Have you forgotten how to de-stress?
Given the current world circumstances, stress is at an all-time high for many people. It may even seem like you just don’t have time to fit in stress-relieving activities.
Quarantine life and schedule changes from the last few weeks have many people on edge. Not to mention the everyday stressors on top of that. Add in that 83% of American workers have work-related stress, and it only makes sense to take a look at the impact it has on productivity, relationships, and more.
With that being said, self-care is a must right now.
Now is the perfect time to remind yourself what it means to unwind — both your body and your mind.
Here are 11 simple ways to teach yourself how to de-stress right at home:
Take the time at the start or end of each day to relax your mind. It’s an exercise you can do anywhere to train your mind to focus and be aware.
Not sure where to start? Try out these:
- Apps like Headspace or Calm
- Meditation YouTube channels
- Tap the Power of Mindfulness
Start off with a minute or two a day of meditation for several days. Work your way up to 30 minutes of meditation time. You can do it in silence, with calming music, or with guidance.
One of the best endorphin-boosters you can do indoors right now is exercise. Between at-home easy-to-do-options like yoga, kickboxing, Pilates, and core workouts, you can bring the gym into your living room.
Need to feel the burn to de-stress? Consider working out with:
- Resistance bands
- A personal trampoline
- Your own body weight
You don’t need a huge space and a weight rack to get your calorie burn going or improve your mental space. Push some furniture to the side for extra room. Or head out to your backyard for a change of scenery and some fresh air.
3. Create Something
When was the last time you picked up your paintbrush or knitting needles? If it’s been a while, now is the time to start up again. Researchers have found that crafting can have similar positive impacts like meditation. It requires skill and intentional focus, which can also have a calming effect.
Soothing artistic endeavors to try:
- Birdhouse building
Plus, researchers show crafting has other benefits, too. It can protect the brain from aging and increases overall happiness.
4. Breathe Deeply
Have you ever experienced shortness of breath due to panic? If so, you probably recall it being an uncomfortable and even scary feeling. When you breathe deeply — from the diaphragm — it forces you to relax. This in turn lowers your cortisol levels and helps restore calmness.
Learning to breathe deeply helps you:
- Slow your breathing rate
- Improves your core muscles
- Lowers your blood pressure
- Reduces your stress levels
- Can improve exercise experiences
Check out this article on breathing exercise to help you keep your calm: 4 Easy Breathing Exercises to Reduce Stress at Work.
5. Spend Time With a Pet
If you have a pet, consider yourself lucky: You’ve got an in-house stress therapist. Studies show spending time with pets not only reduces stress levels, it also boosts your mood and decreases loneliness.
Reduce your stress with a pet by:
- Getting outside for daily walks
- Spending quality time together
- Playing indoors together
There’s a reason certain animals have the ability to be therapy animals. If you’re working from home, spend your break times with your pet. It will thrill them to pieces, and you’ll feel your own stress levels decrease.
6. Try Aromatherapy
If you’re a fan of essential oil diffusing or lighting candles, you’re onto something. Research shows that aromatherapy can boost your mood and lower your stress. Consider lighting your favorite candle while you work or diffusing a calming scent in your room at night.
Scents that can help relax you:
You can benefit from aromatherapy at any time of the day. Consider using it whenever you feel your stress levels rising. Scent also has a great way of triggering positive memories, too. Try using scents that help you recall happy life moments.
When you’re going through high-stress times, journaling is a great way to get your thoughts out onto paper. It acts as a physical brain dump so you don’t have to keep replaying certain emotions or experiences. It can also be a creative way to think about other topics, too.
Some journaling prompts:
- What’s troubled me today?
- What made me happy today?
- Write about the ideal day
- Create a list of what you’re grateful for
- What are some activities I could do more often that I enjoy?
While journaling releases anxious feelings, studies show just 20 minutes of daily journaling can improve physical health, too.
8. Spend Time With Nature
Nature has an incredible way of healing the human mind. Studies show that spending time in natural settings can reduce heart rate and blood pressure. It also lowers stress hormones, too.
Ways to connect with nature:
- Sit and meditate
- Take a walk
- Workout outdoors
- Read a book on a blanket in the sun
Get outside in your backyard or front yard as much as you can. As long as you’re practicing social distancing, you can unwind on your own property and enjoy the benefits of nature. At least 120 minutes a week in nature is the ideal remedy for stress reduction.
9. Listen to Calming Music
Music has an incredible way that it calms the body. Whenever you listen to your favorite song, watch how your body reacts. Slow music in particular has the ability to reduce stress levels and lower your heart rate.
Genres to consider playing:
- Native American
- Nature sounds
Take time daily to listen to slow, calm music. At the end of the day, it can help you unwind and shut your mind down enough to get a good night’s sleep.
10. Chat with a Therapist
Keeping up with your mental health during times of crisis is important, and sometimes you need to call in a pro. A therapist can walk you through stress-reduction techniques and offer insight on how to navigate stressful situations.
Therapy can be helpful for:
- Regulating moods
- Handling extreme stress
- Providing tools to manage stress
Most insurance companies are paying for telemedicine visits with mental health therapists — including a phone call or video chat.
11. Have a Good Laugh
It’s hard to laugh and be stressed. If you need a good dose of humor, there are a million ways to tickle your funny bone. During times of negativity or maximum stress, laughter can serve as an outlet and reduce cortisol levels.
Get your laughs in by:
- Calling your funniest friend
- Watching old family movie clips
- Listening to a comedic podcast
- Reading a daily comic roundup
- Watching your favorite comedy show
Laughing also reduces muscle tension, so if you’re feeling uptight — mentally and physically — it might be time for a good laugh.
Learn How to De-Stress Starting Today
We all go through stressful situations. Now is certainly a time that many individuals are dealing with high levels of stress. One helpful thing to remember is that it won’t last forever.
If you find stress building, it’s important to learn how to de-stress in your own way. Whether that’s having alone time, reading a book, or just lighting a candle, find an activity that soothes you.
Find the right balance for you. Some people need more time to unwind than others. As long as you listen to your body’s signals, it can teach you a lot about when it’s time to slow down and relax.
You’ll find your mental and physical health are better for it as a result.
What’s been your favorite way to learn how to de-stress? Let us know in the comments below!
De-stress image credit: Created by Freekpik