Stress is a persistent part of our daily lives, making it necessary for us to have a good stress management plan. Otherwise, personal and professional obligations – along with never-ending to-do lists – can feel overwhelming, leading to burnout and exhaustion. But for many of us, even when we know something must change so that we may find a way out of the constant stress cycle, the problem is we’re simply not sure how or where to begin.
Major lifestyle changes can feel daunting, and for some of us, remaining in the stress cycle feels more appealing than uphauling our entire lives.
If this is you, rest assured that that’s okay. The truth is, you don’t have to make a life-changing transformation to find stress relief. You can take back your energy and manage your daily stress using straightforward stress management techniques anchored in personalized self-care practices.
Keep reading to learn what a stress management plan is, what it’s good for, and how to create your own personal plan based on self-care. Plus, learn about our 30-day self-paced online course to manage stress using simple self-care practices that support a healthy body and mind.
What Is A Stress Management Plan And What Is It Good For?
A stress management plan is a personalized program designed to help you manage stress before it seeps into all aspects of your life. By creating a plan that works for you, you can take back control of your own thoughts and feelings. In turn, this allows you to dedicate your time and energy to people and experiences that truly matter to you.
The following are all central components of an effective stress management plan:
- Identifying what triggers stress so you can prepare your mindset before stepping into a potentially stressful experience
- Understanding what stress hormones feel like in your body
- Having quick exercises (such as breathing techniques) on-hand for stressful moments
- Keeping a regular self-care routine filled with practices that support your mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being (such as meditation, relaxation, journaling, self-reflection, and exercise).
By creating a personalized stress management plan, you foster deeper self-awareness, allowing you to understand your triggers as well as your natural reactions to stress. Through this deeper understanding, you can begin to have more control over your stress (as opposed to stress controlling you). This, in turn, allows you to better manage your emotions. Rather than suppressing your stressful feelings or allowing them to spiral into unhealthy habits, you can confront your feelings with a sense of calm, strength, and confidence.
Using personalized stress management techniques also helps you to take care of your total health and well-being: mind, body, and spirit. This is important, as long-term stress has significant negative health effects on the body, including increased heart rate and blood pressure, gastrointestinal problems, and a weakened immune system . It can also negatively affect one’s mental health, causing cognitive dysfunction and an increased vulnerability to psychiatric disorders . Managing your stress allows you to take back control of your health and lessens the risk of stress-induced health disorders.
Through meaningful self-care practices, you’re not just dealing with your stress when it comes; you’re cultivating a lifestyle that reduces the amount of daily stress you experience altogether. When you focus on self-care, the power of external circumstances to trigger stress decreases. You become more stable, grounded, and centered, no matter what’s occurring in your outer world.
Creating A Personal Stress Management Plan: 4 Useful Ideas
As you begin to think about your own stress management plan, consider the following elements and how you might include them in your personal program. (You might even find it helpful to write down your thoughts on a piece of paper.)
#1 – Identify Your Triggers
Triggers are events or situations that provoke negative thoughts or feelings within. Stress triggers are situations that cause you to experience feelings of worry, fear, anxiety, and unease. Some triggers may be regular experiences, such as your commute home from work or a particularly stressful weekly meeting. Other triggers might occur less often, such as hosting a big holiday gathering at your home. By identifying your triggers, you can prepare your mindset before a stressful situation arises.
#2 – Recognize How Stress Manifests In Your Body
When you feel stressed, do you feel it in your chest, neck, and/or shoulders? Does stress manifest as stomach pains or tension headaches? Do you begin to feel angry and snap easily at others? Make a list of all the ways in which you experience stress physically, mentally, and emotionally. Through recognition of your body’s stress cues, you can engage in practices that support your well-being and lessen the all-consuming feelings that stress often produces.
#3 – Plan Quick Exercises For Reducing Stress
Make a list of activities you can do when you’re experiencing feelings of stress and anxiety. These activities don’t necessarily have to be about eliminating your stress. Rather, you might tell yourself that it’s okay to feel stressed sometimes. Remind yourself that no matter what, you still have ultimate power over your thoughts and emotions—not your stress.
Activities you might include in your stress management plan include breathing exercises, positive affirmations, five-minute nature walks, and mindfulness practices.
#4 – Plan Weekly Self-Care Activities For Stress Reduction
Regular self-care can promote feelings of calm, stability, and inner peace. It can also reduce stress and improve your quality of life . Pencil in time for meaningful self-care in your weekly schedule. What practices feel good to you? What helps you to relax? What nourishes your mind, body, and spirit? Rather than viewing these activities as selfish or even a luxury you can’t afford, treat them as necessary components of your wellness routine.
Here are a few self-care practices you might choose to include in your plan. Each of these practices has science-backed health benefits to decrease stress and improve your mental, emotional, and/or physical health.
- Mindfulness meditation 
- Physical exercise 
- Nature walks 
- Watching funny TV shows (or other activities that promote humor and laughter) 
- Yoga 
- Social engagement and support 
Click here to learn more about self-care and download a FREE SELF-CARE CHECKLIST to track your weekly self-care routine. On this checklist, you’ll find self-care practices for physical, mental, and emotional health. You’ll also find spaces to fill in a couple of your own favorite self-care activities under each category.
Another excellent way to start and maintain a regular self-care routine focused on stress relief and relaxation is taking a self-paced stress-management course that allows you to implement a personalized stress management plan in your life. Keep reading if you want to discover a great option you might like to consider!
30 Days Of Simple Self-Care – Managing Stress
Are you ready to create your own personalized stress management plan? If you’re looking for deeper guidance into building and maintaining a plan that supports your mind, body, and spirit, we’ve created a course completely dedicated to helping you effectively manage your stress.
30 Days of Simple Self Care – Managing Stress is a self-paced online course consisting of 30 course days of lessons, activities, meditations, and resources designed to help you find a way out of the stress cycle through simple self-care practices. Some of the activities in this course can be done in as little as 60 seconds for quick yet effective stress relief. Other activities promote dedicating time to heartfelt self-care, relaxation, and soul-nourishing rituals. Through these exercises, you’ll receive the lessons and skills you need to encounter stress with a mindset of calm and acceptance.
This 30-day, self-paced online course is broken down into six carefully chosen focal points, spreading over five days each. It can be completed within a month – i.e. doing one course day per calendar day – or within any timeframe you choose.
For each focal point, you’ll receive a profound guided meditation, simple self-care exercises (to be carried out in the comfort of your home or wherever else you choose), worksheets, and meaningful guidance for stress relief. Daily activities range from practicing breathing exercises to doing a creative project.
Here are the six focal points you’ll learn about in this course:
- Focus 1: Accepting What Is
- Focus 2: Keep Breathing
- Focus 3: Slowing Down
- Focus 4: Relaxing Body & Mind
- Focus 5: Offering Comfort & Care
- Focus 6: Trusting Yourself
- Complete On Your Own Time: You get to set the pace, which means you can complete this course in 30 days, or you can spend extra time going over the content. You can also take breaks between days or repeat certain activities multiple times. It’s completely up to you!
- Use Items You Already Have: You can complete all activities with items you already have in the home; additional worksheets and online activities will be provided to you.
- Minimal Interruptions To Your Daily Routine: The self-care tools and exercises you’ll learn about in this course can all be easily incorporated into your daily routine. While some of the activities will ask that you carve out some time for self-care practices, you can choose to complete these exercises when your schedule allows. (And as you’ll learn, making time for self-care is necessary for the long-term health of your mind, body, and spirit.)
- Receive Long-Term Simple Yet Profound Self-Care Tools: The lessons, activities, and resources you receive will provide you with a long-term, stable path out of the persistent stress cycle. Once you’ve completed this course, you’ll be able to continue to use these tools for years to come.
The Bottom Line
Having a personal stress management plan allows you to manage stress before it begins to take over other aspects of your life. Through identifying your triggers, recognizing how stress shows up in your body, and prioritizing self-care, you can break free from the persistent stress cycle. This allows you to dedicate your energy to the people and experiences that truly matter to you.
If you’re looking for meaningful guidance to start your own stress management plan, our online course 30 Days of Self-Care –Managing Stress offers you lessons, activities, meditations, and resources to help you find a way out of the stress cycle through simple self-care practices and relaxation techniques.
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