Advice Column

10 Ways to Make Your Stress Work For You

make your stress work for you, modern bathroom with tub

“Tension exists throughout the entire body. How it affects you depends on how you manage it.

There was a study out of Amsterdam that shows when you touch a stuffed animal (especially is you have low self esteem) it helps relieve anxiety.

Some people can self regulate by breathing, meditation, exercise. They develop tools that help them fight the stress and reduce the pain it causes.

But not all people are wired that way. Some people feel completely overwhelmed by it.

And the tension freezes their bodies until they can’t move at all.” -Grey’s Anatomy

make your stress work for you by working out every day

Like many of you, I’ve experienced this myself. Many times.

Particularly heightened through divorce, loss and now… since the pandemic.

One thing I’ve learned is that if you allow it, it will feel all consuming.

And so you must take the steps to find how to make your stress work for you.

The idea of time management.

As parents we wear many hats.

Just the thought of trying to think through what’s on schedule and what’s for dinner etc. can be exhausting.


Brain fog is now the norm so much so that we don’t even realize it’s an issue. And now… they have pills for that.

Our bodies breakdown, our patience runs thin and even the littlest things become overwhelming.

But why settle for chaos when life.. doesn’t have to be hard.

Make your stress work for you.

Take this idea from the French that is now implemented all over the world.

Mise en place (MEEZ ahn plahs). “A French term for having all your ingredients measured, cut, peeled, sliced, grated, etc. before you start cooking. It is a technique chefs use to assemble meals quickly and effortlessly.”

It sets you up so you can be present and not have to worry about all the things that can steal your time and attention.

The French are known for many things but this is a fantastic way to set up your routine to optimize your days ahead.

Is it easy to do, no. But consistency if often something everyone struggles with despite the proven benefits.

If you struggle to commit to mise en place your next “shift” every night, then maybe it’s some thing that you can commit to on Sundays to set up your entire week.

The outcome of setting yourself up for success and ease far outweighs what it takes on the front end.

I’ve noticed that even my kids will complain about having to clean up their room but then after they always, always say how much better they feel when it’s done.

It brings a sense of peace and calm to not be in a state of chaos and so when we approach our day the night before, we are setting ourselves up for that same sense of peace and calm.

And don’t think of it as another thing that you have to do, think of it as part of your self-care.

Something that invests back into you.

Here are 10 ways you can make your stress work for you:

  1. Talk therapy
    • If you aren’t comfortable seeing someone in person there are plenty of tele-health options available. 
  2. Phone a friend
    • Believe it or not sharing your internal chaos can be a release. It can also help you to feel relatable. Find someone in your circle who you can depend on to just listen. At any time. Free from judgement. If your circle is small, like many people, join an online support group. 
  3. Calm app / insight timer
    • These apps are a great way to settle down after a busy day. There are soundscapes, sleep stores, music etc. Even my kids have their favorites and listen every single night.
  4. Meditation
    • When we get silent, we hear things we were otherwise too loud to notice. Moments of pause can be simply sitting in silence or perhaps a guided meditation. Maybe sitting with your eyes closed reciting gratitude.
  5. Walking, nature, vitamin D
    • So easy yet so hard to remember to do. We are natural living beings and therefore our bodies love to be outside among other living things. Take a walk, step away, even for 10 min and let the sun shine on your face.
  6. Coloring
    • When you sit down to color, your mind gets quiet. Your focus is on the colors you select, gently staying inside the lines…. or maybe your one of those that outlines with your crayon before coloring the rest. Whatever your style, coloring is a fantastic way to relax.
  7. Movement
    • Don’t stop until you find something you can commit too. Give yourself the grace to try different things. Perhaps via an app. My favs are BBG, MWH, Obé. Also, don’t set your goals too high or you may not want to be consistent.
  8. Journal
    • There are so many benefits to journaling. It’s a great way to document, set your intentions, write gratitude and goals. Find a time of day where it is most rewarding for you and allow it to become part of your daily practice.
  9. You are what you eat
    • Be mindful of what you put into your body. Often what you put in, is what you’ll get in return. If you fill your body with nutrient dense, non-processed foods at the optimal portion size chances are you will feel energized and satisfied. On the other hand, processed foods, too much alcohol and caffeine can lead to sluggish and irritable behavior.
  10. Be mindful of what you are consuming.
    • Not only what you eat but what you watch, hear, taste. I stopped watching the news. I noticed how terrible I felt, how sad and anxious I got. I stay away from people who constantly complain or have negative things to say. I have become sober curious because is that alcohol intake truly serving me?

What are some way that you have made your stress work for you? Comment and share all your tips below!

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Multi-passionate creative, creator of 2, cocktails-well any time and fashion I cant afford. 

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