If you’re having a long, chaotic day, what’s the best way to fix it? By doing the opposite. Taking a few short minutes to sit down, close your eyes, and meditate is a great way to just watch your stress fall away. After all, there’s a reason it’s been practiced for as long as it has been!
Sit down. Take deep, slow breaths. This will reduce your heart-rate and lowers blood pressure. You can do this while your work, when an annoying person calls, or when you get cut off in traffic. It’s extremely versatile!
We typically get stressed because we have so. Much. To. Do. So, stop thinking about the future. Stop thinking about what’s going on everywhere else but where you’re at. Don’t whip out your phone on break or flip on Netflix the moment you get home. Instead, look around and enjoy where you’re at.
Take some time to talk to someone about anything — preferably in person, but phone calls work too — because human interaction can do wonders. Talking to them will stop your thoughts from spiraling out of control by forcing you to literally get out of your head.
On the flip side of that, if you have too many people inputting too much into your life, get away. Don’t talk to people. Go on a vacation, or a walk, or even just sit at a different desk. Get away from people if they’re the reason you’re stressed.
Clean and Organize
Clutter leads to stress. Cleaning is a great way to get some work done, improve your living space, and allow your brain a little bit of soft work. In the same way, being organized helps you to know where things are, when things are coming up, and really just helps you know what’s going on. You don’t have to worry about the little things, so it's harder for things to snowball out of control.
Are you tight in any areas? Stretch. Well, stretch those tight areas first, then work to the other areas of your body. Often, you won’t notice how tight or sore some areas are because other areas are so much MORE tight and sore.
It’s hard to laugh when you’re stressed, but the more you laugh, the better your mood is, so go find a friend and get giggling!
Listen to Music
Play your favorite album, or an album that has a bunch of good memories tied to it, or even just a relaxing playlist. Just put on music that you know will help your mood!
I know, I know. Everybody is always telling you to exercise, but destressing is one of the best results of exercise. It takes all that energy your putting into the wrong places and instead directs it towards getting healthy and fit. So, lace up your running shoes, unroll your yoga mat, or hit the weights. Get moving and feel better.
Take time to try and focus on the positive things. Sit down and make a list of things your thankful for without repeating things you’ve already said and focus on that. It’s cheesy, but it’s harder than it sounds and surprisingly helpful. You can’t focus on everything that’s going wrong or your mounting to-do list when you’re trying to come up with something new to be thankful for.
Get Enough Sleep
Making sure you have enough good sleep is crucial to de-stressing. Not sleeping prevents you from being mentally alert and strong, which makes it hard for you to control your thoughts and prevents you from focusing on anything other than your stressors. To get a good night’s rest, turn off your tech an hour before bed, lay down at a reasonable time, and go to sleep in a quiet, dark room. You’ll feel great!
Take a weekly art class or join a local running group. People love routine, and people need community. Joining with other people to strive towards a common, low-stress goal will provide an outlet for your stress.
Resolve Those Stressors
Try to think about your situation in a new way. Ask for advice, start a project over, or reorganize. Try starting with the smaller items and finish as many things as you can. Refocus on your stressors to try and remove that stress from your life.
If your stressors are recurring (Like getting the kids ready for school, then soccer, dance, and chess club.), then try to shift your perspective on them. You won’t get them checked off because they will keep coming back, but if you shift your perspective, maybe they won’t be so bad. Look at it as a chance to spend time with loved ones, or an opportunity to play games, or, if nothing else, an opportunity for personal growth.
Ask for Help
If you have too much on your plate, see if someone can’t help taking some of that off, even if just for a brief little bit. Even if someone can’t take something off of your plate, telling others that you’re stressed may help them be a bit gentler with you. Communication is a very good thing. Use it.
Wake Up Earlier
Making sure you get enough sleep is crucial, but if you get up earlier, you’ll more than likely get some much-needed peace and quiet. The world is still in the morning, the dawn is beautiful, and it’s a great time to just relax and breathe.
Watch Less TV
When you watch TV, it’s like your brain just shuts off. When you sit down and read, or draw, or do some other hobby, you do have to use your brain. You’re entertained, but your brain tires itself out, forcing it to shut down and rest much sooner.
It’s well known that green tea is great for removing the stress in your life, but how often do you actually brew yourself a cup? Not often, I’d bet. Next time you’re stressed, keep this tip in mind.
Chocolate does crazy things to our bodies, one of which is to significantly lower our stress levels. Use that as an excuse to buy yourself a Hershey’s bar and keep it in your desk at work for those really rough days.
Learn to Say No
If you’re stressed, you probably have too much on your plate. It’s okay; most people do. Try to learn to say no to some things. If you have a free night, don’t fill it up. Use it as an opportunity to purposefully do nothing. If your boss is giving you too much to do, let her know and see if something can’t be worked out.
Most people don’t realize it, but when you get stressed, the tendons on the bottom of your feet get tight, which makes your legs tight, which makes your back tight. Your body is oddly connected, so take a golf ball, set it on the ground, and run the arch of your foot over it. Just try it. You’ll be amazed at how well it works.
Get outside. We were made to live in natural light, so fluorescent lighting makes us feel funky. See if you can’t do some work outside, or at least go for a short walk on your next break.
Up there with exercise, drinking water does so much for you. Staying hydrated will help your brain work well, help the chemicals in your body work the way they should. Staying hydrated keeps your body functioning exactly the way it’s supposed to.
Write It Out
Write down why you’re stressed. Write it ALL down. Often, it helps you get it out of your system, and your problems will seem much smaller once they’re clearly laid out in front of you.
If you have a pet, you’re probably head-over-heels in love with it. They’re great for people struggling with stress. They help reduce your stress because being with them produces stress-reducing chemicals in your body. There’s a reason people struggling with serious anxiety have pets. They’re amazing.
Try and chew gum angrily. It’s impossible. We don’t know why, but statistically, people who chew gum are less stressed than people who don’t.
If you need to be less stressed, it’s best not to over-stimulate your brain. Caffeine is a great way to get you going in the morning, but too much can send you too far the opposite way. You don’t have to cut caffeine out of your diet completely but reducing your intake will help your stress levels drop significantly.
If you’re completely honest, you definitely had time to knock out a large part of your to-do list a long time ago, but like any of the rest of us faulty humans, you scrolled through Facebook, and then made a call, and did pretty much anything other than what you were supposed to be doing. Try to bribe yourself to get work done, set goals to do it earlier, or remove any temptations that prevent you from getting your work done on time.