'Look for the silver lining': Tips for reducing stress in 2023
Psychologist Dr. David Rakofsky, president of Wellington Counseling Group in Northbrook, Chicago and Lincolnwood, offers stress-reducing tips people can work on in 2023.
• Do something for your future self. Something as easy as folding laundry, washing dishes or preparing a meal are things your future self will thank you for doing now ahead of a stressful day.
• Ask for help: It's not a sign of weakness, and people innately want to help one another. Ask your in-laws to watch the kids for a few hours outside. Ask your partner to do that chore you put off. Let the restaurant do the cooking for you this once.
• Talk to a friend, family or therapist about what you're thinking.
• Exercise helps! It leads to an increase in endorphins ("happy hormones" that relieve pain and stress), which are more than likely lowered from possible increased sedentary activities.
• Acknowledge that you can't do it all. People! You have a lot going on ... You can't possibly do it all, forgive yourself that you can't do it all. Instead, congratulate yourself on the everyday victories (leaving the bed, smiling, putting on pants).
• Focus on healthy eating. Proper nutrition can work wonders.
• Establish a proper sleep schedule/routine. Proper sleep hygiene is one key to a healthy mind.
• Talk it out: Whether you talk with a friend or a professional, sometimes just talking through your mind's worst-case scenarios is helpful.
• Develop or lean into hobbies.
• Do something that you previously enjoyed, even if you don't want to or don't feel like it. You may be surprised by the positive effect it may have on you.
• Identify your triggers and try to manage or avoid them.
• Look for the silver lining.
• Safely connect with loved ones in positive healthy ways such as taking a walk, going to a park, FaceTime calls, etc.
• Acknowledge when you've reached your limit and try to lean into healthy distractions.