Happy New Year, amazing woman!

Life is too short to always be stressed, and stress can actually shorten your life. The American Institute of Stress estimates that 75-90% of primary care visits are stress-related. Yes, let that soak in. Stress kills.

So… let’s kill stress!

Because I want you (Yes, YOU!) to live a balanced and calm life in 2018, I whipped up this list of 20 stress-busting actions you should consider doing or implementing as soon as possible:

Limit social media interaction! Schedule viewing and posting times, and limit those times to no more than 10 minutes ( a gracious plenty!). Have no more than 3 social media platforms.

Meet God every morning. In your family room, bedroom, your car… start your day in prayer and in His Word.

Awaken each morning in a spirit of thanksgiving, even if you had a sleepless night.

At day’s end, write down 3 things for which you were grateful that day.

Make time for yourself everyday. We all have the same number of hours in a day. Take a walk. Just sit in silence and breathe for 10 minutes. Taking time for yourself is healthy. Have your children (if applicable) take a quiet time out, too (reading works great here!).

Start and stick to (key words) an exercise program. The endorphins that are released will elevate your mood, and your will become healthier, but you must stick to your plan!

Eat a balanced, healthy diet.

Get at least 7 hours of sleep each night.

Just say “NO!” It’s okay… and empowering. Say “no” to your children (when appropriate) and enticing offers of involvement in church or community… don’t take on too much. You don’t want to have your energy too scattered.

Schedule social time with friends once a week. It doesn’t have to cost a cent!

Put a support system in place. Step forward and ask family and friends to help you with your business goals, exercise program, children, etc. Most people are glad to help!

Get out in nature! At least walk through your neighborhood, and take in the trees, plants, people. Nature is healing.

Spend 15 minutes in solitude at least 4 days a week. Take a soothing bath. Read. Sit quietly and come into full body awareness, giving thanks for your magnificent body, flaws and all. Stretch.

Save for and plan an annual vacation. Traveling really is the spice of life. Starting a vacation savings plan is easy.

Don’t assume! You aren’t a mind reader. Neither is your boss, spouse, friends, and children. CLEAR communication is key! Ask if you don’t know the answer. Don’t assume.

Ditch the comparison trap, and own who you are as a unique being and creation of God! Celebrate your special talents and gifts.

Take “time outs” when you need them. Get a stress-relief ball or crunch an empty water bottle, and B-R-E-A-T-H-E.

Get your finances in order. Your bank or a financial adviser might be a huge help. Note: There are a few direct-marketing “financial advising” companies out there, where most anyone can become an “adviser.” Be careful. I recommend banks and established brick and mortar firms.

Get your will in place as soon as possible.

If you’re a mother raising children, get my FREE “First Things First” guide at http://www.amywaltoncoaching.com    

If you can use some help learning to create a more balanced life, contact me at http://www.amywaltoncoaching.com.

Amy Walton is a multi-certified women’s life coach, speaker, and writer who lives in coastal Virginia. Her own daily stress reduction practices include prayer, meditation, exercise, and reading (and maybe a small glass of a red blend!). She coaches women around the country via those great inventions known as Skype and FaceTime. Contact her at amywaltoncoaching@gmail.com.