12 Simple Daily Tasks to Relieve Stress and Anxiety
Finding a work-life balance can be tough, with full-time jobs and busy schedules it's hard to find time for yourself. We’ve rounded up some tips on how you can take care of yourself in the midst of everything else going on.
There are many benefits of stress reduction from improved concentration and focus, better sleep quality, decreased risk of heart disease, to reduced anxiety and depression. If you want to give yourself that much-needed break take a look at the following tips.
Exercise and Get Outdoors
Exercise relieves burdens and their effects on the body. Regular activity keeps stress at bay, but don’t discount going for a walk anytime you feel anxious. Taking a walk outside even just for 10 minutes can help you feel better.
The fresh air alone can calm you down, and the endorphins that are released by any physical activity decrease your stress levels. Sometimes a 15-minute walk a day is all it takes to ease the overwhelming onslaught of stress in your life.
Sometimes it can be helpful to try and take simple, slow breaths through your nose to reduce the stress of day-to-day life. Inhale deeply, then exhale slowly as you count backward from five. This is a great way to get your mind off the things that are stressing you out. When you feel yourself getting worked up about something, just stop for a minute or two and focus on your breath.
Next time you feel stressed, take five deep breaths to center yourself and try to clear your mind. Deep breathing while under stress will help you stay calm and give your body a physiological break from the fight-or-flight response that can be triggered by a stressful event.
While practicing deep breathing won’t eliminate your stress or prevent a crisis, it does have some benefits to mental and physical health.
Listen to your favourite music
Want to reduce stress? Listening to music can be relaxing and distracting, especially if you are having a tough time sleeping at night.
A quick way to calm your nerves when you're feeling stressed is by playing some easy listening music. You may find it difficult to unwind and take a break from your worries if the music does not meet certain criteria, so choose calming instrumental tunes for the best effects possible.
If you need to let loose and rage it out, go ahead! Just remember that what we put in our minds (negative or positive) is also reflected in our actions.
Use aromatherapy for therapeutic benefits
When you are feeling stressed, try using essential oils which produce a variety of therapeutic benefits. These include increased mood and decreased anxiety levels. Scents like lavender or rose might be beneficial to reduce stress and promote relaxation, while frankincense or sandalwood helps with calming the mind.
You can enjoy the benefits of these scents in a variety of ways, such as through aromatherapy diffusers, burning incense, wearing perfumes that include them, adding them to your bath water, or burning candles with those smells around.
Aromatherapy is known to reduce the anxiety hormone cortisol in our minds. It can also help people “unwind” and be more content with what they are doing and where they are at at that moment.
Mood improving aromatherapy can be practiced alone or with other coping methods. For example, you can add a fragrance to make your office, car, and home smell good while you work; light a candle at your desk in the morning for anxiety relief; inhaling fresh scents before stressful situations like public speaking will help relax you throughout the ordeal.
It can be challenging to remain optimistic when you have the weight of the world on your shoulders. However, studies show that staying positive can actually help you feel better and happier.
While the effects of stress can be felt differently depending on someone’s mindset, positive thinking has been proven to better deal with stress so it doesn’t affect them as much as those who have a more negative view.
Use hope and a plan to help your high expectations come true.
Stay away from caffeine
Sounds scary, I know. Coffee and energy drinks are often the culprits behind caffeine consumption, and studies show these products can potentially exacerbate stress rather than relieve it. If you are experiencing serious anxiety and racing thoughts from your coffee addictions, try switching to green tea or herbal teas.
If you regularly consume more than a cup of coffee or one can of energy drink, cut back. Consistent caffeine reduction will help ease your stress levels.
Make life changes
Learning about the sources of your stress can help you reduce its impact on you. Where do you see this happening in your work, relationships, and daily routines?
Although stress is normal and sometimes unavoidable, constantly feeling overwhelmed by it can lead to problems. It may be time for a change in one or more areas of your life to decrease the amount of stress you have to deal with. This doesn't necessarily need to be big changes: small ones can work just as well.
Say "no" more often
Busy schedules can be overwhelming, and since any unexpected event may be just enough to push you over the edge, it’s best to try and stay on top of as many things before they happen.
Take a step back and learn how to prioritize your time. Remove whatever tasks are not crucial for your wellbeing or happiness. Say "no" to anything that doesn't help you focus on what is important in life. If you are having trouble saying no, ask yourself if it is really worth your time. This should answer your question.
Setting boundaries can be difficult in the beginning but usually becomes easier with time.
Many researchers believe that chewing gum can help reduce stress by promoting similar brain waves to those found in calm and relaxed people. In fact, some studies show that chewing gum could reduce stress levels by up to 25%!
The act of chewing mechanically stimulates your digestive system. It also produces the same brain wave frequency as meditation. I recommend this for when you have a few minutes to spare and need to calm down before finishing a task or making an important phone call.
Experts are still studying the effects of chewing gum. However, many believe that it is helpful for relieving stress and BONUS - fresh breath!
Laugh out loud
Not only can laughter make you feel better emotionally, but it also provides a physical release from stress as well.
Laughter has been proven to increase your heart rate and blood pressure while reducing muscle tension. It can calm the nervous system which in turn reduces stress-related symptoms like fatigue, migraines, headaches, anxiety, depression, muscle tension, or pain. So go ahead and laugh out loud!
Add in a bit of humor to your daily life so that you're laughing more often. Watch funny shows or spend time with friends who make you laugh. Yes, it will improve the quality of your day-to-day living!
Putting off tasks you don’t want to do may seem like a good way to avoid stress, but it does not help you in the long run. If anything, procrastinating your work lends itself to even more work piling up against an already-impossible time limit.
Remember to take care of what needs to be done first, even if it seems painful at the time.
Focus on self-care
You may have a lot on your plate, but making sure you are taking care of yourself is just as important. The health of your mind and body depends on you being well-rested, nourished, and doing the things that bring you joy to make time for yourself.
Make time to focus on YOU every single day. This could be reading before bed, hanging out with friends and family, or a 15 minute in the park with your dog. After all, you deserve it!
Destressing each day does take some effort, but it's not as difficult as you may think. Even better, most of the techniques mentioned here don't require much time or money to execute. Small steps towards reducing your stress will help improve your mood and long-term happiness in the end.