It could be easier than you think to lessen the stress in your life, and the library can help.
We often link stress to specific times of year: the beginning or end of the school year and December’s holiday season are all rampant with opportunities to stress ourselves to the limit, or even beyond. The stark reality is that stressful thoughts and situations pervade our everyday life.
Ironically, we may view changing our immediate lives as being too disruptive, but really, change is good. While instant reversal is completely overrated (and almost impossible), incremental change is not only more practical, it also tends to be more lasting. Here are some changes that may be small but can make a big difference.
1. Getting information out of your head and on to lists can be a great help.
I’ve recently started a habit of entering the weekend with a list of things I wanted to accomplish. I am able to concoct a more realistic game plan and it helps my normally unorganized brain relax and maintain a general focus on priorities. If you enjoy creating lists or organizing files on the the computer, the library has a spectrum of classes on various topics to aid you with tips and tricks in gaining efficiency.
2. Taking care of your body by getting the exercise and sleep you need is an automatic way to reduce stress.
When the body exercises, it pumps endorphins into the brain to give a genuine “feel good” feeling. Rarely does anyone finish working out in a terrible mood. As the weather keeps improving, there are many excuses to get out and start moving around.
Recording your workouts through various apps (I use Bikecomputer to record bike rides and a Fitbit to track exercise and sleep habits) or just using an old-fashioned notebook helps in generating momentum and allows you an opportunity to look backwards on your journey and gain a feeling of accomplishment.
As far as sleep goes, that's when your body calibrates its hormone levels and heals itself. If you are not getting enough sleep, you are cheating your body of the chance to help you.
3. You can change your equation by clearing your mind and giving it a focus.
If you think of your life as a sum of all of its parts and you don’t enjoy the final outcome, it’s time to change the ingredients. Being intentional about clearing your schedule for a period of quiet time can actually be worth the bother. If you prefer to listen to meditation music, you can download some free songs from our Freegal service.
Heather mentioned our great Zinio collection a couple weeks ago. You can become inspired by the wonders of our world by looking at National Geographic or Outside, or learning more about a specific hobby or interest by reading magazines such as Field & Stream, Yoga Journal, or Clean Eating, all without leaving your couch.
There are obviously many more ways to lower stress levels and improve your life. Perhaps both the easiest and most difficult way is to identify the most important people in your life and spend your time accordingly. And if that groups includes us here at the library, we'd be happy to see you here!