With all that’s going on in the world right now, things can seem pretty bleak and the stress of it call can be weighing heavily on many people. Because of this, self-care and mental may have taken a backseat. Read on for some things you can do for yourself to help ease your stress!
This is one of the easiest and most beneficial ways to de-stress. Deep breathing helps increase oxygen flow throughout the body and can be done in two simple steps: First, breathe in slowly through your nose, filling up your lungs completely, and then slowly breathe out through your mouth.
Repeat this process 5-10 times and you'll feel your stress starting to recede.
Find Quiet Time
These days it seems like everyone is always moving a t lightning speed, which is exactly why finding a moment for some quite time is essential for your wellbeing. It doesn’t have to be long, but just taking 5 minutes to put your electronics down and doing the breathing exercise above will dramatically help quiet your mind. I like to do this in the morning before I jump into my to-do list, and again in the evening before I go to bed. It helps me start and end my day on a calmer note.
Remove Something From Your Calendar
I’ve gotten really good at saying no to things and doing less and I suggest doing the same if your life is feeling stretched too thin. Try to make a habit out of looking at your calendar once every other week or once a month and removing something that’s not necessary or gives you anxiety (except Doc appointments, those have to stay haha). It’s pretty amazing what removing one little thing can do. At first you might feel guilty, but when the day you were supposed to do said cancellation comes and you are no longer have to do it, it’ll feel fantastic!
Spend Less Time On Your Phone
With all the newest phone updates, you can now literally see how many hours you spend on your phone per day. Spending hours mindlessly on your phone can cause a lot of unnecessary stress, especially in a time where every other post seems to be something negative. Give yourself a challenge of cutting your phone time down by 10% – and then try another 10% the next week and see how much better you feel without the constant urge to check your phone.
Take a Walk
If you sit behind a desk all day, one of the best solutions for stress is going for a short walk. By doing this, your brain will release endorphins that subdue anxiety, increase energy levels and improve mood. Sometimes it’s hard to stop what you’re doing to take a stroll, so the next time you get up to use the restroom, take a detour around the office.
It’s a bonus if you can take a quick break for a walk outside. Being outdoors and in sunlight can improve vitamin D levels, help with concentration and prevent illnesses, both long and short term. It also means you’re being active, so it’s just an all-around great thing to do for your mental and physical health.
Similar to walking, stretching will loosen up the body and increase blood flow.
This is a great option to de-stress if you're limited on time but need a quick boost. Doing stretching techniques for the neck, back and wrists is especially beneficial if you work at a desk all day.
This technique is extremely helpful if your mind is constantly running with things you need to do and things that might be worrying you. I like to do this on paper, and it’s essentially dumping out all the STUFF in your head. When I see it all written out, I can pick out the things that I’m stressing about unnecessarily and the things that I can address. This is especially helpful if you’re having a hard time falling asleep. Getting it all out of your head and onto a note that you can reference later helps settle your mind.
While this is definitely my least favorite de-stressor on the list, a good workout always makes me feel better. I also notice a huge difference in my stress levels when I’m working out consistently vs. working out randomly. Try setting a workout plan for the week and know what you’re going to do each day so it makes it easier to just jump into it instead of wasting time trying to figure out what to do. I find if I don’t have a set plan, it’s just easier for me to do nothing at all.
Make a Checklist
When you feel overwhelmed by endless to-dos, grab a pen and notepad, take a breath and make a checklist!Checklists are ideal for kickstarting motivation and practicing prioritization. You may have a million things you feel you need to get done, but which items on your list actually need to get done vs things that aren’t really necessary to do right then? Putting them on a list will help you see what’s really a priority and what is just cluttering your mind.
Talk with a Friend
When feeling under pressure, friends can shed new light on how to de-stress or give an outside perspective on a problem that’s been nagging you. Along with this, researchers have also found that having such interactions can release oxytocin, a hormone that decreases stress and helps form bonds between individuals.
Hug an Animal
In case you needed another reason to cuddle a puppy, there is loads of scientific literature proving that interaction with animals stimulates the release of oxytocin in the brain, which in turn reduces anxiety and improves mood. Even if you don’t have a pet of your own, borrow one from a friend or head to your local animal shelter to visit some!
By listening to what your mind and body needs during stressful times, you may realize that some of the strategies above will work for you while other times, they may not. That's why it's essential to put yourself first and do whatever's necessary in order to improve your mental health.