Sometimes your day just needs a “reset” button. Rewind, set another alarm, and emerge in hopes it can only be better than the present. But surprise! Life just doesn’t work that way. You soldier on, drink another cup of coffee, and muster up the courage to keep checking emails with hope nothing else has gone wrong. On days like these stress can override your focus to get anything accomplished. While studies show that some stress can be motivation, too much can lead to headaches, depression, and other health issues. Thankfully, there are many affordable solutions to ease the tension and give your day a mental reset.
Here are a few of our favorites:
- Make a list. Have you ever started to work on something and ended up doing three other things before you realize you still have not completed the first task? This is a very common problem, and also a very stressful one. Everyone has different ways to keep organized, but the quickest way for most people to feel less stressed is to just write everything down. Find some outlet to release your thoughts, and let all the swirling to-do’s be pinned down in one place. Often times, you’ll see that some things, in retrospect, aren’t too stressful. So get them out, make a list, and shove on with your day.
- Play with your pet. There is scientific evidence that human beings feel less stressed when they are petting a dog, cat, or other animal. Dogs are used to help rehabilitate wounded soldiers, relieve stress in students, and even make dangerous prisoners feel more at ease. If you own a pet, give your companion a little extra love and they will return it in spades. If you have a dog, walking them can be even more beneficial because exercise is great stress-reliever.
- Clean your home. This one is multifunctional because not only is decluttering a good way to take your mind off other things, the end result leaves the space less stressed. The easiest way to clear out a room is to take two bags, one labeled Trash and the other Donate, and fill them both up. If you tackle one room at a time, your home will be left cleaner, and you’ll be left happier.
- Exercise. While it may not be everyone’s first choice in stress release, it absolutely should be. Exercise can decrease ‘stress hormones’ like cortisol, and increase endorphins, your body’s ‘feel-good’ chemicals, giving your mood a natural boost. Physical activity itself can take your mind off of your problems and either redirect it on the activity at hand or get you into a zen-like state. Exercise usually involves a change of scenery as well, either a gym, a park, a biking trail or even a
neighborhood sidewalk, all of which can be pleasant, low-stress places. In addition to those benefits, exercise may supply some immunity toward future stress as well as a way to cope with current stress. If having a resilience to stress isn’t a great reason to get more active, I don’t know what is!
- Meditate. We’ve all heard of meditation and know it’s supposed to relieve stress by reconnecting with the present moment and our inner being. If you’re unclear about that, you’ll know soon. And you’ll find plenty of free instructional videos online, including mantras, plus background music if you need a more calming environment. Remember, this takes practice. It’s actually quite hard to sit, clear your thoughts, and return to center. But, it gets easier with time. And by clearing your thoughts, and focusing on your body, you’re giving yourself some of the best free medicine there is.
Let us know any tricks you have for relieveing stress!