18 Tangible Ways to Kick Stress in The Butt, Starting NOW!

Self defense training

Stress is inevitable in our technology-ridden, lighting-paced, tornado-whirlwind lives. Heart Health Month is here to remind us – among many things – that stress also happens to be one of the leading causes of heart disease and heart attack. There are three types of stress: there’s Unavoidable Stress, which comes as a result of poor health, losing a job, or the tragic loss of a loved one. There’s Natural Stress, the kind we put on ourselves to be successful and meet our goals. And then there’s Avoidable Stress, such as running late, being disorganized and sweating the small stuff. Saying stress that many times just totally stressed me out.

Well, sadly there is no magic stress pill for any of it (at least not one that’s good for you), but there are some very specific things you can be doing NOW to relieve, manage and avoid it. Fight the beast with these 18 tangible things you can start doing right this second!

1. ACCEPT STRESS

Before we get started, hear me loud and clear: There will ALWAYS be stress in your life. Always! It will never be perfect; the most you can do is to not let it overwhelm you. YOU’RE in the driver’s seat, in control, and your goal is to keep stress packed in the trunk: You know it’s there and that you have to deal with it, but it isn’t screaming in the back seat for more Cheerios. Once you accept that stress is inevitable, you just have to learn to make the best of it. That’s where the rest of this list comes in.

2. CALL AN OLD FRIEND

This is therapeutic for so many reasons!  Creating and maintaining meaningful relationships will fulfill you and help you live joyfully. Expressing your feelings freely, like you can with an old friend, is a great way to relieve stress. It sure beats perusing photos of random people you went to high school with on Facebook.

3. LAUGH!

Carefree laughter is the OPPOSITE of stress, so you can quite literally turn a stressful situation around (temporarily, at least) by surrounding yourself with funny. Hit up a comedy club, call your funniest friend (which accomplishes #1 as well!), or resort to the world’s most ridiculous comedy parade on earth: YouTube. Start with THE FLIP SIDE – if you are a man or a woman, you MUST see this. And if you only have 8 seconds to spare… DARE YOU try to say this out loud.

4. PAUSE… THEN RESPOND

Things happen all the time that make us upset, annoyed and downright furious. BUT, next time something comes your way – PAUSE. Before reacting from the gut and letting your emotions fly, take a step back from the situation. Assemble your thoughts. This short moment of introspection could save you from a turning into your stress monster alter-ego.

5. CLEAN YOUR DESK

Papers everywhere, water bottles from god-knows-when, and twelve and half business cards laying around? I’m talking about my desk – and if I’m describing yours too, it’s time for an intervention. A cleaning tactic that’s worked for me lately is PRETEND CLEANING IS FUN. Smile! Put on music! Stretch in between paper piles! You’ll feel worlds better. Now on the count of three,  let’s both go get the Lysol. 1, 2…

6. TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR FINANCES

Yes, this one’s a little more complicated than watching a YouTube clip. Debt and money matters are the sources of so much stress in people’s lives, and reduced debt always equals reduced stress. Try LearnVest, a great resource geared toward women to help manage finances and “live your richest life.”

7. SLEEP PRETTY DARLING

Getting 7-8 hours of sleep a night is not only great for your skin and weight management (yes!) a good night’s sleep is guaranteed to help you deal better with daily stresses. Any amount of sleep deprivation diminishes mental performance, and this includes your threshold for dealing with problems. And annoying people.

8. VOLUNTEER

What is it you’re passionate about? Helping people? Animals? The environment? Do some research on local communities - VolunteerSpot is a good resouce for parents – and get started! It’ll not only relax you, but helping a worthy cause could help you look at your own ”stresses” in perspective. In fact, a study from the University of Michigan that followed 1,211 senior citizens for about seven years and found that those who volunteered just 40 hours a year lived longer than those who didn’t volunteer at all. See how some of our blogger friends give back.

9. FORGIVE SOMEONE

You can’t be fully calm while holding a grudge. It takes work and energy to stay angry at someone; energy that could be going towards volunteering, taking control of your finances, cleaning your desk… you get the picture. Cleanse yourself of negative energy by taking the healthy high road.

10. GET MOVING

You saw this one coming! Endorphins are your stress-free BFFs, and they are released from your pituitary gland every time you get moving. “Runner’s high,” which is the result of extreme endorphin release, has been known to create feelings of euphoria. You may not like the workout part, but you’ll always love the way you feel after it. It’ll not only reduce stress, exercising is your direct, high-speed highway to better heart health.

11. TEN-SECOND AROMATHERAPY

Take a whiff of a lemon, a mango, lavender, or a bouquet of flowers. It’s not just soothing; scientists in Japan have reported clinical evidence that inhaling certain fragrances alter gene activity and blood chemistry in ways that can reduce stress levels. Spas are really onto something with aromatherapy!

12. CREATE A NEW PINTEREST BOARD

Blogging, tweeting, tumbling, stumbling… all these social media activities are designed to be fun, relaxing and self-expressing… thus stress-reducing. The hottest new player in town, Pinterest, is arguably the most fun and therapeutic of them all. We’re obsessed (follow us!), so if you haven’t started yet, close out this blog post right now (well, maybe wait till you’re finished reading), create an account, and get pinning (de-stressing) 5 minutes ago.

13. TURN OFF YOUR PHONE FOR AN HOUR

Alas, there’s the flipside of social media. Being connected all day long CAN be work – especially when it’s your job. Ahem. As soon as you feel like social media is starting to take over, power down your technology and take a breather.

14. ARRIVE EARLY

One of the unnecessary daily stresses we encounter is that time period where you’re running late. You’re angry at traffic, you’re running down the sidewalk in heels like a lunatic (my M.O.), and the ONLY thing you can think about is how bad it is that you’re going to be late. Remove this stress from your life entirely by planning to get somewhere 15 minutes, even a half hour early. What better time to finish up those last few chapters of Hunger Games before the movie comes out?

15. DON’T TRY TO BE PERFECT

Because how stressful is that? If you set unrealistic goals for yourself, you’ll be constantly feeling like a failure. You don’t NEED to meet your husband in the next six months, get straight A’s, or go the gym every day in 2012. Let life take its course at YOUR pace. Don’t follow commandments – follow happiness.

16. CARB AWAY THE STRESS

You read that right. Complex carbohydrates such as oats, fruit, whole grains and brown rice can stimulate your body to produce stress-busting, soporific hormones in a stressful situation, and also balance blood sugar levels. On the other hand, carbs like sugar, white flour, breads, pasta and pastries causes a blood sugar spike, leading to stress. Choose the right carbs as your stress-fighting ally!

17. JUST BREATHE

For five minutes every day, sit by yourself – eyes closed and a smile on your face – and breathe consciously. This can be done as a morning ritual or to regroup in a stressful situation. As Elena Brower put it in her Daily Breathing Health Challenge: “Just sit and listen to your inner talk, and bring more breathing to those five minutes, without judgement. This is the most grounding, healing practice any of us can do.”

18. GO TO THE SPA!

Ahhhh, yes! The stress-buster you’ve been waiting for! There’s no better way to reduce stress than a trip to the spa – and it’s not just for the relaxation benefits. The healing touch of a massage or body treatment stimulates circulation and benefits long-term heart health.

Like Us, We’ll Donate!

Show our Facebook page some LIKE, and we’ll spread the LOVE. If you haven’t yet joined our fun, spa-filled world on Facebook, now is the time. Spa Week pledges to donate 25¢ to the American Heart Association for every new Like in February, which is American Heart Month.

Tell your friends and let’s help raise money and awareness for a heart-healthy future!

In other <3 news: Be sure to enter to win a 1-year supply of POM Wonderful + a $300 Spa & Wellness Gift Card, and strengthen your loving relationship in 15 minutes a day by joining Andrea Syrtash’s LOVE Challenge.

Keeping Up With Spa Week: February Giveaways + Happenings

Join us in ushering in the shortest month of the year with this long list of giveaways, promos and happenings. Click through on the images for more info on each.

Hope you LOVE the month!

Nutrition 911 Giveaway

Win a 4-night vacation at the famous Golden Door Spa, plus a personalized nutrition plan from Dr. Wendy Bazilian! Giveaway runs Feb 1 – March 11.

Enter to Win a Trip to Elle Spa in Miami

Spa Destination of the month

Attention beauty buffs and spa lovers, Spa Week is pleased to announce a year-long partnership with ELLE Spa and Eden Roc Renaissance Miami Beach. We’re kicking it off wit the chance for you to win a three-night stay + spa treatments! Giveaway runs Feb 1 – March 11.

Valentine’s Day Gift Card Sale – 10% Off All Cards

Spa Gift Card Sale

Send your sweetie to the spa… and perhaps you go with! Spa & Wellness Gift Cards by Spa Week are redeemable at 5000 spas in North America. Sale runs Feb 1 – 15.

Like Us to Support the American Heart Association

Like Us For Heart

February is the month to educate yourself on heart health. For every new LIKE this February we’ll pay it forward in the form of LOVE (25¢) to the greatest heart health education resource there is. Runs the entire month of February.

Love Your Heart with Spa Week and POM Wonderful

Speaking of your heart, we’re celebrating American Heart Month with a giveaway ! Win a 1-year supply of POMWonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice + $300 Spa & Wellness Gift Card. Giveaway runs Feb 1 – 29.

Join Healthy Relationship Expert Andrea Syrtash’s LOVE Challenge

Did you know the average couple spends less than 15 minutes a day talking uninterrupted? Beat the odds with our Valentine’s Day challenge, hosted by author and Healthy Relationship Expert Andrea Syrtash. Challenge runs February 3-14.

And, as always, check out our monthly SPA DEALS and FREE SWAG!

Love Your Heart Giveaway: Win a Year of POM + Spa!

From our heart to yours! February is American Heart Month, a month to remind you to stay physical, eat what’s good for you, kick bad habits, get regular checkups, reduce stress, learn the subtle signs of a heart attack, and remind loved ones to do the same.

Whether you’re in your late 70s, mid 40s or early 20s, there is something YOU can and should be doing to take care of your heart. Stay tuned throughout the month; we’ll be blogging tips and information to help you lead a heart-healthy life. We recommend bookmarking American Heart Association, the ultimate resource to being proactive about your heart health.

To kick off the month Spa Week-style, we’ve got a giveaway for you! We want to inspire healthy habits year-round, not just during February, so we’ve partnered with POM Wonderful to give one winner a prize package for a year filled with POM + SPA.

THE PRIZE:

  • A one-year supply of POM Wonderful delivered to your door – monthly shipments of six 48oz bottles of POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice + a basket of POM goodies, such as a drink shaker and apron, with your first shipment!
  • A year filled with spa treatments with a $300 Spa & Wellness Gift Card by Spa Week.
  • Total Prize Value: $1,091.28

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF POM? POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice contains the juice from crushed POM Wonderful pomegranates with no added sugar, artificial ingredients or cheap filler juices. And with uniquely concentrated powerful antioxidants, POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice has the highest polyphenol content and has demonstrated a superior ability to fight harmful free radicals compared to several other healthy beverages including acai and blueberry juices. POM Wonderful – it’s authentic, delicious and 100% pure.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF SPA? Where to start! Firstly, the simple act of escaping to the spa benefits your heart by lowering your stress level, which in turn helps maintain healthy blood pressure. In particular, the #1 most popular spa treatment in America is massage, a  powerful way to improve your circulation and the overall health of your heart.

TO ENTER:

1. TWEET THIS: Celebrate <3 health month! bit.ly/POMSPA Win a 1-year supply of @POMWonderful + a $300 @SpaWeekGiftCard from @SPAWEEK. #SPAwonderful

2. ENTER ON OUR FACEBOOK PAGE: CLICK HERE

DETAILS:

The contest runs through the entire month of February. One winner will be selected at random and contacted via email on or around March 1st, and will have 3 business days to accept the prize before another winner is chosen. Good luck and be healthy!

Updated 3/15: WINNER!

Congratulations to Danielle Oyen @danijebo from Washington. Enjoy your year of POM and spa in the best of good health!

BONUS GOODNESS!

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