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5 Ways to Cure Stress

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“I just want to go back to bed and get away from all of it. I can’t handle this stress!” Complaints to resolve, picking kids up from practice, returning the text from my friend who feels like I’m ignoring her, mediating the explosive fight between my kids, making a meal for the teacher who just had a baby and a husband who wants some time with me too.

Does this sound like you? No one can escape stress. Whether it’s related to your marriage, parenting, work, friendships, or finances, at some point you will be faced with common life stressors.

Many times stress is out of our control, but in some cases, we have more control than we think. Setting boundaries is a way to avoid and decrease stress. When we set limits around us, we teach others what we need and how to be in a healthy relationship with us. Boundaries protect us from over-committing, getting burned out, damaging our relationships with resentment, and being hurt.

If you are looking for a cure for your stress, try some of these boundaries:

1. Don’t Try to Make Everyone Happy

It is impossible to make everyone completely happy. Most of the time when you try, you sacrifice things that are important to you. I’ve worked with many clients who struggle with setting this boundary and end up full of resentment. Save yourself some stress by prioritizing things that matter most to you and negotiating the things that are less important. This trap and others can lead to self-destruction.

2. Say No

When going through busy seasons, balance is key to keeping your stress low. You can spread out the busyness by saying “no” to things that will put you over the edge. When I am overly busy, I have to find the best “yes” when making choices with my time. There are so many good opportunities I could say yes to, but not all of them are what is best. If you tend to say yes to everything, it’s time to set some boundaries to keep you from over-committing.

3. Plan a Rest Day

A “no” day is a day of rest where you say no to the demands that everyone puts on you. Maybe it’s realistic to make it a half-day if you can’t take a full one. Plan this day to include some positive self-care. Make sure you use the time to relax and do something fun. A day like this can rejuvenate you just enough to make it through a stressful time. If you need some simple ways to take care of yourself, here is a great list.

4. Set Realistic Expectations

You are not a super hero. I repeat, you are not a super hero. Your life does not have to be perfect. It never can be, so stop trying and lower your expectations to something you can make happen. When you set expectations too high, you will often feel like a failure and increase your stress. Set some appropriate boundaries with yourself by saying no to a picture of perfection.

5. Practice Emotional Boundaries

Emotional boundaries are ones you set internally when dealing with others. These protect you from being let down by others by expecting them to be who they are. Family and other relationships aren’t always positive and can be painful. When you expect people to be who they are, you will find yourself saying, “Of course they did that” instead of “I can’t believe they did that.” Having healthy emotional boundaries will decrease your stress and leave you less rattled by relationship struggles.

So what are some things you do to cope with stress?

Teri Claassen is a Jesus follower, wife to Dan, mommy to one boy and one girl, a foster mom to kids in need, and a therapist at Renewed Horizon Counseling in Tampa, FL.


Is it ever hard for you to say no to someone?

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