Everything, including sleep, seemed so much easier and better when you were younger.
Remember when you were a kid? For the most part you probably didn’t have a care in the world. Your typical routine was to get up, go to school, come home and play until dinner, eat, watch a little TV or play some more, then go to bed.
Your life pretty much consisted of eating pretty healthy, keeping busy, and basically enjoying life until bedtime. And aside from delaying sleep by begging your parents into reading you just one more story and checking for monsters under your bed, you fell asleep quickly and had to be dragged out of bed the next morning.
So what happened?
We grew up, assumed all the responsibilities that come with being an adult and forgot how to enjoy life like we did when we were children. Is it possible to be a kid again and be stress free so you can relax during the day for better sleep at night?
- 1 Are there Ways I can Reduce Stress and Sleep Better??
- 2 1. Cope with Daily Stress by Scheduling Playtime
- 3 2. Live in the Moment
- 4 3. Listen to your Favorite Music….and Jam
- 5 4. Hang Out with Your Friends
- 6 5. Deal with Everyday Stress by Keeping on the Sunny Side
- 7 6. Do What you Want, When you Want to Do it
- 8 7. Relax and Enjoy Life by Knowing You’re Cared For
- 9 Reduce Stress, Sleep Better, Live your Best Life
Are there Ways I can Reduce Stress and Sleep Better??
Nowadays, we’re stressed out during the day and awake all night. In fact, you’re probably kicking yourself for fighting sleep so much when you were a kid. What you wouldn’t give to be so sleepy you could fall asleep in your spaghetti again, right?
Now that we’re busy adulting 24/7, Is it even possible to be that relaxed anymore?
I believe the answer is yes. Even though sometimes we feel like we’re being pulled in all directions, it’s still possible to live with pure abandon, without stress, and just enjoy life.
After an adulthood of being uptight, a constant feeling of zen is definitely something we all want, but can never really figure out how to achieve.
We may think it’s getting a massage, vegging out in front of the television, or just doing nothing. It is, but it’s so much more. Living stress free is a lifestyle and something you have to learn and put into practice, especially if you have insomnia.
The amount of stress you have directly correlates to the amount of sleep you’re getting. In fact, there’s a strong relationship between daytime stress and poor sleep.
- Stress is a major sleep disruptor.
- Sleep difficulties are usually the first sign that you’re overstressed.
- Being chronically sleep deprived increases your levels of stress hormones, sending you into a neverending stressed/sleep merry go round.
It may sound impossible, but you can beat the stress and live, eat, and sleep like a carefree kid again. (without quitting your job and moving in with your parents 😛 )
Here’s 10 easy ways you can incorporate more relaxation into your daily life so you can stress less during the day and sleep better at night.
1. Cope with Daily Stress by Scheduling Playtime
You’re probably thinking, “Julia, you’re joking right? What, do you want me to schedule myself a play date or something?”
Well, yeah, I do.
Going with the kid analogy, play was a big part or your life. You got your frustrations out. You wore yourself out. You had fun.
Now, I’m not going to go so far as to say you call your girlfriends up and say, hey, let’s set up a play date….for ourselves…not for the kids. (although you totally could!) Just set aside a time several times a week that you will do something you consider fun.
If you’re athletic, call up your friends and ask them if they want to do a yoga class on Tuesdays and Fridays together. If sweating isn’t your thing, maybe play cards or do puzzles.
2. Live in the Moment
If you sit back and really take notice of kids, you’ll see that they’re only focused on the here and now. Whatever they’re doing takes all of their attention. They’re not worried about what they did yesterday, or what they’ll be doing an hour from now. Their whole world is all about that moment.
We as adults miss out on so much because we’re either stressing over something that’s happened in the past, or worried about what we have to do when we finish what we’re working on now.
So how can we slow down and live in the moment like a kid? Channel your inner child and be mindful of whatever it is that you’re doing, whether is something fun, a project at work, heck, even washing the dishes.
By practicing mindfulness and purposefully paying attention to what you’re experiencing, you’re actually reducing stress and anxiety levels, which will help you feel more relaxed and able to sleep better in the long run.
3. Listen to your Favorite Music….and Jam
I remember when I was a kid in church and we would sing “When we All Get to Heaven.” It was my favorite song and I would belt it out at the top of my lungs. I was so loud that I remember Momma once leaning down and telling me not to sing so loud. I want to say I listened and toned it down, but I didn’t. When you feel a song, you feel it, you know?
Listening to your favorite tunes can actually be a strong stress relieving tool. Music calms your mind and emotions and can even take you to another place. Studies have shown that music even decreases levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
But I think it’s important that you don’t just listen to the music, you feel the music. Kids don’t have inhibitions like adults do, so put on whatever music makes you happy and sing and dance your stress away.
4. Hang Out with Your Friends
When you were a kid, probably the only reason you halfway liked going to school was to be with your best friends. And after school? Heck, you hung out and talked with your friends until your parents made you do homework and get ready for bed.
One study has shown that spending time with a best friend reduces stress, but it also reduces cortisol. Wondering why I keep mentioning things that reduce cortisol levels? Too much cortisol can make you feel depressed, unable to sleep, and gain weight in your stomach and butt.
So make it a point to get together with your close friends and talk about work, your kids, or whatever’s going on in your life at the moment. Just be your 13 year old selves and have some juicy girl talk!
5. Deal with Everyday Stress by Keeping on the Sunny Side
Kids are the ultimate optimists. They are always focused on what makes them happy and don’t worry about tomorrow or who they have to impress. They embrace the day and look for things that make them laugh, not what may happen or how they’ll be judged by people.
The stress of being a responsible adult is real, but don’t make that your main focus everyday. Negative thoughts breed more negative thoughts, which causes more stress, irritability, and even anxiety. And if you already have insomnia, negative thinking actually makes your insomnia worse. It pays to be a little ray of sunshine!
You might not be able to stop adulting, but you can change your outlook. Instead of looking at you have to do so-and-so, turn it around and say I get to do so-and-so. Look for the bright side in every situation and ALWAYS look for moments to have fun.
6. Do What you Want, When you Want to Do it
Wanna know what I loved most about being a kid? I pretty much did what I want when I wanted to do it. I’m not talking about being a brat and always getting my way. If I wanted to play dress up, I played dress up. If I wanted to wear my mix matched socks to school, I did it. I didn’t let what other people thought dictate what I wanted to do.
As adults, we sometimes get caught up in how our actions will be judged by others, which makes us less likely to do things we secretly would love to just let go and do. Stressing out about what people think about you is a waste of energy and can keep you up at night. (Ever lay awake at night with your mind racing about how stupid people thought you acted that day?)
Make it a point to live life based on what you want to do and say, not how you think people will judge you if you don’t say, do or take care of your family.
7. Relax and Enjoy Life by Knowing You’re Cared For
I think one of the things we miss most about being kids is we didn’t have to worry about anything because we knew our parents would take care of us. We didn’t know how our needs were going to be met, we just knew our parents were going to give us everything we needed.
How can that translate into our adult lives? Just like we used to believe that our parents would take care of us, believing and having faith that God, or a higher power, will supply our needs provides the same benefit. An article from the Mayo Clinic states, “spirituality has many benefits for stress relief and overall mental health.”
Reduce Stress, Sleep Better, Live your Best Life
I’m a firm believer that improving your sleep isn’t something you tackle an hour or two before you go to bed. Good sleep begins when you roll out of bed in the morning because you take the stress you’re under during the day to bed with you at night.
That’s why all the bedtime relaxation exercises in the world won’t help you sleep at night. When you’re stressed and unable to relax day in and day out, there’s just no way 10 minutes doing the 4-7-8 is going to wipe out that day’s stress.
So take a page out of your inner kid’s book and enjoy life so you can reduce stress and sleep better. Play, have fun, dance a little, and know that Someone is always going to be in your corner. 🙂
What ways do you relax and cope with stress? Add it to the list by popping it in the comments below!