We’ve tackled the topic of stress management before and with good reason. When you’re in one of the most stressful careers out there, mental health should be an ongoing conversation. PBI’s upcoming webcast, “How to Obtain Work-Life Balance in the Legal Profession,” is all about promoting attorney wellness and quality of life, making this the perfect time to talk various stress reduction techniques.
You may not be able to control the external causes of your stress, but what you can control is how you respond. Last time we offered 8 tips on how adequate sleep, exercise, meditation, and more, can help manage your stress. Let’s dive even deeper. Here are 9 more techniques to reduce high levels of stress.
Get Assertive. It can be tough saying no to others, but if you accept every task that comes your way, you may soon find yourself collapsing under a heavy workload. Don’t be afraid to put your foot down and communicate when you have enough on your plate. Alternatively, if you’re in charge, practice delegating responsibilities instead of trying to do everything yourself. A balanced workload means less stress and more energy for what matters.
Feel the Music. Music can be very freeing. Whether you’re belting out lyrics, getting down on the dance floor, or simply listening to your favorite tune, it can release the negative emotions trapped inside you. Different genres can soothe, inspire, or get you fired up. When you’ve had a bad day, turn to music to release some of that unwanted stress.
Minimize Screen Time & Social Media Use. Depending on our jobs, we can spend quite a bit of time looking at screens. Staring at a screen too often is not only bad for your mental state, but it can negatively impact your eyesight and the amount of sleep you get. Constant connection to your digital devices ironically disconnects you from the world around you.
Social media is its own monster. While it can serve as a convenient way to stay connected with friends and provide much entertainment, you can easily become bombarded with bad news if you’re not careful. The sheer number of influencers showing off their supposedly perfect lives and bodies can also have a negative effect—especially on kids. Thanks to AI, Photoshop, and easily accessible filters, the online world is becoming less and less real. Sometimes the best thing you can do for your mental health is to take a step back and return to the real world.
Go Outside. What better way to immerse yourself in the real world than stepping outside? Feeling the sun on your skin while surrounded by nature is guaranteed to improve your mental well-being. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that studies have shown going outside lowers depression, restores mental capacities, and allows for faster recovery from stress. As little as ten minutes can do wonders. So, on your next break, head outside if the weather allows and soak up that mood-lifting Vitamin D. The change of scenery might even help you return to your work with a fresh perspective.
Pick Up Yoga. Exercise, slow breathing, and meditation are all great for stress reduction. What do you get when you combine all three? Yoga.
Yoga is a series of poses and stretches that are meant to strengthen the body, uplift the mind, and nourish the spirit. YouTube is overflowing with free yoga classes for beginners. There are many different types of yoga that serve different purposes. Hatha yoga is a good place to start since it is gentler and places more emphasis on peaceful breathing techniques.
Try Aromatherapy. Minimizing stress is often a way of appealing to your senses, so why not include sense of smell? There are quite a few scents that have a calming effect on your mind. Lavender is one: The aroma is found to be a natural sleep remedy and improve stress levels. If you’re in the mood for a little self-care, pick up some essential oils, scented candles, or a lavender-infused bath bomb on your next shopping trip.
Be Creative. Maybe sports and the great outdoors don’t really do it for you. If you’re the type who prefers indoor hobbies, consider trying something new in the realm of creativity. Painting, sketching, journaling, sewing—no matter what you choose, the act of creation can release negative feelings and make you feel more satisfied with life.
Give a Hug, Get a Hug. Believe it or not, there’s science behind this! During the pandemic, many felt starved of touch and human contact. We took being able to hug our loved ones for granted up until we lost that opportunity. Human contact is comforting and releases “feel good” endorphins in our brain. Not only does it feel good in the moment, but it will build your resilience against the effects of stress long-term.
So don’t be stingy with those hugs! Grab a family member, a friend, or even a pet, and hug away!
Forgive Yourself. Maybe your biggest source of stress comes from something in your past that you no longer have any control over. We all make mistakes. Sometimes we don’t quite reach our goals or achieve the result we wanted in a case. You can’t hold that against yourself. Changing the past is impossible, but resolving to do better in the future is. Practice positive self-talk and treat yourself gently. Understand that the only choice is to go forward. If you stand still, the world will still keep moving on with or without you.
Hopefully, with all of these tips in your anti-stress arsenal, you’ll be able to keep your mental wellbeing in a good place. If things ever look grim, remember that seeking help is always an option. Take care of yourself, your mind, and your body so that you can continue to take care of those who need you.