Stress…we all have it, we certainly all have more of it than usual these days, and we all have the inclination to shop, eat or invest in a project to alleviate and detract from that stress. Before 2020 breaks the bank – if it hasn’t already – and before any impending challenges we may face in the new year, consider the following tips; reduce stress and spending.

1. TAKE TIME FOR YOURSELF, EVERY SINGLE DAY

I know what you’re thinking; taking a little “me time” seems like a great idea, but it’s impossible to do when raising a family, running a business, etc. Before you disregard this suggestion and move on to the second tip, hear me out.

  • Focus on Quality, Not Quantity | The first mistake most people make is thinking that “me time” involves extended periods of undisturbed time. In fact, a solid 5 minutes without disruption or distraction can do wonders. Start small, work from there.
  • Fresh Air is Never Overrated | When it’s sweltering hot outside, and you are comfortable in the a/c, or it’s freezing out and toasty warm inside, it may be a little too easy to dismiss the idea of venturing outside. A quick brisk walk around the block (without devices) or 5 minutes with the sun on your face (again, without devices) will invigorate your body and calm your mind.
  • Ditch Your Devices, All of Them | Ditch your devices for a full 5 minutes. Try it. Stare out a window or close your eyes, focus on your breath, and find solace in the quiet. So many of us are uncomfortable with a moment of quiet and far too comfortable with the constant bombardment of technology.

2. TAKE A MINI VACATION FROM THE NEWS

Even if you aren’t glued to your local news channel or social media feeds, the steady stream of news can wreak havoc on our nervous system and mind. Even when we don’t consciously seem affected by news reports, research shows otherwise. “This emotional toll and negative effect on the psyche were demonstrated in a study that found people who watched negative material, as compared to those who watched positive or neutral material, showed an increase in both anxious and sad moods only after 14-minutes of viewing television news bulletins and programs.” – VeryWellMind

  • Limit Your Daily Dose | We often get in the habit of leaving the news streaming on our TVs, devices, or radio. While we go about our day, our subconscious absorbs the negative news more than we think it would. Establish limits for yourself; 30 minutes maximum is recommended, including scrolling, and reading.
  • Schedule Worry Time | As any chronic worrier knows, for many there is no pause or stop button. However, you may succeed in allowing yourself a period in the day to get lost in the worry. Make sure you have time to process your thoughts and settle your anxieties long before bedtime.
  • Choose Reliable News Sources | Without jumping on the fake news bandwagon, there is truth recognizing that news outlets are businesses. It’s essential to learn how to decipher facts from delivery, a.k.a. sensation tactics, like tone and words like “may,” “likely,” and “could.”

3. MAKE SURE YOU ARE GETTING ENOUGH SLEEP

“The brain basis of a mutual relationship between sleep and mental health is not yet completely understood. But neuroimaging and neurochemistry studies suggest that a good night’s sleep helps foster both mental and emotional resilience. In contrast, chronic sleep deprivation sets the stage for negative thinking and emotional vulnerability.” – HarvardHealth.

  • Set Realistic Goals | We all want more sleep. Like any other goal, the more realistic we are in selecting our sleep goal, the more chance we can attain it. So, if you are a night owl, don’t expect to be able to go to bed hours in advance of your usual bedtime. Try getting into bed an hour earlier, and aim for 20-30 minutes more sleep at a time. As you succeed, you can move closer to your goal.
  • Not to Sound Redundant, but Ditch the Devices | Again, be realistic. Start small, limiting your device time before bed or first thing in the morning by increments of 15 minutes. A little does a lot of good when it comes to cutting out screen time.
  • Reinvest in the Printed Page | There is something about reading an actual book that just can’t be replaced with technology. Not to mention reading a book is a sure-fire way to slow your mind and get you ready for sleep. Just don’t choose a thriller that you can’t put down!

4. INDULGE

Indulging in your favourite treat may seem counterintuitive to saving money, but there is a lot of sound reasoning in taking time out to spoil yourself every so often. Instead of binging on retail therapy, or otherwise, when you feel stressed, try to regularly make time to enjoy something you love each week, thoroughly.

  • Make Your Grande Latte an Event | Trade your morning latte for the at-home version, and opt for #FoamFridays. You will save a ton of money in the long run, and your favourite barista-brewed drink will taste that much sweeter…or better if you don’t like sugar in your coffee!
  • Deconstruct Your Seasonal Wardrobe | Go through your wardrobe and make a list of what needs replacement or what you are missing. Each payday, purchase one quality item on the list. Go into a local business, feel the clothing, try various things on, and revel in the entire experience. It will mean so much more to you and likely be a better fit for your style than a quick cash dump on an online site.
  • Make Eating Out…or Takeout…a Date Night | Rather than ordering a multitude of good but not great food every day, take a little time in your week to prepare a meal plan. Once a week, order your favourite takeout, support a local small business when possible, and make it a date night. Whether you eat with a friend, a family member or alone, grab your favourite dessert, drink, and light a candle or dim the lights. Take time to unwind and enjoy the food thoroughly!

Reducing debt can also help relieve stress. 24Cash is a Canadian business dedicated to helping hard-working Canadians enjoy the life they deserve. If you need a hand in reducing your debt or a little extra cash to get you through the month, consider a small loan. No questions asked, apply online, quick, and easy.