Tips for Reducing Stress
Stress is considered to be a normal response to everyday life demands and typically affects us all periodically. However, when stress starts to feel overwhelming or becomes chronic, it can affect our day-to-day lives, negatively impact our mental health and increase our risk for anxiety and depression. Below are some helpful strategies that can help manage stress and improve one’s overall quality of life:
1. Exercise Regularly: Exercise is a great way to reduce stress. It naturally releases trapped energy and improves overall health. When a person exercises, their brain produces endorphins, which are natural mood boosters that can help to reduce stress and anxiety. Just 20 minutes a day can make a big difference and relieve a lot of the physical tension that comes from feeling stress.
2. Get Enough Sleep: Sleep is vital in reducing stress and improving one’s mood. When a person doesn’t get enough sleep, they are more susceptible to feeling stressed. Ensuring you have a consistent sleep schedule, and creating a routine before, such as turning off the t.v. 30 minutes before bed and participating in relaxing activities can help create more structure in your sleep routine.
3. Practice Self-Care: It’s important to prioritize self-care and make time for activities that are relaxing and can help improve one’s well-being. Examples of soothing activities include spending time in nature, doing yoga, listening to music, cooking, getting a massage, taking a bath, reading a book, etc.
4. Just Breathe: Deep breathing techniques can help us slow breathing back to normal, and reduce physical symptoms, such as muscle tension, that can come from feeling stress. Next time you feel overwhelmed, breathe in through the nose for a count of 4, then hold your breath for a count of 4, and exhale slowly for a count of 6 seconds. Repeat a few times until you notice yourself feeling more relaxed.
5. Seek Support: When someone has a good support system, they are more likely to manage life’s challenges and reduce stress. Making sure to schedule a time to connect with friends and family can help to reduce negative feelings and foster a sense of belonging. Reaching out to someone you trust when you are feeling overwhelmed can make all of the difference!
6. Manage Your Time: Being able to manage your time will help you feel less overwhelmed, and bring a sense of accomplishment and control. You can better manage your time by scheduling activities, setting time limits for each activity, writing a list of things to do, prioritizing each item, and dividing big tasks into smaller, more achievable steps.
7. See a Therapist: If you already tried these methods and are still feeling stressed, it might be helpful to see a therapist who can help you develop coping skills that fit for you.