15 Simple Ways to Stress LessFeb 12, 2021
When was the last time you felt relaxed? It’s easy for stress to build up without you realizing what is happening. After a while, you might think that feeling irritable, sad, or restless is just your natural state.
Do these pictures resonate with you?
Meanwhile, chronic tension affects your body too. It can weaken your immune system and increase your risk for many health issues, including heart disease and diabetes.
Stressful events will happen, but you can control how they affect you. Try these ideas for building your resilience and creating a calmer environment.
Increasing Your Resilience:
#1 Slow down. You’ll probably accomplish more if you stop rushing around. Cut your to do list down to a realistic size. Schedule breaks throughout the day. Literally put that time in your calendar! Book yourself some YOU time. Take a walk (maybe with your furry friends or children if you work from home). Do 15 minutes of Yoga, deep breathing, reading or anything else that is calming to you that can help you take small little resets throughout your day.
#2 Breathe deeply. Your feelings are closely tied to your breath. Lie down on your back and place one hand on your abdomen. Your body will naturally start to breathe more fully from your diaphragm rather than taking shallow breaths from your chest. You can do this at work too or in your car. Try 5-5-7 breathing (5 seconds in, 5 seconds HOLD, 7 seconds out) and repeat 10-20 times. Trust me, this works wonders especially if you're in traffic or just laying down and getting ready to go to bed.
#3 Laugh it up. Humor drives away tension. Look for the funny side of difficult situations. Cheer up after a hard day by calling a friend who cracks you up or watching a funny movie. Here's a list of some things you can try to add a little more laughter to your life:
Follow a funny meme account: There’s a reason funny memes go viral. They make people laugh! Follow some funny meme accounts to put a smile on your face every time you hop on social media.
Create a Pinterest board: Start a Pinterest board full of things that make you laugh, like quotes or hilarious pictures. Next time you find something on the internet that makes you smile, pin it to your board so you can look at it next time you’re feeling stressed.
Spend time with pets: Pets, such as dogs and cats, are a source of laughter and joy for many people. If you don’t have a pet, consider asking a friend to pet-sit theirs or volunteer at an animal shelter in your free time.
Listen to a funny podcast: On your way to work or school, listen to a funny podcast to start your day off with a laugh.
Try laughter yoga: Laughter yoga is a new take on yoga that encourages prolonged voluntary laughter. Try out a class by yourself or take it with a friend next time you’re feeling stressed.
Host a game night: Nothing beats a shared laugh. Invite some friends over for a game night and play party-style games like Charades or Apples to Apples.
Watch YouTube videos: Need a quick laugh? Head to YouTube. Search anything from jumping cats to funny clips from your favorite show for a fast and easy pick-me-up.
Spend time with playful people: We tend to be influenced by the people we hang around. Make an effort to hang out more with the funniest friend in your circle. Ask them to get coffee or lunch and talk about the silly things that happened in your day.
#4 Eat healthy. Sticking to a balanced diet will make your body more effective at tolerating stress. Get most of your calories from natural whole foods. Cut down on added sugar and salt. Lose excess weight gradually and safely. Make sure you are also in a calm state before every meal. Focus on breathing before you eat, and try to make sure you are eating for nourishment.
#5 Sleep well. Aim for 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night. Move your bedtime back an hour each night until you are able to wake up feeling refreshed. Maintain your new schedule even on holidays and weekends.
#6 Work out. Exercise is a constructive way to handle disturbing news or conflicts at work. Buy resistance bands so you can do strength training movements at home. Attend a yoga class online or go for a walk.
#7 Create something. Creativity is another stress buster. Find a medium that you enjoy. You may want to paint with watercolors or sculpt metal. You may prefer writing poetry or folk dancing. Sign up for a class with friends, or take a virtual class! So many of them are free!!
#8 Reach out. Build a network of mutually supportive relationships. Connect with family and friends on a regular basis. Don't be afraid to talk and share how you are feeling. Guaranteed, someone you know is feeling the same way you are right now.
#9 Advocate for yourself. Let others know how they can help you. Ask for what you need tactfully and directly. You'd be surprised!
Adjusting Your Environment:
#10 Clear away clutter. A tidy home and workspace will reduce your anxiety levels. Get rid of anything you seldom use. Donate it to charity or sell it online. Throw it away or or store it out of sight if you’re unable to part with it right now. THIS ONE IS HUGE. Try it first with just one little thing- maybe your hallway closer. Feel the weight lift away... and then make a schedule to clear more areas in your environment to help you feel more at peace.
#11 Add scent. Fragrance is invisible but powerful. Wear your favorite perfume. Practice aromatherapy with soothing essential oils like lavender and chamomile.
#12 Play music. Use sound to create the mood you want. Put together a playlist for different activities. You might relax with soft piano music or show tunes.
#13 Enjoy silence. On the other hand, the lack of sound can also be soothing. Turn off your devices for a designated period each day, including mealtimes and before bed. Order a pair of noise cancelling headphones if you need to block out noisy neighbors and heavy traffic.
#14 Decorate naturally. Green spaces are energizing. Spend more time outdoors and bring nature into your home. Grow ferns and herbs. Cover your couch with a floral print throw.
#15 Create a refuge. Design a meditation room or space in your home. If you have trouble meditating, you can use it for reading or relaxation practices.
Dealing with stress is an ongoing process. Take time each day to think about what you can do to make your surroundings more peaceful to protect your health and wellbeing.
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