Let’s be real, we’ve all experienced stress at some point in our lives (and if you haven’t, then teach me your ways!).
I will totally own up to it, friends. I get STRESSED. OUT.
And it wasn’t until the last year or so that I even realized how bad it was. It took my dietician telling me that my cortisol levels were super low because I had been chronically stressed for so long that my adrenals were tapped out.
If that isn’t a wake-up call, I don’t know what is.
So, let’s just say, simplification and stress management have become a major focus for me lately, which is why I want to talk about managing stress in this episode of SHE.
Maybe your work life isn’t super intense, or you don’t feel like you’re on the verge of a mental breakdown half of the time, but there are still stressors in your day-to-day life that affect your body, often without you even realizing it.
In this journey of learning how to better manage my stress, I have found these 7 tips to be practical steps towards simplifying and enjoying my life, and I hope you find them helpful too (preferably before your adrenals have lost all of their willpower to press on).
7 Tips for Managing Stress
1. Set Technology Boundaries.
Here’s a piece of sage wisdom for you: your eyeballs need a break from screens (and yes, I’m fully aware I just sounded like your grandma). But, it’s true!
Rather than being on your phone or watching TV right before you go to bed, try to take the last hour before you sleep to unplug – read, take a hot shower, fold laundry – and allow yourself to take a break from the rest of the world.
As someone who is always connected digitally, it is essential for my own wellbeing, as well as Matt’s, to make our bedroom phone-free. That means each night we leave our phones in airplane mode in the kitchen so that our bedroom can really be a refuge that refreshes and restores us, rather than just another place to scroll through TikToks.
Oh, also, blue-light glasses. A solid investment.
2. Focus on Consistent Sleep.
Your sleep is important.
Remember stressed-out Jordan from a year ago that went to a dietician and found out her adrenals were trash? Yeah, well during that time of my life, I was also sleeping an abnormal amount. Like sleeping in until 1 pm, still crazy tired, and not wanting to get out of bed, amount.
So I figured that I probably needed to cut back, chill out on sleeping excessively, and whip myself out of bed at 5 am every morning to get myself out of this funk.
But guess what my dietician recommended I do? Sleep.
As much as I wanted and as much as I could.
Turns out, sleep is one of the most healing things you can do for adrenal fatigue.
And trust me, I get it, everyone’s life situation is different and some things just aren’t within your control when it comes to how much sleep you get.
However, you can still prioritize your sleep as much as possible for the current season of life you are in.
Do what is within your control and alter habits (Late night Netflix binge anyone?). Commit to doing less or scale back on some things. Ask yourself: Is this thing in my life helping me prioritize my sleep or is it making it impossible to prioritize my sleep?
3. Implement Simple Routines.
Forming simple morning and night routines (emphasis on simple) has been a game-changer for me.
And these are not the Pinterest-worthy (5 am morning workouts, green juice, have everything checked off of my to-do list by 6:30 am), kind of routines.
Instead, I have one thing I like to do when I wake up and one thing I like to do before I go to bed.
Right now, for me and Matt that means going on a morning walk together, and then at night, I read or journal.
But, if you’re anything like me, some days you open your journal to a new blank page and your mind goes blank. So what should I write about? My day? A prayer? *internal panic*
Well, I just created the Own Your Everyday Journal to be the journal that I’ve been wanting so that I could practice gratitude and reflect, without having the pressure of having to write a poetic novel each night.
The journal is out now (!!!) and is a great tool to help you establish a daily practice that takes less than 5 minutes and guides you to document your wins from the day, lessons you learned, and goals you have for tomorrow. (So grab yourself one before they are they’re gone!)
These simple practices create some margin and space in my day for me to refuel each morning and reflect each evening, which is so life-giving for me.
Sometimes we get so rigid with what we think we’re supposed to do for our morning and night routines that we actually neglect doing what would be beneficial to us.
Here’s your permission to create a routine that is restorative for you – whatever that looks like.
Simplifying your life includes simplifying your space.
In Myquillyn Smith’s book, Cozy Minimalist Home, she references a study that found that excess stuff and clutter, on average, causes a woman’s cortisol levels to rise.
And, I don’t know about you, but personally, even a cluttered email inbox stresses me out, so yeah, I think my house being a wreck could be a contributing factor.
When Matt and I were moving into our new house, I realized that half of the stuff we brought from our last house I had zero ideas what to do with.
So we got rid of everything that we knew we wouldn’t use or wanted to keep in storage, and the rest of it, the random tool we use once a year and the art project from first grade that your mom saved from your childhood, we stored in the basement so that it didn’t clutter the rest of the house and the spaces we work and live in each day.
Simplify your space to be functional, rather than full of stuff.
Place a catch-all basket in the kitchen for keys, create a designated place for unopened mail, or use a bin for that pile of sweatshirts falling off of your closet shelf. Even small changes can help make your space feel less cluttered.
5. Get Some Fresh Air.
This may not seem revolutionary, but breaking up your day by going on a walk or sitting out on the patio can really help clear your mind and reset you in the midst of your chaos.
So even if that means people silently judging you for laying down on your sidewalk in the middle of the afternoon (just listen to the podcast episode for the full story if you’re confused), going outside when you can is well worth it.
6. Have Hobbies.
Confession: I stink at having hobbies.
Matt is incredible at having hobbies. The man will fish, hunt, and golf. Meanwhile, I seem to always turn my hobbies into some sort of job.
Plus, Matt is good at keeping his hobbies as hobbies, while I tend to monetize every hobby so it feels productive and worthwhile. (enneagram three, anyone? 🙋♀️)
When we were in college, I even managed to turn what Matt suggested be my “creative outlet” of having an Etsy shop, into a full- time job, SoulScripts.
Needless to say, Matt has challenged me to find things I enjoy doing, and then to not use it for work.
For me, this means being intentional to give myself time to read and garden, but for you, this may look different. The important thing is to choose hobbies that are enjoyable for you.
And if you’re anything like me, remember that it’s okay to have passions for the sake of having passions.
And it’s okay to have hobbies just because they’re fun.
7. Laugh More.
Friend, make it your mission to laugh a lot more. It’ll do wonders.
As someone who has an old soul and often gets caught up in what I can achieve and what needs to get done, I can easily forget that I’m young. I’m still in my 20’s, living in “the good old days” of what will be my life, but don’t always take the time to step back from my work to enjoy it.
So take yourself less seriously!
Have friends over more often, play games, watch silly videos, be goofy, and keep life more light-hearted.
It’s not worth it to hustle for a life that you’re not actually enjoying!
These 7 tips don’t cost a thing to implement. They just require some intentionality.
My advice is to start with a couple of these tips, and then over time, gradually add to what you already have set in place.
Your first step doesn’t need to be overly complicated. Just start with a single small change, and see what happens.
If you’re wanting to take that first step, a great place to start is to listen to the full episode to learn:
- How to form boundaries with technology
- Why you should be prioritizing your sleep
- How to create morning and night routines that are actually restorative
- Practical ways to simplify your space
- The importance of having passions that are just for fun
- How to prioritize laughter in your life
So let us know in the comments: What one tip are you hoping to intentionally start implementing in your life this week?