Life in the Bay Area of California can be a dream for millions of people. The weather is nice, the opportunities are plenty, and the American Dream is accessible for many in the region. Though you may love the area you live in because of the sun, the ocean, and the people, that doesn’t mean that everything is always peachy.
Life is full of challenges. The pressure to earn a living, invest time in your friends and family, care about a significant other, and make time for social outings can be overwhelming. Stress is a feeling that almost everyone deals with from time to time, and some struggle with it consistently.
Stress can dramatically lower your quality of life if you allow it to control you. It can ruin even the happiest moments of your day. Dealing with stress is not a simple formula, but many strategies can help you reduce this feeling during your everyday routines as a Bay Area resident.
Sources of stress are typically easy to name. However, some of them may be a bit more subtle than something like losing a job or suffering from poor physical health. The state of your living situation can be a big stressor if things are messy without you even realizing it. Sometimes, all it takes is a little decluttering to improve your mood. You can easily declutter by focusing on minimalism and sustainability. Get rid of things you haven’t used in over a year and offer no sentimental value. Get creative in organizing the space. Learn to pick up after yourself immediately rather than leaving a mess to grow over time. A cleaner home can reduce stress significantly, even if you had no idea it was causing that feeling.
Get Outside and Enjoy the Bay Area
There is so much data on the health benefits of spending time outdoors. The fresh air and sunlight can be a gift to both your body and your mind, and the Bay Area offers plenty of places and activities that can get you outside more. You could visit the Japanese Tea Garden or Point Reyes National Seashore to enjoy the beauty of nature. There are miles upon miles of walking and biking trails that can be truly pleasant to explore throughout the city and surrounding region. You could go for a kayak ride on the Napa River. Explore the Bay Area outside to provide a mental boost that will help reduce the effect of stress on your well-being.
Strengthen Your Closest Relationship
Perhaps you have a significant other in the form of a boyfriend/girlfriend or spouse. This person matters more to you than anyone, and if things are not going well in that relationship, every other area of your life may become challenging. This will be an enormous source of stress that is hard to overcome. Fortunately, there are ways to invest in this relationship so that it is no longer a stressor for you. First, prioritize quality time with each other and have honest conversations. If you need a third party to help, consider online couples therapy. Though life may get busy, continue to plan dates with each other. Remember that this person is an individual even if you are married, so they are allowed to have some traits and interests separate from your own. A stronger relationship built on communication will significantly reduce your stress levels.
Learn to Say “No”
This is a big problem for a lot of younger people. Often, our culture promotes this idea of always being busy. It is almost a way to feel better about yourself, like your life has more value if your schedule is packed. Learning to understand your limits and say “no” to some things could vastly improve your mental well-being. Making space in your schedule to relax and not allowing other events to take up that time can help you rest and recover your energy. Plus, a busy schedule is bound to increase the stress in your life since you will constantly be on the go. The short-term disappointment of missing out on some things will be quickly overcome by the positive outcome of less stress.
Always Start By Identifying the Source of Your Stress
Not every solution listed above will completely reverse your mental health struggles. It all depends on what is causing your stress in the first place. Does it have to do with your job, your family, your friends, your home, or your schedule? Are you not entirely sure why you are stressed? Figuring out the source of your stress is the most important step to take before you try anything else. Then, you can make an informed decision about action steps to reduce stress levels.
Published by HOLR Magazine.