Keep it Real
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by your super-human to-do list—or the sky-high expectations you set for yourself—recognize that it may just be too much. Consider which “shoulds” you can drop entirely or at least minimize (swap a store-bought fruit platter for your homemade banana bread, for example). It’s not a fail, it’s a win—for the things you value most.
Ask for Help
Even superheroes don’t work alone—and neither should you. Give yourself permission to accept assistance from your partner, your children, your friends and your colleagues. Not only will it reduce your stress load, but it will also deepen your bond, as asking for help shows you trust and value that person’s contributions.
Create a Cushion
Stress can look a lot like a pint of ice cream with a spoon in it. But research shows that in tough times, we’re just as likely to fall back on healthy habits—jogging, yoga, meditation, gardening, cooking, painting, knitting, blogging, or photography. Whatever your hobby habit, it will do more than defuse tension: You’ll heighten your creativity, passion, pleasure, and gain a sense of accomplishment to boot. The trick is to get the hobby rolling when you’re calm, so it’s ready to go when you need it.
Send Yourself Flowers
It’s well-established that being close to nature brings us comfort, maybe as a holdover from ancient times. When Harvard psychologists delivered flowers to a group of men and women and candles to another, the floral group felt less anxious and depressed within the week, whereas the candle group saw no change. You could snip some pretty blooms from your yard—or go ahead and have that lush bouquet delivered. We’re pretty sure you deserve it!