As we wind up Stress Awareness Month, we thought we would share some quick and easy ways to reduce stress. Now look, we get it, stress is something that isn’t always a quick and easy fix. You don’t have to explain that to us, but often, there are some easy ways to help diffuse the amount of stress that you are experiencing and we wanted to share some of the ways that we have found to help. Perhaps one or more of these will help you the next time you feel that you are under a large amount, or even a little bit of stress.
- Physically walk away. Perhaps you are in a meeting, work environment, family gathering, or maybe you are even alone working on a stressful project and it is stressing you out. Just take a beat, and walk away from it. Often, walking away for 5-10 minutes, getting fresh air can give us a new perspective, but it can give us the physical change we need, like reducing our blood pressure to a healthier level.
- Drink a glass of water. Water is healing. Studies have proven this, and better yet, if you can go jump into a pool or the ocean for a dip, do that, but if you cannot, just pour a glass of water, gulp it down, and hydrate. This can help reset and replenish you and give you the balance you need to reduce your stress level.
- Take 3 deep breaths. Close your eyes, tune everything out, and breathe in deeply through your nose, and out through your mouth. Trust, this helps with resetting as well. If you have time for a meditation, here is a quick meditation if you want to go a little deeper than the 3 breaths.
- Expose yourself to sunlight. We LOVE the sun! Of course, we also recommend you wear sunscreen, but when you are feeling super stressed, go catch some rays. Sunlight boosts serotonin, aka the happiness hormone. So, take a few minutes and go outside to get some loving from the sun when you are feeling stressed.
- Go get yourself a hug! Seriously. This has been difficult during covid, but hopefully we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Physical contact reduces cortisol levels and increases oxytocin. Oxytocin creates feelings of contentment and happiness.
- Laugh! Sometimes, when we feel as though we are in a stressful situation, even if it is something we know is going to be difficult for a long period of time, we just find something really funny to watch, or a memory that cracks us up. A side splitting laugh break, even if for a few minutes, is a great break from the stress, and is needed, not just for your mind, but your body needs the break from the tension.
- Positive affirmations. Turn the negative into a positive. When things are tense, it sounds silly, but if you can spend a few minutes with some positive self talk and affirmations, it often will change your mindset and can reframe things. There is often a shift in not just the short term look on things, but the long term as well.
- Gratitude. Speaking of the positive, during a stressful situation, it is difficult to see what is going right in our lives. It is good to make this a practice, but if you are not in the habit of recognizing what you are grateful for, try it now. When you are under stress, sometimes just the ability to breathe is something to be grateful for, and that is ok.
- Listen to music. Tuning into your favorite music can be a great way to destress. Songs with good vibes can make you want to dance, which helps you move and helps to destress, and songs with a more classical feel can reduce anxiety and present a calmness. You can read a bit more here about the Mozart effect– good stuff!
- Eat plants. The first thing we want to do when we are super stressed is grab something salty, sweet, processed, and terrible for us. The best thing we can do for ourselves is grab a piece of fruit, vegetable, nut, or legume. These real foods provide you with energy, are mood boosters, and will make you feel better about yourself with the choices you make to nourish yourself.
We all want the “avoid at all costs” method when it comes to stress, but unfortunately, that just isn’t life. Having some of these coping mechanisms in your toolbox are hopefully ways to help you during some of the really tense moments. The key, at least for us, is to just remember to implement them. Wishing you all a low-stress day.