Stress is a part of life, but it doesn't have to be the only part. Here are some quick tips on how to reduce stress in your everyday life.
You're not alone if life has been feeling like a pressure cooker lately. Stress is a normal part of modern life, but when it becomes chronic, it can be debilitating. And while everyone experiences stress differently, there are some habits we can all adopt to help us keep it under control.
To get started on your journey to less stress, check out these quick tips and relaxation essentials.
1. Get More Sleep
Getting better sleep is one of the best ways to reduce stress.
Sleep helps your body recover from a long day at work or school, and it helps you feel refreshed and ready to tackle any challenges that come your way.
It's no secret that sleep is an essential part of our lives, but sometimes it can be hard to get enough shut-eye when we're so busy with our daily lives.
If you're having trouble sleeping, here are some tips for getting better rest:
- Take time each day to relax and unwind with a hobby that makes you happy, like reading or knitting.
- Make sure your bedroom is dark and quiet when you go to sleep. Turn off all electronics at least an hour before bedtime, and keep the TV out of sight so it doesn't distract you while you're falling asleep.
- Don't eat too much or too little before bedtime—this can cause indigestion or digestive problems that might keep you up at night.
- Try weighted blankets if you need some extra relaxation support.
2. Keep a Journal
Keeping a journal is a great tool that can help you increase self-awareness and connect with your feelings.
The first step to starting your journal is deciding what kind of journal you want. You can buy a physical journal that you write in or start an online blog and post regularly. Some apps allow you to create a journal online that only you can see and access. Decide which option will work best for your needs.
The next step is to figure out how often you want to write in your journal. Some people like to do it once a day, while others commit to writing once a week or month. Choose the frequency that feels right for you and try not to stress if you miss one day or don't write as often as you'd like—that's where the self-awareness part comes in! Remember, this is about reducing stress, so don't let it become another source of anxiety for yourself.
Now that you've committed to writing in your journal, it's time to do it! There's no right way or wrong way to keep a journal—you can jot down whatever comes into your mind without judging yourself.
3. Breathe Deeply and Slowly
When you're feeling stressed, one of the best things you can do is take a few minutes out of your day and focus on breathing deeply and slowly.
If you don't think you have enough time to add this to your routine, try making it part of your morning. When you wake up (or before), take a few moments to lay in bed and breathe. Find a comfortable position that allows you to relax, and focus on how the air enters and leaves your body as you inhale and exhale.
If you find that your mind is wandering, don't get too upset about it! Just bring your mental focus back to the present moment—how does it feel in your body when you breathe? What are some things you notice about the air filling up your lungs? Is there anything about this sensation that surprises or interests you?
Try taking several breaths in through the nose, then exhaling entirely through the mouth—this is a great way to clear the mind and get focused again. You can repeat this exercise as many times as you want or need throughout the day!
4. Exercise Every Day
Exercise can help boost your mood and reduce anxiety, helping you feel more relaxed and calm.
When you exercise, your body releases endorphins, which are chemicals that make you feel happy and relaxed. Your body also releases dopamine, which helps regulate your mood and relieve depression. Studies have shown that people who exercise regularly experience fewer feelings of anxiety than those who don't exercise at all.
Need some extra motivation? Check out our workout must-haves!
5. Consider Taking Supplements for Stress
If you have a hard time managing your stress, consider adding a stress supplement to your daily regimen. These supplements contain ingredients like herbs, vitamins, and minerals known to help maintain good health.
If you're wondering where to start, here are some suggestions:
- L-theanine: Helps to temporarily promote relaxation
- Magnesium: Helps in energy metabolism and tissue formation
- Ashwagandha: Used in Herbal Medicine as an adaptogen to help increase energy and resistance to stress (e.g. in case of mental and physical fatigue related to stress)
Important Note: When supplementing with Ashwagandha, keep in mind the following safety information:
- Consult a health care professional prior to use if you are pregnant or breastfeeding
- Avoid taking with alcohol or products that cause drowsiness
- Some people may experience drowsiness. Exercise caution if operating heavy machinery, driving a motor vehicle or involved in activities requiring mental alertness
Please note that certain vitamins and supplements may not be right for you. Always read and follow the label and consult a healthcare professional for more information.
6. Set Limits on Social Media Apps
Social media is a blessing and a curse. It can connect you to your friends and family, but it can also be a huge source of stress. If you're feeling overwhelmed by social media, here are some tips to help you take back control:
- Set limits on how much time you spend on social media every day.
- Turn off notifications from certain apps, so you don't get distracted whenever someone likes or comments on your post.
- Only check in with social media when you're feeling calm and relaxed—and don't use it as an escape when you're stressed out or angry!
- Delete specific apps that are causing too much stress.
7. Eat Healthy Food
Eating healthy is one of the easiest ways to reduce stress.
The reason is that your body needs certain nutrients to function correctly. When you don't get those nutrients, it can cause your body to go into overdrive.
When you're under a lot of pressure, your body increases the production of stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. These hormones are responsible for giving you the energy to deal with an emergency. Still, if they're present too often or in large amounts, they can cause serious health problems.
8. Enjoy Mindful Moments in Nature
Spending time in nature may help you reduce stress and feel happier. We've all heard that, but it's hard to turn that advice into a concrete plan.
Here are 3 tips for spending more time in nature that you can try this week:
- Spend time outside every day, even if it's just for a few minutes. Even if you don't have a yard, you can go on a walk around the block or sit in your local park or garden. The important thing is to get out of your house and into the world around you.
- Bring nature into your home. You can buy plants, fill up vases with flowers from your yard, hang pictures of nature on the walls (or even use stickers). Whenever possible, try to make sure there's some green around where you live—even if it's just a little plant on top of the kitchen table!
- Take advantage of technology to enjoy the feeling of being outside without having to leave your house! Many apps allow you to listen to nature-inspired sounds while sitting at home.
We hope you've enjoyed this guide to reducing stress.
While it can be challenging to find time to relax, remember that the more you do it, the easier it will become. You'll also find that even small breaks for relaxation can make a big difference in how you feel—and that's true whether you're taking them alone or with friends or family.
So before we go, we want to leave you with one final suggestion: take a break from reading this guide and enjoy a mindful moment right now!