As a whole, society is always stressed. Whether it’s the kids not wanting to get ready for school; a bad nights sleep; overwhelmed with work loads put on you; over obligated social calendar; traffic on the way to work; a fight with your spouse…. You name it. Everyone has stress in their life. The difference is that some people know how to manage it and others don’t.
Here are 6 things that you can do to help reduce your stress levels on daily basis. Over time, as you incorporate these 6 activities, you will feel how having reduced stress levels benefits your life and they will become habit and part of your daily life.
The 6 things that you can do to de-stress your daily life are:
2. Exercise that works for your body
3. Deep breathing
4. Quality time with friends and family
5. Get some sun
6. Incorporate leisure activities into your schedule
Sleep may seem like a given because we all have to do it, right!? But the average person does not get enough sleep, or they don’t get quality sleep. Either way, it just starts your day off already in a stressed situation before they are even out of bed! Getting good quality sleep improves your life in areas such as better concentration, improved productivity, happier moods as well as decreased inflammation in the body, and decreased risk of heart disease and stroke just to name a few.
How do I work towards improving my sleep? To start, make bedtime a routine. Have a set bedtime and wake up time that is consistent every day. Have certain activities that you perform leading up to bed that help to relax your mind and body so you are ready to fall into a restful sleep. Such activities can
~ Avoid caffeine 5-6 hours before bedtime
~Lower your light exposure at least 2 hours before bed. This could be dimming your lights
and/or wearing blue light blocking glasses
~Journal before going to bed. If you don’t like to journal- at least make a ‘to do’ list for the next day
~Make sure your room is dark and cool
Exercise is a key component in maintaining your health and in reducing stress. However, if you overwork your body with exercise, it can work against you. On days that you are already overly stressed, think about doing easy low impact workouts such as walking or yoga. If you do strength train consider lowering your weight or reps for that day and incorporate longer rest periods. Working your body hard when it is already stressed can only add to the levels of stress your body is already retaining versus reducing it.
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Incorporate Deep Breathing
When you feel the stress levels rising inside you, the best thing you can do in the moment is… breathe. There are several breathing techniques out there so you just have to find the one that works for you. The premise is to close your eyes, and focus on your breathing. One technique is the 4-7-8 technique. This means that you will breathe in through your nose for a count of 4; then hold this breath for a count of 7; and exhale through your mouth for a count of 8. Repeat this for a total of 4 cycles at a minimum.
This process will refocus your mind, calm your breathing and relax the internal fight/flight mode that kicks in when stress levels rise.
Quality Time With Friends and Family
Quality time with people that you care about is a sure fire way to relax and destress. If you are able to disconnect from electronics at the same time… even better!! Friends and family can give you a means to vent if needed (just keep it short and don’t make it consume the entire time or it defeats the purpose); they can promote your sense of safety and self-worth; they can also help to release good hormones that relax your body and promote happy feelings.
A good laugh and a good long hug can sometimes be all you need to change your mood.
Sunlight is Good
I'm not saying that you need to go sit in the sun all day, but exposing yourself to sunlight in small doses works wonders. Sunlight helps to set your circadian rhythm which helps set your internal clock. Your internal clock is what tells you its time to go to bed, and time to wake up. The more regulated you make this, the better you will feel. Sunlight also helps to increase good hormones that can calm you and increase your mood. And lets not forget that Sunlight provides us with Vitamin D and strengthens our immune system.
Add Leisure Activates
Any activity that helps to relax you, and puts your body into homeostasis will help to promote healing and recovery in your body. Being in this state puts your body in a natural state of internal equilibrium. Meaning not too stressed and not too calm. Just right.
Such activities could be a walk, yoga, mediating, journaling, reading a book, or sitting at the beach and watching the waves come in (while getting some sunlight). Anything that you do that makes you feel calm and relaxed is the key!
If you make an effort to include the above practices into your daily life, you will see changes. You may even start to recognize your stressors, and be able to avoid or modify the events that cause your high levels of stress. Adjusting or altering your stressors is only going to help improve the overall calmness of the life you life. Calm and happy people are much more productive, get better results and feedback from peers, and are able to think logically versus reactively. Wouldn’t we all love to have calmer and less stressed lifes? I know I would.