We all stress out. Some days we stress more than others. Stress could make us want to stay in bed, other days we don’t know if we want to cry, rip our hair out, or punch a wall. Whether your stress is tied to a specific issue or is the kind that sticks around day in and day out, finding relief is vital.
Personally, stress causes me physical pain, usually in the form of migraines and neck and shoulder tension. Other times, it feels as though my mind is completely numb and incapable of making the simplest decisions such as what to wear or eat. No matter what stress does to you, simply ignoring stress won’t make it go away and could be detrimental to your health.
So how do you handle stress?
Handling stress is definitely an art form considering that it comes in all shapes and sizes. To be completely honest with you, I’m not too great at handling stress myself. This past week, I’ve felt quite a bit of stress from work and noticed a huge difference in my overall well being. I’m talking a huge decline in energy levels, was much more irritable, and consumed massive amounts of ice cream… (I had ice cream 7 out of the last 9 days to be exact. Oops!)
So let’s talk relief.
Ready to make stress your b*tch? There are many things you can do. Check out the following 15 ways to mitigate your stress levels.
- Breathing exercises. When you’re feeling stressed, close your eyes and do a 4x4x4. Breath in for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds, and breathe out for 4. Do this for at least a minute.
- Take a walk. Uninterrupted computer use has been associated with increased stress and loss of sleep. More importantly, get away from the environment that’s stressing you out. Get outside, enjoy the sunshine and take a few minutes to reset yourself.
- Meditate. Meditation is hard when you’re calm, even more difficult when you’re feeling stressed out. However, just give it a go. There are many free mediation apps for beginners you can try out.
- Do something that makes you happy. What comforts you? Is it buying yourself a latte? Is it exercising? Hanging out with friends? Distract yourself with something that is sure to make you smile.
- Get your sweat on. Personally my favorite way to relieve stress. Distracts your mind and allows you take it all out on your workout.
- Drink tea or chew gum. Drinking black tea or chewing gum can lead to lower post-stress cortisol levels and greater feelings of relaxation.
- Laugh it off with a friend. No, don’t complain about what’s stressing you out because that helps no one. Either watch a funny video or connect with someone that is sure to make you at least smile to help lighten the load.
- Crank up the tunes. Research shows that listening to soothing music can lower blood pressure, heart rate, and anxiety. Turn on some of your favorite or most calming tunes, allowing your mind to focus on something much better.
- Try aromatherapy. Scents like Lavender or Peppermint have been shown to reduce stress. I take a few whiffs of lavender when I feel super stressed or turn on my essential oil diffuser.
- Turn your phone on airplane mode. It’s hard, but trust me, put your phone on airplane mode and out of sight for an hour and watch what that does for you.
- Write it out. Stress many times comes from feelings of overwhelm. If you have more things to do than you can handle, write it out and prioritize each one. Then, tackle one. thing. at. a. time.
- Take Vitamin C. Vitamin C has been shown to stop cortisol in its tracks, thus decreasing your stress levels. A super easy way to get some vitamin C is to drink some lemon water.
- Try yoga or Progressive Muscle Relaxation to reduce tension. Just a little yoga can go a long way. Additionally, Progressive Muscle Relaxation is tensing and then relaxing each part of your body. Both are miracle workers.
- Ask yourself “Can I Change It?” We stress out about things we can’t control and it causes unnecessary stress. When you feel the pinch, you may find some relief if you realize you’re freaking out over something you have no control over. (Easier said than done, I know.)
- Find gratitude. It’s impossible to feel two contrasting emotions at one time. When you’re finding gratitude, it’s impossible to be pissed off. Think of 3 things you’re grateful for and watch your emotions take a turn for the better. Bonus points if you keep a journal to help remind you of all the things you’re grateful for.
While it’s nearly impossible to eliminate stress completely from our lives, we can work to manage it. Just remember, if you’re stressing over things that you cannot control, you’re only bringing unnecessary stress upon yourself. Only “worry” about things you CAN control or change. Hope these tips help you own your stress instead of letting it own you.