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It’s a given that struggling to pay off credit card debt can seriously stress you out, although you don’t need an expert to tell you that. Worrying over your financial well-being sours your mood, your relationships, and your outlook. Let’s face it, pretty much nothing in your life gets better with stress. 

Making it a goal to get your debt under control goes a long way to ridding yourself of that stress once and for all. However, what to do about it in the meantime while that huge credit card balance looms over you? Luckily, proven techniques exist to counteract stress and help you feel better right now. Some of them require shockingly little of your time and energy. Here are five methods and mind-hacks to de-stress before bedtime:  

Exercise 

Has there ever been an argument against getting exercise? We all know the value of exercise is time-tested, for the body and mind, for short-term and long-term health. The cruel irony is when we’re stressed, it saps our motivation to exercise. Consequently, this is precisely when exercise can do us the most good. As a friendly reminder to help get you motivated, we’ll recap a few of the biggest benefits to putting your stress on pause by going for a walk, jog, bike, or whatever gets you moving.  

  •  It improves your mood. It’s more than just the feeling of being active- there’s real brain chemistry at work here. Exercising releases endorphins in the brain that act like a natural pain killer, elevating your mood and clearing your head. Even five minutes of light exercise such as walking, can trigger healing endorphins that reduce anxiety.
  • It’s an energy boost. Stress can wear you out. Exercising when you’re fatigued can seem a little counter intuitive, but you’ll have to trust your body on this one. Studies show that even a low intensity workout will get positive results. However, you’ll see the best results if you exercise regularly.
  • It’s a natural sleep aid. The fact that exercise lowers stress is by itself a pretty great sleep aid, but the benefits don’t end there. Daily exercise also improves your sleep rhythms, helps you feel sleepy at bedtime, and improves the quantity and quality of your sleep. Although to see the most benefit, it helps again if you exercise regularly. You’ll also want to be mindful of exercising right before bedtime. For some of us, it can make falling asleep more difficult.

Make one big decision at a time. 

Getting control over your finances, including your credit card debt, is a great idea. Just don’t sabotage yourself by trying to tackle another big decision in one sitting. You run the risk of getting overwhelmed, and as a result you’ll be more stressed out than when you started. Worse still? You set yourself up to make poor decisions. It’s what’s known as “decision fatigue.”     

For example, ever spend a whole day shopping and realized you were utterly exhausted? Maybe you made a hasty purchase just so you could cross the thing off your list? And the day after you wondered “what was I thinking when I bought this!?” You came down with decision fatigue. The stone-cold truth is each of us has limited brainpower to spend on decision making. At some point we all hit our limit. This makes us stressed, irritable, or both. We may even throw our hands in the air and give up making any decision at all.  

The better approach is to separate your big decisions and deal with them one-on-one. Above all, allow yourself time to rest and recharge before tackling the next one. 

Finally, some bonus advice: avoid making big decisions too late in the day, when you’ve passed your peak focus. Also, avoid making decisions on an empty stomach- expert decision makers swear by it.   

Think about something good

Okay, so bear with us on this one. The goal here is to kick-start your mind to a happier place by harnessing the benefits of positive thinking. The stress and anguish over credit card debt and whatever else life throws at you has the nasty effect of shutting out things that truly matter. In other words, it’s a mental roadblock to finding a sense of joy. 

If you find yourself overwhelmed, take a pause, and focus on something positive in your life for a few moments. It can be family, for instance, or friends, a pet, whatever brings you joy. This isn’t about making your troubles go away. It’s about rebooting your mood to see your struggles in the bigger picture. We all know money is important, but it’s not everything. A little positive thinking can help remind us.   

Begin a check on your habits

We each deal with stress in our own ways; however, some are more constructive than others. Smoking, gambling, drinking, eating, shopping are things we sometimes do to cope, but as a result only hurt us long term. Certainly, this is the toughest item on this list, but it comes with the biggest upside. Look at the ways you deal with financial stress. Did those methods make things better, or make things worse? Taking an honest look just might inspire better coping skills in the future.

And let’s not kid ourselves here, starting and finishing a personal assessment isn’t going to happen before you go to bed. On the other hand, it might inspire you to get back to gym, or cut back on late-night online impulse purchases. Or maybe it’s the beginning of a longer conversation you have with yourself. The goal is to get a start on better habits and find healthier ways to cope.

Take a few deep breaths 

We saved the easiest for last. Improving your mood can be as simple as taking a few deep breaths. It almost seems too basic to make a difference; however, a stack of studies backs this method up. Enjoying a few deep breaths slows your heart rate and lowers blood pressure. Our brain takes it as a cue that you’re relaxed. After that, the neurons in our brain tells the rest of our body to go ahead and relax too. 

If you’re reading this, you already know the value of living debt-free and the benefits of removing that stress from your life. Take the next step towards a brighter financial future by talking to a Debt Relief Specialist at Vantage Acceptance: (800) 725-0214.

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