Stress is an emotional feeling that everyone experiences from time to time. From the regular 9 to 5 jobs to relationship issues, financial obligations, and even health issues, we all experience increased stress at some point.
However, some people are more likely to get stressed easily than others and will require effective coping mechanisms to deal with their ever-increasing stress levels. In this post, we’ve highlighted some coping methods you can incorporate into your life to help relieve stress.
So, let’s dive right in.
Engage in physical exercises.
Physical exercises have a way of relieving stress levels among adults. A 6 weeks study carried out among university students reveals that regular aerobic exercises can significantly reduce stress levels and increase productivity.
Physical exercises can also help combat declining mental health conditions like anxiety. So, if you’re feeling stressed, consider adopting an exercise routine. It is important that you start with light routines and progress to more rigorous exercises to avoid overworking your body. Furthermore, your physical activities do not necessarily have to be restricted to gym workout routines. You can incorporate other activities that help you maintain physical activity, such as walking, running and cycling.
Eat a balanced diet.
What you eat affects your overall health (physical, mental, and emotional) directly or indirectly. For example, a 2021 journal by the National Library of Medicine shows that people who consume a lot of processed foods are likely to get stressed easily. On the other hand, taking fruits/vegetables and foods rich in vitamins nourishes your body, keeps you healthy, and reduces stress levels.
In addition, their 2020 journal on magnesium status and stress reveals that certain nutrients like magnesium and B vitamins help regulate stress levels in individuals and sometimes help improve a person’s mood. So in this regard, including these nutrients in your diet plan can result in stress relief.
Ideally, you want to ensure you consume a balanced diet if you occasionally experience stress in your everyday life. So take more fruits, vegetables, beans, fish and lots of water and cut down on carbonated drinks and other processed foods.
Reduce your screen time.
This cannot be emphasized enough. Although phones, computers, and tablets have become indispensable aspects of our daily lives, they do not particularly help with stress management. Excessive use of electronics can affect your sleeping patterns and cause a strain on your central nervous system resulting in occasional outbursts and stress. The American Academy of Paediatrics recommends that screentime, such as watching TV, using tablets or playing video games, should be kept at a maximum of 2hrs a day.
As such, you should find a way to cut down your screen time. For example, you can set a household rule prohibiting the use of phones and other devices during dinner time or encourage your family to spend more time outdoors. This can afford you time to bond better with your loved ones, have a good laugh, and ultimately heal from the stress of the day.
Take some “me time”.
Practicing self-care is a vital contributor to your overall well-being. You should try to set aside time to be alone with your thoughts. This will help to reduce stress levels and improve your productivity. People who practice regular self-care tend to have lower stress levels and live better lives. So creating time for yourself might be beneficial if you’re a professional exposed to stressful environments.
Your “me time” doesn’t have to be so complicated; it can be as simple as reading a book, sitting beside your garden or taking time to participate in psychedelic retreats. Some examples of self-care practices you can also practice include; yoga, taking a warm bath, getting a massage, going for a walk, or even seeing a movie alone.
Another effective way to reduce stress is by prioritizing your tasks. Pushing your workload to a later time can make completing the tasks considerably overwhelming when you’re finally ready to tackle them. In addition, procrastination can affect the quality of your work because you’ll have very little time and so much work that you’ll end up scrambling to meet deadlines. It may also alter your sleeping schedule because you may have to reduce your sleeping time if you want to meet your set deadlines.
If you’ve noticed that you tend to procrastinate a lot, you should consider creating a “to-do list” every morning before you start your day. Set achievable goals with realistic deadlines. You can also attach “rewards” for every task you accomplish, like taking a 30-minute break after you’ve completed a task. These goals should be set in order of priority. Attend to the most pressing ones first and slowly work through the rest.
Avoid juggling between tasks, as this might simply take a toll on your productivity while increasing stress. You can also prepare your to-do list the night before. This has proven to be a better strategy for most people. At the end of the day, take some time to evaluate your day. Check if you accomplished most of the tasks on your to-do list. If there are tasks you were not able to complete, find out why so you don’t make the same mistakes subsequently.
It’s not surprising that the human touch can help with stress relief. Cuddling has a calming effect and helps reduce stress levels significantly. In addition, recent studies have shown that physical contact and sex help with stress and loneliness.
When humans cuddle or engage in sexual intercourse, their body releases oxytocin, which helps lower blood pressure and heart rate. Increased heart rate and blood pressure are clear signs of increased stress levels, and physical contact acts as some sort of antidote. Interestingly, humans are not the only ones who cuddle to relieve stress. Chimpanzees also cuddle for stress relief.
Spending quality time in nature has a way of helping with stress. A recent article by Healthline on the relationship between ecotherapy and well-being reveals that spending quality time in a natural place like an aquarium or a garden is an effective way of distressing. If you prefer something a bit thrilling, you can decide to go camping. This might take your mind off your stressors and help you relax. You won’t regret it if you do it right and with the right facilitators.
Alternatively, you can get yourself a pet. The companionship that pets provide cannot be ignored. Spending time with pets can make you laugh and, most times, lighten your mood. Dogs are called man’s best friend for a reason. Arguably, most dog owners tend to live better and more productive lives. So having a pet can give you a sense of purpose and responsibility.
Although stress is a part of our daily lives and may seem unavoidable, excessive stress can significantly affect your general well-being. This is why wellness experts advise that you take time to rest and distress, so you don’t break down unexpectedly.
We’ve highlighted manageable ways to help you reduce stress levels and improve your physical and mental state. However, it is important that you engage in one that works best for your needs.