Do you feel stressed or overwhelmed all the time? Do you get easily anxious or do really small things irritate you? Among the hustle and fast-paced nature of our lives, we tend to forget that taking out time for oneself is equally important.
We keep unrealistic expectations and overburden ourselves, sometimes with work, while sometimes with thoughts. Some manage to get a lot of feathers on their cap, some carry on the hustle while some lose confidence. But a common enemy stays in each person’s life- STRESS. Here are a few easy ways to relieve stress and persevere against all odds.
1. Listen to your favorite tunes
The usual advice when you feel stressed is to take a break and listen to some soothing and calming music. It relaxes your body by having a positive effect on your body and reduces cortisol, the hormone linked with stress. Simply grooving to your favorite upbeat music can also lift your mood and induce that surge of adrenaline.
2. Open up to your family and friends
Sometimes all you need is for someone to hear you out. Sharing problems, experiences or just plain feelings helps to reduce stress as you can contemplate what’s bothering you. The reassuring voice of your trusted people helps to relieve stress as you get the social support to find your way out.
3. Meditation/ Aromatherapy/ Deep breathing
While meditation can take a lot of forms, simply focusing on your breath for a few minutes can help to calm down your nerves. This can be gradually increased to deep breathing which helps to oxygenate your blood and clear your mind. Recent studies have also proved aromatherapy is beneficial for meditation and relieving anxiety in general. Just light a candle and enjoy the calming scent of rose or lavender.
4. Write it out
At times, we don’t feel like sharing or talking to someone else, writing helps in such times. You can either write the reasons for your stress which helps to put your thoughts in perspective, or just jot down the things you’re grateful for. Maintaining a grateful journal does help in elevating your mood and bringing optimism. Whatever you write, try to focus on the positives, keep healthy expectations, and don’t be too tough on yourself.
5. Do what you like/ Practice a hobby
Taking out that “me time” from your busy schedule is equally important for being efficient. Hobbies or plain leisure activities make you feel good and bring out the best in yourself, and a well-relaxed mind can work more efficiently. Just a few minutes of reading, dancing, sketching, catching up, watching a movie or a series, spending time with family, or catching up with friends can help you cheer up for an entire day. Hence, take out time for the things you like.
6. Exercise/ Move your body
The importance of regular exercise cannot be stressed upon more. It helps to keep your body and mind active. However, exercise doesn’t necessarily mean an intense cardio session or weight lifting at the gym. It can be a normal walk, dancing like crazy or stretching during the breaks. The focus should be on getting your body to move as it releases endorphins which act as a mood booster and mitigate stress.
Sleep and stress follow a vicious cycle. Stress causes loss of sleep while lack of sleep is also a major cause of stress. Hence it is important to maintain a healthy sleep schedule. Following a regular bedtime routine involving calming activities like taking a hot shower, reading a self-help book, listening to calming tunes, sleeping at a fixed time daily and staying away from screens can help in getting a sound sleep. Avoid negative thoughts and plan your day beforehand to avoid stress.
8. Monitor your diet
“You are what you eat.” A healthy diet is important for a stable mood. Fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, etc. have proved to reduce symptoms of stress. Processed and fast foods have high sugar and high fat which tend to increase your anxiety when the instant blood sugar spike crashes eventually. Plan your meals ahead and avoid mindless or emotional eating habits.
9. Practice mindfulness
Be aware of your thoughts and learn to control them. Practice thinking positive things which help you appreciate the past but not stick to it, anchor you to the present and give realistic ambitions for your future. Just be in the moment and try to make the most of it. Studies have found that people who practice mindfulness have lower levels of stress, anxiety, and depression and reduced risk of heart diseases.
10. Eliminating triggers
Identify the things which induce stress or anxiety and work on removing or reducing them. It might be your habit of procrastination, a toxic person or relationship, lack of work-life balance, problems at work, or something else. Take time to analyze yourself and your surroundings and choose what’s best for your mental peace. It might be difficult but worth it.
It is important to realize the importance of managing stress and not let it overwhelm you. Every person faces problems in their lives, what matters is how calmly you deal with them and how much you let them affect your daily lifestyle. These small steps can help your mind remain calm and cope with everyday stress.