Stress isn’t just a passing feeling. It’s also linked with serious health conditions, including heart disease, digestive problems, autoimmune diseases and depression.
So, instead of shrugging it off, it’s important to treat stress like the serious condition it is. Developing ways to cope with stress won’t only make you feel better, but it might actually prevent more damaging health conditions down the road.
Need inspiration? Here’s our simple stress busters to help you feel right as rain…
It may feel like the last thing you want to do, but forcing yourself to get some exercise is a highly effective way to reduce your stress and improve your mood. Join a gym, sign up for a yoga class, cycle to the shops or simply take a 20-minute walk around the neighborhood. Before you know it, those natural endorphins will help lift that stress off your shoulders.
Take a bubble bath
Lounging in a hot bath relaxes the muscles and helps put the mind at ease. Adding scented oils or salts – infused with lavender, sandalwood, eucalyptus or chamomile – is also known to relieve stress and calm the senses.
Pick up the phone
Perspective is a powerful stress reliever. Your ‘to do’ list may be turning into a ‘to do’ scroll, but it helps to remember that none of the tasks are a matter of life or death. Calling a friend is a good way to turn the focus away from your own problems and gain some much-needed perspective.
Get some sleep
Lack of sleep can amplify anxiety; so pay attention to that circadian clock of yours. Give yourself 45 minutes to wind down before bedtime, with a book, a bath or any screen-free activity you find relaxing. Stick to a consistent sleep schedule, even on the weekends, and your body will reward you with the deep sleeps it needs.
Work through your ‘to do’ list
Even small tasks add up, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed with commitments and deadlines. Instead of focusing on the entirety of your workload, try to systematically tick things off your ‘to do’ list one by one. The stress and guilt that come with procrastination are best cured through productivity. So, get to work—no excuses!
Eat a healthy meal
Anxiety isn’t fun. Anxiety on an empty stomach is even worse. A nutritious diet, full of wholegrains, leafy greens and protein, will give your brain the vitamins and minerals it needs to cope with stressful situations. You may also want to avoid foods that are known to trigger stress, including butter, cheese, nuts, sugar, and caffeine. Most importantly, don’t skip meals! Eating regularly will help regulate your blood sugar levels and prevent your mood from taking a turn for the worse.
Turn off your phone
In spite of all their virtues, smartphones are incredible stress inducers. It’s easy to forget that we don’t have to respond to every email immediately just because we can. Instead, give yourself a break from your phone for a bit. Turn it off in the evenings (or at least put it in silent mode) and enjoy some ‘screen-free’ time instead (reading, knitting, a hot bath, etc.).
Breathe in, breathe out. Breathe in, breathe out. It sounds cliché, but deep breathing has been proven to help ease our overactive stress response systems. Whilst we may have adopted shallower breathing habits over time, taking deep, abdominal breaths is a highly effective way to ease stress. Imagine your belly is a balloon. Inflate it slowly with each inhale, and release the air with a powerful, audible exhale. Don’t stop until you’re feeling better.
What’s your favourite way to de-stress?