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Rising Father

8 Strategies To Live Stress Free In A Noisy World.

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Phones, TV, Radio, co-workers, news…so much information is flying at us at all times. Not all of that is good for our brains. This external noise can cause internal stress that leaks out onto other parts of our life such as family relationships. Fathers want to enjoy life and be present. To do this we need to find ways to manage stress and improve our mental health so it doesn’t negatively impact our families. How do you stay sane in an insane world? Here are eight tips to help get you started.

1) Daily Exercise

Exercise is probably the best way to release built-up tension and stress. Even throwing your kids onto your back for a piggy back ride then running around the house can help. In my experience, high-intensity physical activities are the most effective in reducing stress. Anything that is physically challenging and difficult enough to force your brain’s attention is fantastic.

This could be anything from jiu-jitsu or HIT workouts, which I personally enjoy, to any other intense activity. Physical activity has been shown in studies as an excellent way to treat depression and anxiety.

2) Martial Arts

What are you thinking about when a guy is sitting on your chest trying to break your arm? Nothing. That’s the point. You put your body into a situation so intense that everything else goes to the background. Martial arts demands your brain’s attention, and it has been shown to improve a participant’s mental health. 

When you’re doing drills or trying to survive, you can’t worry about the bills piling up or the fight you had with your spouse last night. All of those external noises are temporarily blocked out, and you can focus on the task at hand. Jiu-Jitsu is my choice but there are many others that will get the job done such as boxing and wrestling.

3) Consistent Sleep

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This one should be obvious, but it’s amazing how many people try to function on too little sleep. If you’re a parent with small kids then you’re DEFINITELY not getting enough sleep.

Kids jumping in your bed at all hours, screaming babies, and early wake-ups are an every day experience giving you less hair but more gray ones. According to sleephealth.org 70% of adults say they are getting insufficient sleep.

Not getting enough rest will make you irritable, anxious, and less productive. It also has been shown to cause a negative impact on mental health. Lack of sleep has also been shown to increase Cortisol levels and stress indicators. If you’re having trouble sleeping, there are a few things you can try such as reading before bed, avoiding caffeine in the afternoon, and establishing a regular sleep schedule.

Investing in a good mattress and pillow is also worth it’s weight in gold. We recently bought a new mattress and pillow. The difference in our mental clarity is very noticeable. I can even have a conversation in the morning.

4) Journal

Don’t worry boys no diary here. Journaling is the thinking man’s successful habit. It’s a great way to get all the thoughts swirling around your head down on paper. Once they’re out of your head, you can start to make sense of them and figure out what’s really bothering you. Journaling has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety. I personally have been journaling every day for a while and it has done wonders for my thinking. I’ll even smoke a pipe to make it look more sophisticated.

There are many different ways to journal, so find the method that works best for you. You can try free-writing, where you just write whatever comes to mind without stopping. Or you could try setting a timer for five minutes and writing about a specific topic. If you’re not sure what to write about, there are books available with prompts like “What are three things you’re grateful for?” or “What was the best part of your day?” There are also great journals available to help guide you through the process.

5) Keep A Schedule

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When things are chaotic, (kids…wife…parents…coworkers….bills…you get it)… it can be helpful to have a schedule to keep you grounded. This can help reduce stress and anxiety because it gives you a sense of control. Having a set time for everything can help you feel more organized and less frazzled. When you know what the next day will bring, sleep comes easier.

Of course, there will always be times when your schedule gets thrown off, but that’s okay. The important thing is to have a general plan for your day so you know what to expect. Try setting aside some time each week to plan out your schedule for the upcoming week. This can help you stay on track and make sure you’re making time for the things that are important to you.

Some people like to plan every 15-30 minutes of their day out. What works for me is a bulleted list of what I have to accomplish the next day, then I have the flexibility to take more or less time depending on what else comes up.

6) Take Walks in Nature

Walking in nature is one of the best ways to reduce stress. It’s a great way to clear your head and reset. I feel an immediate benefit within minutes of walking in the forest. Taking walks helps to clear away distractions and allows the mind to focus on one thing at a time. When you’re walking in nature, your brain has nothing else to focus on but the present moment. This can be incredibly calming and relaxing. A study in Switzerland found an 87% recovery from stress and a 52% reduction in headaches.

Walking in nature also provides an opportunity to connect with yourself. You can take in your surroundings and really pay attention to how you’re feeling in that moment. This can help you get in touch with your thoughts and emotions, which can be helpful when trying to figure out what’s been keeping you up at night.

Nature provides a sense of peace and tranquility that is hard to find elsewhere. It’s a great way to escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and relax your mind.

7) Sauna

Me building my backyard sauna in March 2020

In early 2022, I decided to install a sauna in my backyard as an investment in my health that would continue paying dividends for years. I was aware of studies that show regular sauna use reduces risk of negative cardiovascular events and all cause mortality. We used to use the one at the local YMCA but when everything shut down for months in early 2020, I felt I needed one back in my life. Thanks to 10 different Youtube videos I learned how. My own backyard sauna build is posted on Youtube so I can pass on what I learned from the process.

We now can’t live without it. When we move, we will have to have a sauna. The peace of mind it brings has to be experienced. Studies have also shown that sauna use can be used as a de-stressing treatment for those in high stress occupations.

My anecdotal notes from using the sauna 4x a week for 2 years is it has helped me cut weight, helps me sleep better, takes away stress, and speeds my recovery after workouts.

If you don’t have the means to put a Finnish style sauna in your backyard, many people are starting to install infrared saunas in their own home as an affordable solution. If that’s not possible, utilize the saunas in your local gym. They often go unused.

8) Hang With The Boys

Fathers often feel like spending time with friends is selfish or takes away from their dad duties. This is not the case at all. In fact, it can be one of the best things you can do for your family. When you’re happy and relaxed, you’re a much better husband and father.

Friends provide a support system, which is crucial for those who need some relief. They can offer a listening ear and provide helpful advice. When you’re feeling down, it’s important to have people you can turn to. Friends provide an outlet for emotions and can make you feel more connected to the world. They can help you laugh and enjoy life again.

Be a better father, husband, and reset your brain. Hang with the boys.

Take Care Of Yourself To Take Care Of Your family

Fatherhood can be a challenging and stressful job. It’s important to take some time for yourself in order to stay sane and connected with your family. These 8 strategies will help you do just that. From spending time with friends to taking walks in nature, there are plenty of ways to relax and rejuvenate your mind and body. Take care of yourself to take care of your family. 

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