Alignment

3 New Year’s Resolutions for Stress Relief + How to Keep Them

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Happy 2018 everyone! I hope you’re as excited about the new year as I am. I love celebrating New Year’s Day because it’s a great time for self-reflection and goal-setting. Plus I’m a night owl so any holiday that requires my staying up past midnight – I’m all over it. I’m committing 2018 to be a year of growth and personal well-being.

Anyways, I’m committing 2018 to be a year of growth and personal well-being. Time management is at the top of my list this year. So on that note, the following three New Year’s resolutions are my best tips for taking control of your time and eliminating stress in 2018.

3 New Year’s Resolutions for Stress Relief

1. Limit your time on social media

Why: 

If you find yourself clicking over to Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest – you name it – every time you have a spare moment, this tip is for you. I’m not here to tell you that social media is terrible and you need to delete it forever. In fact, according to the Pew Research Center, the use of some technology is linked to slightly lower stress.

That said, when we spend a good portion of our free time mindlessly scrolling our various social media feeds, we often forget to focus on the present moment in our own lives. While social media may not directly cause stress in most cases, I have found that it can breed discontent with our own lives as we compare ourselves to others.

Finally, I believe it’s important to be mindful of where we’re spending our time and ask ourselves if what we’re doing on a daily basis is satisfying and aligns with our goals. Playing 10 rounds of Candy Crush in a row doesn’t help me reach my goals. But spending some time each week connecting with friends and family through messenger and sharing a few pictures does. Find a balance that works for you!

New Year’s Resolution:

“I will spend ___ amount of time on [social media platform] per week.”

If you’re struggling to set a time frame for yourself, it may be worth keeping track of your social media usage for a week first. Every day that week, write down how long you’re spending on each platform. (It helps if you do this right away, rather than trying to recall it at the end of the day). At the end of the week, calculate the average amount of time you spent on each platform. Choose how much you’d like to reduce this time and set your goal for the year!

How to achieve it:

  • My number one tip is to log out of your social media profiles on all of your devices. If you have to actively sign in every time you want to use it, you’ll be much less likely to fall into mindless browsing.
  • If you’re struggling with this goal, I recommend continuing to monitor your time on each platform. Write down the time you start browsing and keep checking the time as you go so you don’t end up online for hours. You could even set a timer for the amount of time you want to spend online. Find a method that works for you!

2. Make time for yourself

Why:

The American Institute of Stress cites a study which found that people who regularly use cell phones experience increased psychological distress and decreased family satisfaction. In other words, always being available to others via our cell phones is stressing us out!

We all need time to focus on our own mental and physical well-being. Even the most extroverted individuals need space sometimes! And, if you’re an introvert like me, you likely need much more time (and coffee) than others to feel refreshed and able to communicate with other humans in a socially acceptable tone of voice.

New Year’s Resolution:

“I will set aside ___ amount of time for myself each week.”

How to achieve it:

  • Choose a consistent day and time for yourself each week and stick to this plan as much as possible. Find a schedule that fits your needs – maybe you want to set aside an extended period of alone time each week, or perhaps you need some time every day.
  • Choose a relaxing hobby to pursue during this time. I highly recommend something off the grid, like reading or yoga, but it can be whatever relaxes you and allows you to focus on taking care of yourself (as opposed to browsing the internet or catching up on Netflix).

3. Plan your day

Why:

What better way to reduce stress than to create a plan for each day? We can’t plan for everything, but we can set ourselves up for success by having an idea of what we want to accomplish in a given time frame.

To further maximize the stress-relieving effects of this strategy, plan your day out the night before. You’ll likely sleep better knowing that you have a game plan for the next day.

New Year’s Resolution:

“I will spend ___ amount of time each night preparing for the next day.” 

How to achieve it:

  • Set a specific time each night to set your schedule for the following day. You’ll likely need around 10-20 minutes depending on what you have going on and how detailed you’d like your plan to be.
  • You may need to try out a few planning strategies before you find one that fits. Start with writing a list of everything you want to accomplish the next day. If you’re feeling extra ambitious, write two lists, one for essential tasks that day and another for non-essential things you want to accomplish. Or go crazy, break down your day into hours and schedule all your tasks that way.

Bonus Tip – Chew gum!

Okay so not exactly a New Year’s resolution, but multiple studies have proven that chewing gum provides a variety of health benefits, including stress relief. It can also prevent heartburn, promote weight loss, and improve concentration and memory! Plus, it’s delicious and leaves your mouth feeling minty fresh. 

If you try out any of the above New Year’s resolutions or if you have other suggestions for stress relief, I’d love to hear about it! Let me know in the comments.
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