# classical music # combating stress

10 Actionable Ways to Reduce Stress | Jennifer L. Scott

My last video on combating stress sparked a lot of conversation. Turns out, almost all of us deal with stress! I am not surprised by this. Whether financial stress, workload stress, parenting stress, or all of the above, people are interested in reducing it. How can we move through life beautifully and go through challenging times with grace?

I sat down with Ben and we did an experiment. I wrote down ten ways to combat stress and he wrote down his. When we revealed our ways to each other they were so different! My ways were actions and his ways were mental shifts. Perhaps I can get Ben to come back and share his tips with you, but in today's video, I'm sharing ten ways that I personally combat stress.

🌿Get out in nature This is what I discussed primarily in my last stress video, but I find that as soon as I step out into nature, my stress tends to dissolve. You could go on a walk, have a picnic, sit on a park bench, or just observe what you see through nature journaling.

🌿Spend quality time with your children I do realize that children are often the cause of our stress so this may seem antithetical, but when you view the world through a child's eyes and get down on their level to play, your stress dissolves. Put your to-do list away and start to pretend play.

🌿Stay off social media for an extended period of time I know many of you already do this. Social media induces stress for me. I especially do not like the addictive tendencies I have toward checking my Instagram or Facebook feeds. Lots of time spent on social media also represents lots of time we are wasting and not being productive, which can lead to stress as well. Take regular extended breaks from it and over time you will not want to go on as much.

🌿Read a book Picture this: you are in a well-lit reading nook, sitting in your favorite arm chair with a cup of tea and your favorite book. Isn't your stress dissipating already? In lieu of watching TV, I like to tuck in with a good book and my stress seems to melt when I do this...

🌿Spa-like self care While many of us cannot afford to take a spa day (let alone find time to get away), we can still recreate a spa-like experience at home. Ideas that I regularly do: take a hot bath, apply a face mask, at-home manicures and pedicures, etc.

🌿Get a massage I store much of my stress and tension in my neck and shoulders so a massage is one instant way to help relieve that stress. You can get a massage from a family member, a professional masseuse, or from tools at home, such as this deep tissue back roller and this shiatsu hot stone massager.

🌿Work with your hands Knitting, crocheting, sewing, quilting, crafting, flower arranging, woodworking... there are many concentrated skills we can do with our hands that require focused attention and are deeply satisfying. I find that this type of activity is a great stress- reliever.

🌿Do some gardening Even though I am a rather clueless gardener, I still greatly enjoy getting out in the fresh air and being amongst our kitchen garden. It is very therapeutic to sow seeds, plant plants and even pull weeds. This is also an aspect of getting out in nature. You don't need a plot of land to garden, you just need some pots and a little outdoor space.

🌿Listen to classical music Perhaps my favorite on the list and the tactic I employ most often, listening to classical music has been proven to reduce stress. I just received a comment recently from a reader who wrote:

Hi, Jennifer! I was listening to a podcast about anxiety with my husband last night. He's a counselor and I have a business helping families simplify at home, so this is a topic we both share a great interest in. The discussion included ways to take your body from the sympathetic state (fight or flight) to a more relaxed parasympathetic state. One of the ways was through listening to music with seventy beats per minute, such as classical music. In fact, studies show that your heart will beat in time with classical music! It's that fascinating?! It made me think of your classical music advocacy. :)

Cook and bake from scratch As I write this, our kitchen was finished yesterday. The first meal I made? Large batch chicken pot pie. I made triple the pie filling and froze two... then I made a pie crust from scratch and we had our pot pie for dinner. It was deeply satisfying and was a marvelous escape. Cooking from scratch, especially when you make an event of it (tie an apron... listen to some music... etc.) is a wonderful way to relieve stress.

My pies always tend to look... rustic :)

On my nails: Dainty Daze- a periwinkle creme Use code JenniferS for 25% off your order.

I hope you enjoy today's video.

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Oh Renoir. As an art history student myself, I loved learning about the impressionists. The flicking of the brushstrokes, the warm palate, the conversational atmosphere that he created was undeniable. Next library run, I will bring home large format art books for my toddler to ogle at!

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I would love to know your tips for reducing stress. What actionable tips seem to work for you? Please let us know and your comment could be comment of the week on The Daily Connoisseur.

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Anonymous said...

Clarity in solitude. And giving myself permission to say "no" to events or people who take more time and energy than is available in my gas tank at present. Thanks for your list! Wrote it on a post-it note for my planner. xoxo

Janessa said...

Hi, Jennifer! I'm the anonymous commenter you quoted! For some reason, my comment posted "unknown" that time. Anyway, I love and employ all of these tips you've mentioned today! Gardening, reading, cooking, and all ways of using my hands! I have recently gotten back into wheel-thrown pottery. I'm going to be making some ceramic garden finials place on top of bamboo trellises. This should really spruce up the veggie garden! Thanks for the Busy Gardener Blog recommendation, by the way!

As for the massage tip, you have got to try out a Hyperice vibrating foam roller! My husband (the middle school counselor) is a marathon runner. A teacher friend loaned it to him to try. It's amazing! Apparently many teachers run (stress management!) and own these! I'm doing an Instagram story on it today if you are interested. @dwellhappyorganizing The social media tips you are on point! As someone who avoided social media altogether before starting a business, it's definitely something I try to be intentional about, which is easier said than done!

Since simplifying my home a few years back, I have been able to find so much more time to do all the things that make me happy! I do with agree with Ben that it's all about a mental shift too. Finding gratitude, for even the tiniest things, always brings us to a better place mentally. Simplifying at home is a great way to find more gratitude in each and every day.

I've read all your books and have been following along with you for a few years now. Thanks for all the inspiration to live a simple and passionate life!

Janessa...incase this posts "unknown" again! ;)

Ewa said...

Could you perhaps link the dollhouse? It's so lovely!

Deborah said...

Hi Jennifer,
Yes! Thumbs up to vote Ben on!
And you know, these ideas could easily translate into Chic assignments, right? 

Nature – a glimpse of God. If it were not for my picture windows into our backyard which has a pond and woods, I would be a basket case! I rest my eyes for snatches all through the day, and if anything wonderful shows up – whether gorgeous lighting, or wildlife, my camera is on the ready!
Children: recently began tutoring a step-grand-daughter. That interaction, although a lot of work, is very gratifying and feeling needed, appreciated and purposeful, reduces stress too.
Massages – This would be #1 on my husband’s list! Actually, I rub his feet and the chills go up his spine, neck, relaxes him all over!
Working with hands. Yes! For me it’s piano (which combines with the classical music idea), and I need to get back into painting, it’s very relaxing as well. Wish I loved cleaning house to relax. Have a SIL who does. Need a mental shift here.
Gardening – also is working with my hands… love pulling weeds from damp soil, planting flowers, picking dead blooms off, etc. I also love hosing the patio off, to relax.
Kitchen - love to bake but I just have no self-discipline when it comes to eating it, so that backfires. Cooking – I enjoy it if it’s something creative, other times it’s boring and messy. I like it more if it’s in kit form such as Home Chef. Need another shift in my mental attitude towards the mess that cooking makes… especially chopping salads… rubbery pieces of lettuce, carrot shreds, cauliflower on the floor, sticking to my fingers, hard to wipe up… Ugh.

So, if you could address the mental shift towards messy cooking and cleaning house… which I know Nikki is trying so hard to help us with these things. (You can tell her I found myself swaying to the music as I feather-dusted the venetians, even pointed my toes a couple times LOL!)

(I do read, and stay off social media, but would like to try some self-care spa-style)
Thank you!

mimimanderly said...

I find that going outdoors either to work in the garden or to take a hike in some nearby woods is a wonderful de-stresser. Being out in the sun also helps regulate your melatonin levels so that you sleep better at night. The woods that I especially like are not very big, but it's a quick drive, and it has a lovely babbling creek running through it with some large rocks that I can sit on surrounded by the murmurations of the rushing water. It also is the place where my husband and I had our first "date", so there are wonderful memories there as well.

Books definitely take me out of myself, which is good when I am stressed. I, too, read in the evening rather than watch TV. Even on a day when I'm too busy to read in the evening, I will at least read a few pages in bed before I go to sleep. I find that if I don't read then, I toss and turn. So even if it is late, it is time well spent to read until my eyes start closing. Sometimes this takes just a page or two, sometimes a chapter or two.

I'm not really "into" music. But I have parrots, and I started putting on classical music stations to calm and entertain them when I am either not home or busy. And I've noticed that the music calms me as well. I'm even starting to recognize certain pieces and certain composers.

Now, this one is weird, but I find that doing intensive cleaning (spring cleaning or zone cleaning, as opposed to the weekly maintenance) is calming. I just work my way around a room, doing a thorough job, and not only am I calmer, but I have a clean room to show for it. In fact, I just did this one today, as I was stressed out from having a water heater emergency and having a plumber traipsing in and out of the house all morning. So I started zone cleaning our computer room, and it took my mind off everything else that was going on around me.

Frenchcaligirl said...

Yes, to Ben sharing his tips! Can easily agree with your tips. Some additional things I like to do; ballet and or yoga-type stretches to music, gaze at clouds, let my mind wander and daydream, savor a special favorite food, some types of housecleaning, e.g., de-cluttering a drawer or cabinet, petting my cat, 🌿🐾🥐

Bobbi said...

The tip about get out in nature resonated with me. I arranged a day long corporate training meeting in a park for 20 people. We were meeting each other for the first time(stressful enough for an introvert like me). Breakfast and lunch was served in a open air pavilion. Before we drove home, we fed ducks in the pond. People were relaxed and engaged in the outdoor environment.

Bobbi said...

The tip about get out in nature resonated with me. I arranged a day long corporate training meeting in a park for 20 people. We were meeting each other for the first time(stressful enough for an introvert like me). Breakfast and lunch was served in a open air pavilion. Before we drove home, we fed ducks in the pond. People were relaxed and engaged in the outdoor environment.

Angela said...

Jennifer - Yes! Would love to hear Ben's thoughts on reducing stress. Whenever you two do a post together it makes me laugh & LAUGHTER is one of the best remedies for reducing stress. Thanks for all you do!

PenelopesMom said...

Hi Jennifer! I echo the previous sentiments and would love to hear your husband's thoughts on this subject. Changing a mindset is so difficult, and I would love to hear some of his tips and tricks. I love all your suggestions as well, I had to laugh because I also find pulling weeds very therapeutic! My husband thinks that's a little nutty, but hey, whatever works! Getting out in nature is also helpful when my daughter is having an especially fussy day.

Neecyfields said...

Hi Jennifer.
I'm delighted always with your practical, boosting, beautifully put together content. It is SO motivational.
I love the mouse family and dolls house you've bought your family. Can you please share with me the brand and resources where you purchased these? I play often with my grandchildren and these are simply delightful and perfect.
Living in Western Australia though they may not be readily available here but my son and his family live close to San Diego in southern California, so there's hope! Smiley face.
Thankyou lovely Jennifer I'm about to start on your purchased books. I bought all 3 at once through Amazon Australia!
God bless all of you.
Much love,
Denise XXxxxx

The Daily Connoisseur said...

Hi everyone,

Thank you so much for your comments on this post! Many people asked where the mouse house is from. The brand is Maileg. You can google them and find their store as well as other toy retailers who sell them. They are truly wonderful! Thank you for your insights on stress and I am trying to get Ben to share his tips :) Stay tuned!