7 Ways To Make Reducing Stress Your Top New Year’s Resolution

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Learning how to reduce stress may be at the top of your New Year's resolutions list for 2021.

After all, you were in for a big surprise in 2020. You never would have expected a pandemic — and it still isn't over.

Although, now that the vaccine is out, things feel more hopeful. Still, we will probably have to wait and see how it goes.

You can still create hope for yourself in the New Year, no matter what happens with the pandemic.

RELATED: The Scary Truth About What Happens To Your Body When You're Stressed

Make sure to keep in touch with friends and family. See what they're doing to remain positive and hopeful. This will also help keep you stay connected socially.

As human beings, we need one another — this is nothing to feel bad about.

This is still a stressful time, so it's important to take care of your nervous system and give yourself plenty of breaks when you need them. This will prevent you from feeling flooded, panicked, and overwhelmed.

You're not a robot. This means you can't keep going unless you take care of yourself.

You shouldn't be around people who expect you to keep going all the time. It's important to be around people that respect your boundaries.

If learning how to reduce stress is part of your New Year's resolutions, here are 7 ways to get started.

1. Keep it simple.

You're led to believe that in order to get ahead, you must suffer. This is an old belief.

Now, don’t get me wrong: If you want to get ahead, then you'll have to sweat a little bit. But not at the expense of yourself and loved ones.

If you can’t afford a new car, then buy a used one. Don’t worry about what others might think. What matters is that you won’t be stressed out and feeling depressed.

2. Stop beating yourself up with negative self-talk.

We've all done this, and it's really a waste of time. You tell yourself things that aren’t true.

Maybe these are things you heard growing up, or that were shouted at you in a prior relationship. Replace each negative thought with a positive thought.

It can be as simple as, "Today will be a fresh start."

3. Rest your mind.

Set aside 10 minutes a day to breathe and close your eyes. Yes, that feels like too much time. But it really isn’t.

Make sure you clear your mind. If thoughts come up, don’t judge them, just let them be.

Now, you’re probably thinking that it's a waste of time. That’s because you've trained your brain to think that way. Start retraining your brain today by letting it rest.

RELATED: 16 Scary Medical Conditions You're At Risk Of Developing From Stress

4. Get moving.

Studies have shown that walking a minimum of 35 minutes a day helps reduce depression symptoms for those who have mild to moderate symptoms of depression.

You can exercise inside or outside. Try a workout that will challenge you and get your heart rate up.

I like to start the day with exercise. When I do, I'm much more focused and in a really good mood.

5. Don’t isolate yourself.

When you're feeling depressed, you may feel more irritable and like you don’t want to be around people. You may even hear voices that are telling you to stay in.

This is the best time to be around friends and family. Safely being in a positive social atmosphere can help lighten your spirits.

Pull yourself up by the bootstraps and connect with others. You’ll be glad that you did.

6. Get outside and soak in the rays.

You need natural sunlight — a.k.a., vitamin D. A minimum of 20 minutes a day of sunshine is best.

If you can, sit by a window during the day. You also need to get outside. Try going for a 20-minute walk and see how you feel.

If you live in a place where it's too cold to get outside during the day, then invest in natural-light light bulbs, rather than fluorescent light.

7. Turn it over to a higher power

When it feels like nobody else cares, it’s good to know that God cares. You aren’t meant to be perfect.

This is an unreal expectation to have of yourself. You also shouldn’t hang around people who expect perfection from you all the time.

The next time you're feeling stressed out, say a prayer. Ask God what you should do. Then, just sit there and breathe.

Begin to make a list of what helps reduce stress in your life. Write down how you feel after completing one of these activities. You can also try some of your own ideas.

You will begin to trust yourself. This will help you feel better and will also help you listen to your inner voice.

Remember, you don't have to go through this alone. You can reach out to a therapist, coach, friend, or family member.

RELATED: How To Deal With Stress & Turn It Into Your Own Superpower

Lianne Avila is a Marriage & Family Therapist helping people in San Mateo, CA who are looking to create a life that is happier and more fulfilling. Please subscribe to Lianne’s newsletter on Lessons for Love to learn more about her services and expertise.

This article was originally published at Lessons for Love. Reprinted with permission from the author.