26 ways to manage stress

Feeling stressed? Stress is a natural part of life, but it's important to manage its effects rather than ignoring it. With that in mind, we came up with 26 different ways to manage your stress levels.

Begin managing your stress by:

1. Massage

Get a monthly massage or electronic massager to work relaxation into your routine.

2. Relaxation routine

Set up a daily "coming home" routine to help you transition from work to home.

3. Music

Find music that calms, relaxes, and de-stresses you for the ride home. Here's a place to get started.

4. Avoid caffeine and other stimulants

Stimulants increase your heart rate and can it make it more difficult to relax.

5. Exercise

Incorporate exercise into your routine to feel the benefits! Here are some ways to get started.

6. Sleep more

Get the recommended amount of sleep of 7 to 8 hours per night.

7. Find a mantra

Choose a saying that will help you feel collected and in control of your situation.

8. Identify the source of your stress

Is it work, commitments, or a situation? Problem solve and see how many solutions you can come up with. Then try to eliminate your stressors.

9. Say "No"

Don't take too much on by yourself! Learn how to limit your commitments by saying, "No."

10. Stretch or take yoga

Relieve muscle tension with stretching or a yoga practice.

11. Remember to breath

Take deep breaths. Work on controlling and regulating your breath to focus inward and manage stress.

12. Smile

There's a silver lining! Remember or do something that makes you happy.

13. Reach out to friends or family

Call, email, or text someone that can help you out. Share your woes and see if you start feeling better.

14. Meditate

Clear your mind of whatever is stressing you. Take time every day to practice emptying your thoughts. 

15. Take a break

Slow down and enjoy the day. Take small steps, like trying tai chi, meditating, practicing yoga, listening to music, and spending time outside.

16. Rest

Constantly trying to be "going, going, going" can break down your immune system. Remember to rest when you need to.

17. Enjoy hobbies

Make time for your hobbies. Engaging in something you love to do can be a fun way to relieve stress.

18. Control what you can

You can't control everything in your life. Identify the controllable elements in your stressful situation and then release any stress you may be feeling about things you can't control.

19. Put boundaries in place

Set limits around your work and life. Boundaries will help you stay focused on what matters and avoid activities that add stress to the mix.

20. Stop worrying

Try less worrying, and more caring. Build plans and actions to make things happen, rather than worrying about the outcome or potential outcomes.

21. Accept who you are

We all make mistakes and no one is perfect. Embrace your unique qualities and release your ideas of what you "should" be or do.

22. Eat a well-balanced meal

Healthy eating means eating when you are hungry, eating often, and getting the nutrients you need to live active.

23. Maintain a positive attitude

Things improve and change. Check your attitude and make sure it stays optimistic about what's coming.

24. Volunteer

Get involved with your local community! Spend time volunteering.

25. Rate your problems

Are they a big deal, or are they small? Rate on a scale of 1 to 5 and see if they're worth the stress.

26. Unclench your jaw

Everyone holds stress differently. Recognize where you're holding it - in your shoulders, face, or jaw - and then actively release it.
For more resources on ways to manage stress, read some of the links below: