Whether it’s work-induced or a by product of personal pressures, we all suffer from some level of stress. It’s normal to feel the pressure to accomplish a lot in a short amount of time, but this juggling act simply cannot be sustained in the long term, and it can have damaging effects on our mental and physical health.
You may feel that adding stress-release-related activities to your daily agenda is just one more thing you have to accomplish. In a short amount of time, you’ll see how prioritising your stress-management strategy over other things will have a trickle-down effect and help you in more ways than you anticipate. You’ll see how easy it is to add one or more of these simple stress-relieving strategies into your day.
- Work at a desk? Sitting at your desk all day can put stress on your neck, shoulders and lower back. Avoiding sitting for prolonged periods of time. Stand up and stretch once an hour for a two- to five-minute stretch or take a quick stroll around the office.
- Avoid caffeine, which may make you shaky or jittery throughout the day. If you are a coffee drinker, start weaning yourself down to just one cup a day or less. Relying on stimulants to keep you going rather than working on things like your sleeping or eating habits may not be the best way to reduce your stress levels.
- Take a moment every morning to write down three or more things you are grateful for. This will help you set a positive intention for the day and look at the bright side of things.
- Pick one of your hobbies or start a new one that you can work on or complete everyday in 15 minutes or less. This small window of time is something that you’ll always have a moment for, no matter how busy your day gets. Researcher have found that people who regularly engage in leisure activities are 34% less stressed, with lower heart rates and reports of improved happiness and calm feelings that lasted for hours after the activity.1
- Use essential oils to help manage your mood throughout the day. Orange, peppermint and eucalyptus can help reinvigorate and refresh you throughout the day. Lavender and tea tree have calming qualities and can help you relax before bed. Put a few dabs on your neck or use an oil diffuser to send the scent throughout the room.
- Rushing around your home preparing for your day isn’t a great way to set yourself up for a stress-free day. Take time the night before to pack a lunch and set up your bag with things you’ll need the next day or anything else that would help you out the next morning. Knowing you have everything covered will help you sleep better and make your morning less stressful.
- Keep a snack in your bag with you when you’re out and about. Sometimes, you may find yourself hungry so you’ll rush through things to get them done and make it to the next meal. Instead of rushing, take a moment to have a quick bite, finish what you need to and get to the next meal when the time is right.
- Take 5 – 10 minutes to do yoga at any time during the day. Perform a couple sun salutations, a series of poses that awaken the body but with minimal physical exertion. This is usually used as a warm-up practice for yoga, so it can be performed in the morning to help invigorate you, in the middle of the day to help you after your post-lunch food coma hits or a slow version before bed to relax your mind and centre your breathing.
- Take a moment to laugh. Laughing has been connected to the release of endorphin, a feel-good chemical.2 Find a quick YouTube video or pull up a funny podcast. If possible, listen or watch as you’re performing the stressful task so you can counteract it.
- Create a playlist full of songs that always put you in a good mood and have a listen on your way to or from work (or both!). Studies have shown thatlistening to slow, relaxing music slows down your pulse and heart rate, lowers your blood pressure, and actually decreases levels of stress hormones in your body.3 If you don’t have enough to fill up a playlist, try a premade one from Spotify like “Mood Booster” or “Good Vibes.”
- Ask a friend or family member for a quick back rub. The quintessential go-to for relaxation, massages have been shown to reduce heart rate, cortisol levels and insulin levels — all of which help reduce stress.4 If you have it in your budget to get a massage, check sites like Groupon for discounted deals or attend a massage school which is typically heavily discounted so students can get practice.
1Andersen, C. H. (23 April 2015). Hobbies reduce stress just as well as exercise. Retrieved 16 March 2017, from http://www.shape.com/lifestyle/mind-and-body/hobbies-reduce-stress-just-well-exercise
2Welsh, J. (14 September 2011), Why laughter may be the best pain medicine. Retrieved 16 March 2017, from https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/why-laughter-may-be-the-best-pain-medicine/
3Collingwood, J. (17 July 2016). The power of music to reduce stress. Retrieved 16 March 2017, from https://psychcentral.com/lib/the-power-of-music-to-reduce-stress/
4Massage Envy. (n.d.). Massage therapy relieves stress. Retrieved 16 March 2017, from https://www.massageenvy.com/massage/massage-benefits/relieves-stress/
The information in this article is provided for education and informational purposes only, without any express or implied warranty of any kind, including warranties of accuracy, completeness or fitness for any particular purpose. The information in this article is not intended to be and does not constitute financial or any other advice. The information in this article is general in nature and is not specific to you the user or anyone else.