Every day we experience some form of stress on top of the stress that’s been weighing on us for a long time. This past year has probably been one of the most stressful times in our lives with lock downs and COVID-19. Unfortunately, if we don’t recognize that we are stressed out and learn how to manage it, it can lead to more serious mental health issues such as depression or anxiety. There are many ways we can cope with stress, like yoga or bubble baths, but thanks to technology, there are tons of apps that can now provide us with guided stretching routines or soothing playlists. Here are 10 easy ways to deal with stress on a daily basis to help your overall mental wellness.
Aromatherapy involves essential oils or scents derived from plants and you either breathe them in or you can apply them to the skin. True essential oils aren’t made with fragrance or other chemicals. There are many ways to use oils for stress relief. You can rub a small amount in your palms, hold your hands towards your nose, and breathe in. You can also rub the oil on your temples but avoid getting it in your eyes. Other ways to use essential oils is to add a few drops to your bath or a diffuser. There are many candles that contain soothing smells as well.
Movement, in any form, can act as a stress reliever. Some of the stress relieving benefits of exercise are: it pumps up your endorphins, improves your sleep, lifts your mood, and lowers symptoms of depression or anxiety. If you have any health concerns it’s so important to consult with your doctor before starting an exercise routine. Build your fitness level gradually, start with light walking then slowly move onto something more vigorously like running. Do what you love: if you enjoy dancing, then dance! You don’t have to follow everyone’s routine on Instagram. Lastly, make time for it by adding it to your schedule and setting a reminder on your phone
Deep breathing is one of the simplest and most effective ways to relieve stress. But did you know there are several several different breathing techniques to help you feel better? There’s counted breathing, mindful diaphragmatic breathing, visualization breathing, and alternate nostril breathing. Each one only takes a few minutes to do and you can find deep breathing videos on Youtube.
Do a Chore That Makes You Feel Productive
Keeping busy around the house is a great way to relieve stress if you like to organize and clear cutter. Do that one house project you’ve been putting off, bake your favorite treat, or organize your closet. Cleaning and organizing your space can be a form of exercise and once you’re done, it will give you a sense of calm. Same goes for baking, or cooking, you get to enjoy the smell of something sweet throughout your home and then enjoy it afterwards.
Take a Relaxing Bath
Taking a bath is usually one of the first things that comes to mind when you want to de-stress. Submerging yourself in warm water can actually calm the nervous system, reduce stress, and boost your mood. Adding candles in the bathroom and dimming the lights can add to the relaxing vibe along with some soothing music or a meditative audio book. Remember those essential oils we talked about? Add those to your bath too! You can’t go wrong with lavender and eucalyptus oils.
Stress can cause both mental and physical stiffness in our bodies. One way to relieve stress is to lengthen the muscles in your body by stretching. Stretching allows your muscles to let go of the stress and helps you relax and sleep better. You can do simple stretches throughout the day or practice light yoga or spiritual yoga, which is great for mental health. Remember to always warm up before stretching with a brisk walk, for example, and stay hydrated.
List to a Soothing Playlist
Music is not just meant for dancing, it also combats the negative effects of stress. A slower tempo can relax you muscles and put your mind at ease. This can be quite soothing as you release all the stress of the day. There are plenty of apps that provide soothing music such as Relax Melodies, Calm, Mindbody, and many more! Don’t forget to check Spotify for relaxing playlist to listen to throughout the day.
Do Progressive Muscle Relaxation
As stress builds up in your body, you muscles become tighter. One way to deal with this is to do progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) which is a form of therapy that involves tightening and relaxing your muscles, one and at a time and in a specific pattern. Here’s how to do it:
- Start by lying or sitting down. Relax as you take five deep, slow breaths.
- Start with your toes, by flexing them up and holding, then pointing them down and holding.
- Next, tense up your calf muscles, then your knees, followed by your thigh muscles, hands, arms, glutes, abs, chest, shoulders, ears, lips, and eyebrows. Each time you are holding and releasing.
Keep a gratitude journal
Journaling allows you to explore your thoughts and feelings that you experience throughout the day. The best way to reduce stress through journaling is to write out your feelings in detail and express your thoughts on stressful events in your life. You can try a gratitude journal where you list three or more things you are grateful for each day or a bullet journal where you simply track your to-do’s each day or track your goals for the week. There are many free templates online or you can purchase one at your favorite stationary store.
Laughter really is the best medicine. Laughter provides your brain with a break from thoughts that cause stress. It improves you mood and reduces stress hormones by increasing your intake of oxygen and increasing blood flow throughout the body. Following certain accounts on social that you know will make you laugh or watching you favorite rom-com or standup special or looking at some funny memes will immediately put you in a better mood.