the drive up line for your morning coffee or feel drained just thinking of how many tasks you have to do? 

stress reduction tips, self-care for stress

Take slow deep breaths and count to thirty. Deep slow breathing prevents anxiety and works to release built up tension anywhere in your body or mind. Specific instructions for deep body breathing is as simple as a, b, and c.

a. Sit comfortably or recline. Next, place one hand on your stomach and place your other hand over your heart.

b. Inhale slowly until you feel your stomach rise. Hold your breath for a moment.

c. Exhale slowly. Feel your stomach fall. Repeat until you feel calm and more relaxed.

7. Enjoy regular exercise. Walking, especially in a natural setting, is an easy, economical way to reduce stress

If you prefer, take part in a sport solo or with family or friends. Do any activity that you like including bike riding, yoga, hiking, baseball, tennis, or ballroom dancing. When you do something you find interesting or fun, it can make the time fly by and rev up your engine as well. 

stress reduction tips, self-care for stress

When your body, mind, or spirit feels uptight, stretch at your desk, or climb a flight of stairs instead of eating that donut. 

Research from the Anxiety & Depression Association of America shows that exercise is considered vital for maintaining mental fitness and reducing stress. 

Exercise reduces fatigue, improves alertness and concentration, and can be especially helpful when stress has depleted your energy or ability to concentrate.

8. Take a Play/Self-care Break. Find a hobby or pastime that makes you feel lighthearted and just do it for 5-10 minutes, either before or after you feel stressed out. 

Laugh and smile often. Laughter has proven to lower levels of stress hormones, reduce inflammation in the arteries, and increase "good" HDL cholesterol. 

Stress Reduction Tips at Colors 4 Health

According to  Harvard Health Publishing, studies show laughter is good for heart health. 💝

Additional Reading

Before you go, please comment below. What self-care habits work to manage stress for you? 

Would you like to set the intention to conquer stress this month, week, or today and why?

What areas do you still need to work on to eliminate underlying issues? 

This post is not intended as medical or mental health advice, and is presented for your information only. 

"If you are unable to reduce your stress or prevent future stressful episodes despite your best efforts, ask your doctor for a referral to a mental health specialist who treats anxiety and stress." Quote from Healthline.

Wishing you a happy low stress season, and many moments where you make the decision to self-care more and stress less.

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  1. What self-care habits work to manage stress for you?
    I pet and love my dog.. Calms me right down.. So soothing.

    What areas do you still need to work on to eliminate underlying issues?
    I am a work in progress.. Retraining myself to not go back to old behavior or habits. One step at a time. Which is sometimes one minute at a time.

    1. Thanks for the input and Yahoo for you. One of the best things I do for myself to remember it's progress not perfection. Have a great day.

  2. So many great ideas! Experience has taught me that they work if I work them!!

  3. Lots of good ideas worth trying as stress can kill us. Thanks so much for linking up with me at the Unlimited Link Party 28. Pinned!

    1. Thanks Dee for your support and comment. My pleasure to join in.

  4. Replies
    1. Thanks so much for the visit and comment. I needed to come back to this post today to zap stress in the bud. Have a wonderful weekend.

  5. It is so important to get a handle on stress and your ideas are so helpful.. Enjoyed reading your post. Thanks Nancy.

    1. Thanks Judee for your kind words. Wishing you an enjoyable day.

  6. Good tips! I have found that prioritizing self-care for me, means making yoga class a priority every night that it is held. I go to a tight-knit studio, and having that hour to do whatever I need to do to work through my emotions and re-center, really helps me a lot.

    BTW, I found my way here from Grammy's Grid. :-)

    1. Thanks so much Bethany for the visit and comment.I agree about yoga. In fact, I devoted a post, "Phenomenal Reasons Yoga Enhances Health" to that very subject. See it at Enjoy the weekend and be well.

  7. Visiting again to say thanks so much for linking up with me at the Unlimited Link Party 29. Pinned again!

  8. Thanks so much for linking up with me at the Unlimited Link Party 30. Pinned!