How often do you ask yourself, “How Can I Reduce My Stress?” There are several other methods you can use to relax or reduce stress, including: deep breathing, walking, biofeedback, journaling, reducing caffeine and more.
Take actions from today’s podcast on How Can I Reduce My Stress?:
- Understand the consequences of long term stress
- Be aware of your emotional, physical, mental and behavioral systems of stress
- Know what causes you stress
- Create a plan to reduce your stress
Certified life coach, author & award-winning professional life organizer Julie Coraccio shares steps and tips to support you in creating the life you choose, deserve and desire through decluttering your life, mindfulness and how to organize your life.
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Julie Coraccio 0:04
Today on Clear Your Clutter inside now, we’re talking about stress reduction. Do you feel like your roll from one crisis to the next? Are you often harried never slowing down? Or overwhelmed? Have you found yourself trying to get off the roller coaster of crazy life? But haven’t figured out how to learn about reducing your stress as we wrap up our month focusing on hodgepodge? Do you control your clutter? Or does your clutter control you? Unclear your clutter inside now, we’ll teach you awareness as well as action steps to create change in your life. Come on, let’s get started. Today’s episode was inspired. Because I did an okay job. But the past for about 13 or 14 months, being stressed out with my mom, with moving with health. This is a little bit different. We’re talking about rest and relaxation this month, so slightly different. But it’s always to have a good reminder, it’s always good to have a reminder to have a plan about stress. Because I think we’re like yeah, yeah, I need to reduce my stress. And then don’t do anything about it. So if you’ve been thinking, wow, I need to really reduce my stress. I’ve been a little bit anxious lately. Hopefully this will serve as a reminder and get you thing to think about things maybe you didn’t, or how you can reduce your stress. Most of our visits to the doctor are stress related. If you’re allowing time to rest, you’re most likely de stress but not always. I mean, you can spend time resting and relaxation and still be stressed out. I went to the ER twice this past year, most stress related, I went I was like oh my gosh, I had this headache and I don’t get headaches. And they did these tests. And they’re like, Yeah, you’re stressed out. And because I so rarely get headaches. I legit thought something was wrong. But again, I hadn’t managed my stress. Well, everything was up in West Virginia took them a long time to build me. But I have to tell you only build the $200. And I was stressed out about that. Because I’m like if I go to the ER, it’s out of state because I’m still in North Carolina, what’s gonna happen, right? So the irony of going to check out health concerns, adding more stress. And the same thing when I went again, it was probably acid reflux when I was worried about a heart attack. But after a mom had a heart attack, and then go on delayed, and I’m convinced if she would have listened and gone to the ER, right away, they would have prevented her from having a heart attack and potentially the stroke and she’d still be around. So because of that. I’m just like, I’m going to go to the ER if I think that it’s something that I need to do. So what are the consequences of long term stress? Sometimes we’re like, yeah, no, I need to reduce my stress. We don’t think what’s happening if I’m under a bunch of stress, have mental health problems such as depression. Anxiety actually can contribute personality disorders, which I didn’t know. Cardiovascular disease, heart disease, high blood pressure, my brother got super stressed out and had an insane blood pressure and they’re like it’s related to anxiety that’s related to stress. I would have never guessed that that stress alone can jack up your blood pressure like that. Also have an abnormal heart rhythms, heart attacks and stroke. cause obesity and other eating disorders. I’m a stress eater I get that makes total sense to me can cause menstrual problems, skin and hair problems such as acne, psoriasis, eczema, and permanent hair loss can mess with our intestinal and digestive issues with GERD gastritis also serve TATIVE colitis and an irritable column. So how do you know if you have too much stress? I got a lot of this information from WebMD. And I was excited because they talked about it in different categories, which I think is really important. So let’s look at your emotional state. Are you easily agitated, frustrated, moody. Now my husband is going to argue that I’m moody, probably easily agitated and I’m hoping to get another couple weeks to get through some things and I’ll be in a place where that’s not going to happen as much. Are you feeling overwhelmed? Like you’re gonna lose control or you need to take control.
If you’re having difficulty relaxing or quieting your mind like that monkey mind, always going going. If you feel bad about yourself, or if you’re lonely a lot, you know you can be a single person and not be lonely. I’ve met plenty of single people who aren’t lonely. So it’s not about being by yourself. If you feel worthless or depressed, you’re avoiding others. Like I’m just gonna stay in bed and put the covers over my head. And that can be a sign that you’re stressed out. What are physical symptoms? Low Energy. Let’s see I wouldn’t have related low energy distress until reading and doing some research headaches, which I did not know. Upset tummies, diarrhea, constipation and nausea, aches, pains and tense muscles again, I would have never, that makes sense if you’re kind of tight. And you’re always stressed out how that would happen. Chest pain and rapid heartbeat. So I don’t even think probably it was acid reflux. Now that I went the second time on er, I think it was just again, I was completely stressed out insomnia. Frequent colds and infections, nervousness and shaking rain, the ear, cold or sweaty hands and feet, dry mouth or difficulty swallowing, clenched jaw and grinding your teeth. Just take a moment, I want you to feel the back of your jaw. I have been doing massaging lately because I was like, Wow, are doing this like, ah, you know, moving your jaw way down and opening it up. Your dentist will let you know if you’re grinding teeth if you’re getting your teeth checked regularly. But we hold an incredible amount of tension in there. That’s a good thing check now and just check your jaw see or John and maybe move sighs that a couple minutes a day. So some mental symptoms of stress, constant worry racing thoughts. And if you’re having racing thoughts, you’re most likely having Racing, racing heartbeat, forgetfulness and disorganization. I mean, I understand that when people have clutter and are disorganized, I get that stress can absolutely be a part of that. If not the main reason why can’t focus if you’re stressed out. Your judgment also usually isn’t as good. You know, I’m just gonna make a decision. I’m so stressed out, I don’t want to take into consideration anything, let’s just do this. And it’s not a good decision. being pessimistic, pessimistic or seeing only the negative side, you know, you can understand if you feel like this weight is on you why that would be your main way to react just I’m just me negative. And you know, a lot of times you aren’t even aware of it. And some behavioral symptoms that might tell you, you’re under more stress and you realize your changes in appetite. Maybe you’re eating way more. Or maybe you’re eating way less, I know that I am a stress eater, but if I get to a certain point of stress, I don’t eat. procrastinating, avoiding responsibilities. And again, this is why you want to be gentle on yourself. If you’re like, gosh, always procrastinate. Maybe you’ve just had this low grade stress for a long time and haven’t realized that and that’s one of your ways to respond. If you’ve increased alcohol, maybe smoking, maybe other not so great behaviors that are unhealthy, chewing tobacco, something like that. Or if you do nervous behaviors like biting your nails or fidgeting or pacing. I know someone when they’re stressed they rub their thumb and forefingers together like this. It’s like a nervous habit. So I’ve noticed that that’s something that I have to look out for. Okay, are they starting to do that I’ve got to gauge their stress level.
So what causes stress? Right, if we can get to the root cause of anything, then we are more likely to be successful to eliminate it. Because if you have something in your life, that’s stressful. If you keep having it and don’t eliminate it, then you’re gonna be in trouble. Big one disliking your job, being in the wrong job hating your job, just your overwork. That can be a huge thing. One of the things that I appreciate about COVID is that it gave a lot of people an opportunity to work from home so I feel like if you had people that you didn’t like that you worked with that that could be a benefit or just not having to commute. I think a lot of ways, allowing people to work for Home definitely made, made a difference. Or if you know, you’re like, wow, I really dig my job. But you’ve got a huge workload, or too much responsibility. I see all these people trying to fill positions. I laughed, like, took my aunt to get eye surgery. The other day I went and I got a salad. And she’s like, are you looking for a job? And I’m like, Oh, well, I take that as a huge compliment, because I just might look good enough to want to hire and I said, No, I’m actually sorry, not from around the area I’m here is actually pretty cool. I said, all my aunt’s getting eye surgeries at all. If you need to charge your phone to call her anything, we just couldn’t have been nicer. But if you know, you could tell, she’s probably stressed out because if she doesn’t have enough workers, as a manager, she’s carrying a heavier workload, or you’re working long hours. You know, Tony has worked. One of the things I’m grateful for is, I think, I don’t know if it’s at Thanksgiving or right before Thanksgiving. But usually around that time, the end of the year, they have a moratorium on making changes. And I won’t describe this properly, but it’s about updating their stuff. And so, you know, I mean, he will work 50, sometimes 55 hours in a four hour work day, it’s a lot. And I’m grateful that the commute is now we had to put his office in the basement but upstairs that’s it doesn’t have to drive, working long hours is stressful. If you have a manager, that’s not good, I had a manager that was horrible. I’ve had also had really great managers complete different and your stress level, or if it’s unclear what expectations you have of work. Or if you don’t have any say, in making decisions or they’re just don’t want you to be an active participant that can add to your stress. Or if you’re in dangerous conditions, I wouldn’t want to be working in a hospital now. Until COVID is more under control, or you know, you’re discriminated or harassed at work, of course, that’s going to add your stress. And some things you have control over a limited amount of control sometime and something you don’t have control over at all. But your work quality of work life has a huge impact on your stress level. Life can cause a stress, death of a loved one, you know, I’m still processing that. I’m still in the grief process I’m grieving. It’s not a fun place to be divorce. Even if your jobs kind of stinky and you lose it, I’ve been laid off twice, incredibly stressful, maybe have an increase in financial obligations, you have to pay for a new baby, or your partner loses their job or you’re sending a kid to college, you know, and all of a sudden you have more expenses. Getting married can be stressful. And I have to admit it really wasn’t for me. I got married later in life and maybe that had an impact but it was less stressful for me more stressful. I’d say we moved in on Tony and Joey moved in not as a bad thing. Like oh, you know, now you’re living with someone you have to adjust your lifestyle and do all that. So in that sense, do you have a chronic illness or injury, big impact on your stress level. If you have some emotional stuff going on depression, anger, guilt, low self esteem, shame, all of that can add your stress your caregiver, I don’t regret anything that I did to help take care of my mom. But it was stressful for months driving from North Carolina, West Virginia, and spending a third of my time up here. And doing that and then moving in with my parents for two months. And with the cats and with Tony and grateful that we had the second floor bedroom and bathroom and older ourselves but it was so incredibly stressful.
Does the thought of clearing your clutter overwhelm you? Clear Your Clutter inside now has 21 standalone chapters to fit your schedule and lifestyle. Stop being afraid gain clarity and go at your own pace. The Clear Your Clutter inside not workbook lets you record your thoughts step by step as you go through the book. Free mp3 meditation with purchase. get control of your clutter, so your clutter doesn’t control you. Reclaim time, money, sanity and resources. Learn more at reawaken your brilliance calm and also available for purchase on Amazon or if you are in a traumatic event, you are in a natural disaster, you witness crime, or you’re a victim of a crime, or you have identity theft, I mean, something like that connect, completely skyrocket your stress. You know, worrying is what did my father always say about worrying? It’s like borrowing, borrowing stress, or something that he used to say, cuz like, don’t know what’s going to happen. You can increase your stress, with warning, with things being afraid, or fearing what’s uncertain. I always am a firm believer of taking a big break from news, because we hear about terrorist attacks, global warming, toxic chemicals, crazy road rage, and that’s going to add your stress. Because you feel like you, you really don’t you don’t have control over those events. If it is something that happens close to home, like I just had a talk with the woman I do mastermind with, and I didn’t know she was in Manhattan when 911 happened. And I said, I had no idea that you were in and it was fascinating talking to her. She shared our experiences on the day. And so anyway, they left they had a couple she was in the ad agency and a couple people live, like within five, six blocks. And so he divvied up and went to different people’s apartment who were close by shocked about she said, so all the streets were filled with people and it was silent. Except for the sirens that you’d hear. And I can’t even imagine these massive crowds. And so she’s like, I don’t even think I can explain it. But just the silence. And so of course, for someone who experienced 911. And I would say, You know what, if I lived in New York, and it went through 911, there, there was even within a close proximity to it. I would have a low grade stress about still living there. I really would. I don’t know how people could have continued to live there. And she shared, you know, I went to work the next day, and I’m not gonna let them get man, she said by 1130, she had to leave, she just couldn’t take it. So I can imagine that that would be causing just kind of that stress, that low grade stress in the background that never really goes away. But you can also have fears of not finishing a project on time or not having money to pay bills each month. And that can lead to fear and uncertainty. And of course, you can understand why that would stress you out your attitude and perceptions how you view the world. And situation is going to determine your stress level. Say that you’re robbed. You’d be like, Okay, well, insurance is going to cover it. Or you can say what if they come back again and hurt me. Or it’s only going to get worse, or we need to move right? And then you create all these situations. I also talk to you when I took my aunt this week, there for hours behind schedule on the past, I would have stood about it and gotten really upset. And I’m like, yeah, what can I do? And realistic expectations. No one’s perfect. You expect to do everything right all the time, you are just going to be in stress mode. Because what happens also when life doesn’t go as you hope or expect. You’ve just added to your stress level. changes. Another thing that can add to stress. I used to say I was like a cat and hated change. Even a change. Like you’re like, Oh, I’m getting married, that can still be stressful. Or you get a job promotion, that can be stressful. Divorce, financial setbacks, a death in the family. All are changes. But it’s how you respond and how you’re able to adapt to it, it’s gonna make a difference. How can you reduce your stress,
be healthy, eat and drink well. Maybe you have to quit drinking or eating too much. Caffeine can also add to your stress. If you eat mainly a healthy, balanced diet that can support you and combating stress. I talked about finding out had sleep apnea recently. Get yourself tested. If you have it. You’re not sleeping, that’s going to add to your stress. Exercise regularly. It’s been shown to be very helpful. One of the things I’m trying to do I laugh now that we’re in West Virginia, I’m like oh my gosh, nice and flat. And we are in a place called Forest Hills, which I think is an app description. Lots of trees and lots of hills and so on We have a little flat thing that when we do our constitutional now that it’s fall and dark and winter, we will do the little flat thing twice. But when we summer, and it’s spring, and then we will go up kind of the bigger hill. And I’m like, Okay, I’m going to conquer these hills, and then I’m going to conquer the surrounding hills. But I know that when I exercise and I get my steps, my new goal is 7000 steps a day because I read, did some research and found some information. They said that 10 is kind of arbitrary, but so my goal is 7000 a day. It doesn’t have to be rubbing exercise is good for you. But consider things like strength training with weights, yoga, tai chi. When you do robic exercise that releases endorphins and helps feel better, and helps you be more positive, right? If you’re more positive, then you will have less stress because you’ll be able to handle things better. quit tobacco and nicotine. Many times people think I’m gonna have a cigarette and it’s relieving stress. But it really places more stress on your body because it reduces your blood flow. And breathing. Has it increases your physical arousal. So if you are a smoker, try to figure out how to quit. practice relaxation techniques. I did an earlier podcast and resting and relaxing. Check that out. In do deep breathing imagery, progressive muscle relaxation, any mindfulness practice? No, there are a lot of online and smartphone apps out there. I’ve done a podcast I know around apps to use for holidays. And I know in that one, I definitely talked about apps to help reduce stress. Reduce your triggers, right, you probably have a lot going on and not enough time. But remember, you made a choice to do those things. So if you get good time management skills, so that might mean that you need to delegate something, you need to prioritize, you need to pace yourself, you need to say no. So that you have enough time to take care of yourself, right? If spending time with your in laws, makes your blood pressure shoot to the roof, then spend less time with them. Say you know what, honey, I just need some more time to myself have that conversation. Be in integrity. The more your actions reflect your belief, the better you feel, no matter how busy life is. Use your values when choosing activities. You know, a lot of times people will say that My priority is a and then I say well, let’s map out your time. Let’s keep track of your time for the next couple of weeks. And a lot of times it doesn’t match the priorities. Oh, family’s more important to me. But you don’t spend much time with your family. So be in integrity. And check in with your values. Say no. Say no. Say no. Say no to demands on your time and energy that are going to increase your stress. And if you haven’t sit down and write it out, what causes me stress, what do I need to say no to? Maybe again, you’re on autopilot, you’re not aware? Wow, you notice every time I talk to Susie I feel horrible about myself afterwards, oh, then we need to say no to hanging out with Suzy, we need to get that time back to be aware of what your triggers are and what you need to say no to
set realistic goals and expectations. Life is a balance. You’re not, you’re not going to be successful all the time, you are not going to be able to have it all and do it all. You just can’t be mindful what you can control and accept what you can’t control. You know, that’s a goes that can really go a long way of reducing your stress. So for instance, you can’t control if a terrorist group is going to show up in your town. Now I wouldn’t recommend spending time dwelling on that you have no control over it. But you know, you probably have met someone. I think people who are extreme preppers like that are worrying for the worst. Now that’s I think adds more to your stress. And maybe they’ll say well, you know when I prepped I feel relaxed and reducing my stress perhaps. But then how much time are you putting on all those things you have no control over food for thought. And then you know, check in with your self esteem. When you are feeling overwhelmed and stressed out, remind yourself of all that you have to be grateful for all the good stuff in your life. What you do Well, all the things about yourself that you love. If you feel better about yourself, if you shore up your self esteem, then that’s going to help reduce your stress. Now, there’s several other ways to reduce your stress. So here are some for you to consider deep breathing. I always tell myself when all else fails, stop, close your eyes and take a couple of deep breaths. meditation, mindfulness meditation, I’ve talked about how mowing is meditative for me. I’ve mentioned progressive muscle relaxation, mental imagery, relaxation, you know go to your happy place always love that scene from the movie Happy Gilmore. When happy goes to his happy place, which is very interesting. Listen to some relaxing music. Biofeedback is an option counseling or coaching help you recognize Hey, these are where my stresses are. Reduce your caffeine intake light a candle? I have candles all I need to put one on just having a scented candle really does a lot for me it’s like taking the bubble bath completely supports me journal I’m a huge fan of despite created the journal prompt books because I know that one of the ways I can reduce my stress get pen to paper like let me just clear my mind let me focus what is it that I need to find out? That’s important. What is it that I need to change? Laugh watch a funny movie who cracks you up put on those babies with I hear a baby laughing video or see that on YouTube? I can’t not laugh. It will just crack me up. So what are those things for you what just makes you completely crack up. And for you listening to music, watching. Maybe for you watching drama reduces your stress because you’re so absorbed by the great acting and you can just shut your mind off. I talked about how reading is something that reduces my stress because then I get a break. I don’t have to think about everything that’s stressing me out. And of course cuddling. And if you don’t have someone to cuddle with, consider adopting a pet or put a blanket when you have anxiety and feel like you’re coming to start having an anxiety attack. Someone told me to strike i If my husband’s not here to kind of hold me and help me get my body then I will take a blanket and wrap it really tightly around me. So cuddling is good. And if you aren’t in a relationship, get a massage. I know there are people who professionally hug if that’s something new human touch, I think is so important and can reduce your stress. So there are different things like massage, or getting stretch or different things where you can have that human touch element that can support you in reducing your stress. Take actions from today’s podcast. Understand the consequences of long term stress. Be aware of your emotional, physical, mental, and behavioral symptoms of stress. Know what causes you to get stressed out. Create a plan to reduce your stress. Next month we’re talking about endings and new beginnings. Go out Clear Your Clutter to create the life you choose deserve and desire.
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Transcribed by https://otter.ai