Stress is an unavoidable part of being a human, but it isn’t always a negative thing. A normal amount of stress can serve as internal motivation to get things done. However, life can sometimes quickly get overwhelming. An excessive amount of stress can be harmful to your physical and mental health.
If it goes unchecked, high-stress levels can seem unshakeable and can start to wear you down.
If you have been feeling overworked or like you are losing control of your circumstances, you may need to manage your stress to help yourself recenter. There are many stress management techniques, so you should keep trying until you find what works best for you. Here are some of our favorite stress management tips that may be able to help you calm your mind and body and eliminate stress.
Increase Your Physical Activity
A regular routine of exercise is one of the most effective methods of dealing with stress and relaxing your mind and body. Exercise can stimulate your body and release mood-improving hormones like endorphins and endocannabinoids. Not only will exercising help with stress relief, but it can also improve your sleep and help you feel less anxious.
In order to get the most benefits out of exercising, try to get about 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderately intense exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous workouts each week. You can try out different types of exercise to keep things interesting and fun such as:
If you are short on time for a traditional exercise program, there are other ways of adding physical activity to your day like:
- Biking instead of driving if possible.
- Hand Washing your car.
- Going for a walk.
- Using the stairs whenever possible.
- Parking further from your destination than so you can walk.
Improve Your Diet
Although it can be tempting to eat your favorite junk food when you are stressed out, studies have shown that foods that are high in fat and sugar can actually be harmful when you are dealing with stress. Not only does eating healthy improve your physical health, but it can also have beneficial effects on your mental health.
A good diet can reduce stressors by leveling your mood and lowering your blood pressure. Adding more fruits and vegetables into your diet is an effective way to improve your diet. Some foods that you should eat for a balanced and healthy diet to help reduce stress include:
- Lean meat
Build Better Sleep Habits
It may be tough to get a full night of restful sleep if you’re feeling stressed but building better sleep habits can help. A lack of sleep ads can make stress management difficult and can lead to a cycle of stressful, sleepless nights. A key step in stress management is to get at least 8 hours of sleep each night.
Creating an environment that is conducive to good sleep hygiene is an effective stress management technique because it can improve your chances of getting restful sleep. Keep your room dark, quiet, and cool so you don’t wake up in the middle of the night and make sure your mattress is comfortable and supportive. Some good sleep habits that can help you set yourself up for success include:
- Drink less alcohol and caffeine around bedtime.
- Set a regular time to go to sleep and wake up every day.
- Avoid looking at electronic screens about 45-60 minutes before bed.
- Try meditation or journaling before bed.
Take a Break and Relax
If you’re feeling a high amount of stress you may notice your muscles tensing up or you may feel like you’re having trouble focusing. One of the best ways to deal with stress is to simply take a break and try to relax. Take some time each day to give your mind and body a chance to decompress and let go some of the stress you are carrying.
There are a wide variety of restful things you can do for stress management no matter where you are. For example, you can take five minutes to focus on your breathing or try some simple meditation. Spending some time out in nature is also a great method for coping with stress. Sometimes just taking a few minutes to step away can help reduce your stress and keep you going through your day.
Make Time for Your Hobbies
When life is getting overwhelming and the stress is weighing down on you, getting lost in one of your hobbies can make you feel better. Even if you only have 15 to 20 minutes a day, take some time to enjoy a relaxing hobby. Some of our favorite hobbies for relaxing include reading, watching movies, drawing, and cooking.
Coping with stress is more manageable when you have some time in your day to still do the things you love. However, it is important to avoid hobbies that could lead to more stress when you are trying to reduce stressors. For example, sports and gaming can be enjoyable hobbies, but the competition can sometimes lead to more stress in the long run.
Find Your Stress Triggers and Minimize Them
First, you should try to figure out the biggest factors in your life that are leading to stress in your life. Then, you can start to identify ways to eliminate or minimize them if possible. For example, if the thought of unfinished school work is stressing you out, set aside a specific time to work on it. This way, you know that your schoolwork is on your schedule and you will get to it when the time comes.
If you’re having trouble figuring out how you can reduce stressors in your life, try keeping a stress journal to keep track of when you feel your stress levels rising. You should identify patterns in your stress levels to help you figure out what triggers your stress. Sometimes, just writing down how you feel can help you manage stress by letting you get your troubles off of your chest.