Is Your Cup Too Full? 10 Ways to Reduce Your Stress

Do you feel irritable, anxious, overwhelmed, exhausted, or down? Then your cup is probably too full.

Our cup – daily stress level – begins to fill each day with little drops – the drops can be physical, emotional, or mental. Physical drops may be the morning tantrum from your two year old because you didn’t give her the “right” socks, running late for work, the phone call reminder from your boss about that project due soon, or not getting enough sleep. These drops build throughout the day, some bigger than others.  Emotional or mental drops may be larger such as healing from a loss, disappointment, or sadness. These drops add to our “cup” throughout the day, eventually resulting in an overflow if we do not sufficiently filter it.

A child came into my office admitting he had a “blow-up.”  When we talked about his full cup he was able to acknowledge before his day began his cup was partly full with worry from listening to the news and sadness from kids teasing on the bus. As the day went on he didn’t get his way, struggled with a question on school work, and fought with his sister. By the end of the day, without having ways to filter his cup, it overflowed and he tantrumed.  Adults do the same.  I noticed I became cranky towards the end of the work day and my cup was feeling too full. I realized I wasn’t taking a lunch break, seeing clients for eight sometimes ten or eleven hours straight. Now my calendar has a set lunch hour. My mood became much brighter taking time for myself, nourishing my body, and utilizing the time for phone calls, meditation, or quick walk outside. Lunch and a breath of fresh air was a simple way to filter my cup.

How to Drain Your Cup and Reduce Your Stress

  1. Check in with yourself throughout the day. Take a minute to take a deep breath and scan your body. Are you tense, frustrated, clenching your jaw, or taking shallow breaths? If so take one minute to do deep breathing. Then ask, “What do I need right now?” Try a quick walk outside, a call to a friend, or five minutes to journal.
  2. Move. Try yoga, walking, dance, or any form of exercise which helps reduce stress.
  3. Use your tribe. If you feel overloaded ask a friend or your partner for help.
  4. Nourish your body and soul. Nourish your body with healthy food choices. Nourish your soul with inspiring activities – read a daily positive affirmation and practice activities that are soul inspiring for you.
  5. Embrace the word no. Your cup will quickly overflow without having boundaries. Just because you are physically capable of doing many things – PTO meetings, making cupcakes for boy scouts, or hosting that fundraiser doesn’t mean you have to. Ask yourself, “Which activity to I really want to participate in?” Then kindly say “No” to the others.  
  6. Get enough shut eye.
  7. Have daily electronic- free time. The overload of emails and social media are quiet triggers for stress.
  8. Connect with others.
  9. Practice gratitude. When our gratitude increases our ability to manage stress increases.
  10. Say “YES” to yourself. Remember: self- love is not selfish.