If you have been feeling stressed, you are not alone. It is normal to have a little stress briefly. But it is crucial to recognize that too much stress can take a toll on your health and well-being.
High stress levels over an extended period can drastically affect nearly every organ in your body. Chronic stress is also linked to acne, eczema, hair loss, obesity, insomnia, anxiety, depression, sexual dysfunction, menstrual problems, cardiovascular disease, gastrointestinal problems, and among other issues, according to research.
Learning how to relieve stress is important for your body and mind. But, while fast stress relief can give you an impactful positive effect, avoiding your stress triggers in the first place may be a more effective way. Here are 15 tips from experts to avoid stress triggers and relieve stress fast in your day-to-day life. Try one or all of them to start feeling calmer and happier.
1. Take a break from the news and social media.
It is good to stay on top of the news and current events. But some of the information may be a stressor. A study has shown that tuning into the news for 15 minutes can already disturb people's moods and increase their anxiety.
If you find watching the news or scanning the 'gram emotionally draining, then take a break from it. Spend that time on something else to make you feel good. Consider reading an interesting book you have put on hold for ages, listening to a podcast that motivates you, or re-watching a sitcom that makes you laugh.
2. Don't get shortchanged on your sleep.
If you have spent a night counting sheep, you know how you will feel the next day—tired, moody and cranky. Without enough sleep for a prolonged period, you may also feel anxious or depressed.
It is essential for you to get the recommended 7-9 hours of shuteye nightly. Plan your sleep routine, set your alarm (if needed), and stick to it every day, even on weekends. Catching up sleep on weekends will not fix the effects of sleep deprivation but may create an at-home "jet lag." If you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, try these 12 Tips to Help you Wake up Happier.
3. Prioritize your "today" list.
The thoughts about that never-ending to-do list may already be overwhelming.
According to Stephen R. Covey, the author of "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People", an effective way to tackle a to-do list is putting first things first. The idea is that if you prioritize your tasks and handle them according to priority, you will be more effective overall.
Prioritize the items on your to-do list, pick out only the top priority items you can handle in one day, and write them on your "today" list. Try preparing it the night before. So, when you start your day the next morning, you have a much shorter list that looks doable. As you complete each item, make sure you cross it out. That little short line can make you feel so great!
4. Create boundaries and say no.
Women are often expected to be accommodating to others' needs. But there is so much a person can handle. Although saying yes may seem easy to keep the peace and get things done right, overstretching is not good for yourself and your relationships. Putting too much on your plate may overwhelm you, leaving you feeling more edgy or anxious. If you’re too busy to meet your needs and those of your family, there may be anger and resentment.
Take control over your personal life to have time for self-care. Although not all circumstances are within your control, some are. Create boundaries with people who add to your stress level. It might be hard to set boundaries with some people, but that does not mean you should not try. Learn to say no both at work and home. To start, try saying no to replying work emails after certain hours and on your day off. Even if you are not in a position to decline an additional project from work, try negotiating with your boss to re-prioritize your projects.
5. Give yourself permission to leave the party.
Some people get energized in social gatherings, but others get drained.
If you prefer a more intimate gathering, get together with a smaller group of friends. But if you find yourself stressing out at a party, hanging out all night will not make you feel any better. It is okay to leave the party earlier than others. Go ahead and leave politely and gracefully.
6. Spend time with happy people.
Happiness is contagious. That is proven by science. A 20-year study by a group of Yale scientists has shown that spending time with happy people can make you happier.
Hang out with positive, supportive friends and family members who lift you up. And, it may be best for you to let go of people who drain you.
7. Add "me-time" to your calendar.
Making time to take care of yourself is not selfish—it is necessary. Self-care is an essential part of stress relief. You are more resilient and more able to take care of others when you are feeling your best both physically and emotionally.
"Me-time" does not have to be a weekend getaway vacation. It can be time for yourself every Saturday morning. So ditch that to-do list and do anything that makes you feel re-energized. Go line dancing, get an aromatherapy face and body massage, or whatever makes you feel like a new woman.
8. Build short breaks into your day.
When you are working hard to meet a deadline, taking a break might be the last thing on your mind. But more studies suggest short breaks can help you get more done. In addition, they help you improve your mood and productivity.
Build mini-breaks into your day whenever you can. Step outside for some fresh air. Or, get up, look out a window, make a cup of tea, or meditate. Use these breaks to take your mind off for a short while.
9. Stop and smell the roses.
There are many things that life has to offer, so slow down and take time to appreciate them. It is okay to let the dirty dishes pile up.
In fact, some studies have shown that flowers are potent mood elevators. The smell of roses is amazingly delightful. It can bring a heartfelt smile to your face. So, do smell the roses when you see them.
10. Reduce your caffeine intake.
Do you drink cups of coffee throughout the day? Unfortunately, drinking more than 4-5 cups of coffee can do more harm than good. This is because coffee contains caffeine, a stimulating, psychoactive substance that affects your hormones. Caffeine keeps you awake and makes you feel good for a few hours, but too much of it can backfire.
If you notice jittery feelings, anxiousness, or unhappiness, consider replacing coffee and energy drinks with water or caffeine-free beverages.
11. Sip on some lovely caffeine-free herbal tea.
The aroma of herbal teas can be very soothing, pleasing, and invigorating to your senses. Pure herbal teas are made from dried fruits, flowers, spices, or herbs. Because of their natural sweet tastes and floral flavors, herbal teas are also a great alternative to sugary beverages.
Try chamomile or lavender tea if you want something soothing before bed. If you want something to help calm your nerves and uplift your mood, try rose petal tea or rose hydration.
Rose hydration has a delightful fragrance, dietary flavonoids, and plenty of bioavailable phytonutrients, more than you would get from a rose petal tea. And it takes only seconds to make rose hydration. So you can enjoy a healthy beverage effortlessly.
Physical exercise may not be everyone's cup of tea, but it is one of the best ways to relieve stress. When you exercise, your body releases endorphins—hormones—that help reduce stress, improve mood, and relieve pain.
You do not have to do a strenuous workout to feel the benefits. Even a 10-minute exercise can be enough to make you feel happier. Take a brisk walk around the block, or bust a move to some great music.
13. Spend time in nature.
Nature is an amazing stress reliever.
Hiking, camping, and gardening are great options. But if you don't have time for these activities, spending as little as 10 minutes outside in a natural space, you may already feel the positive benefits kick in. Just make sure you turn off your phone!
14. Meditate or try yoga.
The most commonly practiced methods used in the U.S. to ease stress are meditation and yoga.
You can meditate or practice yoga any time of the day. Some people choose to practice in the morning. Consider adding meditation or yoga into your routine.
Deep breathing is a fundamental technique for calming your mind and reducing stress.
You can practice deep breathing anywhere, even when stuck on a long commute. Just breathe!
When managing your stress, the first thing that comes to your mind might be how to relieve stress. But sometimes, cutting out your stress triggers may be a better long-term solution. Learn effective ways to break the hold stress has on your life, so you can feel calmer and happier. Stress management is not one-size-fits-all, so it is important for you to experiment and find out what works best for you.
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