We all have stresses in our lives. Some big, some small, but they all have a negative influence on us. While we can try our best to eliminate stressors from our lives, there are some we simply don’t have control over. Work, family life, health issues, car problems…they all add worry and concern. So how do we learn how to deal with these problems comfortably and successfully?

Go to bed

When you’re stressed, the best thing to do might be to simply hit the hay. I’m not saying you should cover your head with the comforter and never crawl out again, but getting a little more sleep is good for all of us. Many people believe that stress will go away when a project is done or when they’ve got that family issue worked out. However, when you’re stressed and tired, you’re more likely to fly off the handle. You’re unable to think quickly or logically. Trust me—take a little nap, and things will feel a lot better when you wake up.

Hit the gym

Sometimes stress can make you angry or frustrated. Rather than taking it out on your loved ones, blow off some steam at the gym. You can put all of your built-up energy into working out, and afterwards, you’ll feel like your head’s on straight again. Plus, your body will release endorphins and galanin. Endorphins make you feel happy, while galanin protects your neurons from damage that come from stress. So you’ll be healthier and happier!

Take a breather

Even if you’re in the middle of a giant project at work, sometimes the best thing to do is to take a little breather. Suggest a team lunch or a creative activity to do together. You’ll be surprised at how many new ideas will come up after you’ve experienced a change of pace.

If you don’t feel comfortable making that suggestion to your team, or if you’re at home with children who are being difficult, just take a minute for yourself. Find a quiet place—the bathroom, even. Close your eyes, breathe deeply, and go to your happy place. Think of things that bring you joy, whether that’s imagining a beach or visualizing your family happy and peaceful. Text or call a loved one. Look at photos of memorable times. Just take a minute to relax, regroup, and remember why you’re working as hard as you do.

Treat yo’self

Yes, that’s right, Donna and Tommy, it’s time to treat yo’self! Get a massage. Buy that pair of high heels or pair of golf clubs you’ve had your eye on. Take an impromptu trip. And you don’t always have to spend money every time you’re stressed, or you’ll start being stressed about the amount in your bank account! There are always cheaper ways to indulge a little. Take a bubble bath. Curl up with some chocolate and a good book. Get out your hammock and take a nap underneath some beautiful trees.

Be your own BFF

A lot of stress comes from self-deprecation. Instead of beating yourself up all the time, cut yourself some slack! A best friend would tell you everything you’re doing great and everything you’re succeeding at. Make a list of things you like about yourself. Physically, spiritually, mentally, emotionally, morally. Keep it somewhere you can read it often and add to it continuously. You’ll be surprised at how much you’ve got going!

Let me know how these tips work out for you, and leave your own stress coping ideas in the comments below!

~J. Rebecca Sanders