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5 Tricks For A Stress-Free Spring

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With longer days and warmer temps, spring should be the time when we start kicking back, sipping cocktails with friends alfresco, and dreaming about summer Fridays. But in spite of saying a none-too-sad goodbye to winter, our daily stressors show no signs of abating — a real bummer for our relationships, health, home life, and more.

To stop stress before it gives you serious spring-fun FOMO, first change the way you see it. “Stress isn’t good or bad; it’s just an impetus for change,” says Heidi Hanna, PhD, a member of the Daily Life Stress Board at The American Institute of Stress. “What makes stress feel negative is thinking we don’t have the resources to deal with it.”

The five smart strategies ahead give you just that. From how to keep up your energy at work to making your home more restful using GE’s genius C-Sleep bulb, these solutions will help you slay stress in the parts of your life you care about most.
Illustrated by Alex Marino.
Embrace The Power Of Mini Brain Vacations
Incorporating pauses between longer stretches of work helps fight stress by allowing you to recharge. Try 50 minutes of focus with 10-minute breaks in the morning, and 25 minutes of focus with 5-minute breaks in the afternoon, when energy tends to fade, says Hanna. “Put these breaks in your calendar, and hold them as important as any client or colleague meeting.” Consider them your time to cruise your favorite food blog or get up and move.
Turn Your Home Into A Chill-Out Sanctuary
The place you return to after a long day should be as restful and restorative as possible. For some, that means picking decor that makes you say ahh when you walk in the door. (Many people associate the color blue with peace and calm, for instance.) For others, it’s a matter of ridding your space of unnecessary clutter that might be making you anxious.

For everyone, though, your bedroom should be a space that lets you catch plenty of ZZZs. Since research shows that bright, artificial light can mess with your sleep, it’s key to get this aspect of your pad right. And the C-Sleep bulb by GE, which is Bluetooth-enabled, makes going from vibrant, energizing light in the a.m. to calming light at night a no-brainer. Conking out without a hitch — or with as few hitches as possible — will always get our ardent approval.
Laugh With Your S.O.
It’s easy to let the go-to convo with your partner be comprised of venting about your boss or dealing with the logistics of living together, but your relationship needs humor to survive as much as it does date nights or snuggle sessions. “Ask your partner to watch a laugh-out-loud show, or share the funniest thing that happened in each of your days,” says Hanna. “Humor has been shown to lower stress hormones while boosting resilience.” Makes sense: When you’re busy cracking up together over a late-night talk show or sitcom-character gaffe, you won’t be sparring over mood-killing topics like your out-of-control utility bill or out-of-town friends' looming visit.
Don't Try To Solve Your Friends' Problems
We’re all tempted to dish out advice when the people we love are struggling. After all, isn’t it our responsibility to help them deal with their dating troubles or work problems? No, actually. “If someone needs you to listen, remind yourself that you’re there to provide your best energy, not to try to fix a problem,” says Hanna.

Instead, work to nudge the conversation in a positive direction (think: “How excited are you for your trip to Portugal next month?”), or simply focus on something you’re grateful for. Those little practices can help lift the mood and support your friend while preventing your energy from being drained by negativity, says Hanna.
Stay In The Moment With Your Family
It’s uncanny how a dinner or whole weekend can be wrecked the second your family starts bickering about the exact same stuff they’ve been fighting about since you were 12. Break that pattern by finding a feel-good anchor in the present. “Pick an object or place that can remind you to tune into your breath, and come back into the moment,” says Steve Hickman, PsyD, founder and director of the UCSD Center for Mindfulness. Next time your sister brings up that mortifying memory from high school, focus on the beach photo on your phone’s home screen or pull out your new, astrologically determined lipstick and reapply. Just one mindful gesture can stop you from reacting and prevent the situation from spiraling.
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