Are you feeling stressed? You’re not alone.
According to a study done by the American Institute of Stress, over 80% of working Americans feel stressed while working with almost half saying they need to learn how to manage their stress better.
If you’re in that 80%, then here are 20 easy-to-follow tips for lowering those stress levels so you can live a joyful, more productive life.
1. Get Enough Sleep
Did you know that according to the American Psychological Association, people who already feel stressed are 45% more likely to feel more stressed when they don’t get enough sleep?
Great sleep is the first ingredient to a stress-free day. 7-9 nightly hours of sleep is optimal for proper daily functioning. Any less will have you feeling a bit of brain fog and over time could lead to an increased risk of diabetes and heart disease.
Are you having trouble sleeping?
Try starting a nightly routine of turning your phone off an hour before you hit the sack.
Turning off your phone before bed will reduce distractions and anxious thoughts. It will also give your eyes a break from blue light radiation. If you’re considering supplements, feel free to talk to your doctor to see what’s right for you.
2. Wake Up Early
Stop hitting snooze!
Waking up early is key to a productive morning and is a surefire way to kickstart your day.
Start by establishing a healthy morning routine.
You already brush your teeth (hopefully!), so why not add to that habit and start your day right.
Spending more of your waking hours at the early part of the day rather than staring at the ceiling late at night will help you feel like you have more time to be productive. Some great ideas to start the day include making a task list or doing a bit of meditation.
Physical activity is one of the best de-stressors.
15-20 minutes of daily exercise is essential for having a well-balanced lifestyle and keeping your mental health in check.
Not sure where to start?
Here are a few exercise and workout ideas:
- 7-Minute HITT session
- Brisk Run-Walk
- Jump Rope
- Dance along with your favorite YouTuber
4. Get Outside
Getting sunlight and reconnecting with the outside world is a perfect way to destress and it comes with other added health benefits.
There’s nothing worse than feeling tense and overloaded while craning your head over your laptop so take a real break.
Get outside, even for a few minutes. Breathe fresh air and maybe even go for a brisk walk!
Our bodies adapted to being in a natural environment. Cramming yourself on a desk all day isn’t just affecting your mood, it’s affecting your work performance and your health.
Take 5 minutes to head outside now and enjoy the natural world.
5. Breathe Deep
Please do this right now.
Stand up, stretch your arms up, then let them drop to your side.
Now take three deep breaths into your diaphragm.
Let tension in your body flow out of you with every breath out and let every breath bring freshness into your lungs.
Meditation is the perfect way to destress before, during, or after a tough day.
Find a quiet place, sit down, and close your eyes.
Let your breath flow smoothly and naturally.
Don’t worry if anxious thoughts flood your mind, that’s perfectly natural.
Instead, address and acknowledge each thought as your own.
7. Laugh A Little
Do you have an urgent deadline?
You’re probably feeling tension all over your body. There’s nothing quite like having a quick laugh in a stressful situation. Laughing is a natural way for your mind and body to reduce cortisol levels. Instead of clawing your hair out on your next assignment, embrace a moment of laughter and joy.
Turn on your favorite sitcom, hang out with friends that bring you joy, watch another funny cat video. Do anything and everything to give your body and mind a break.
Laughing can take you out of stressful moments and give you the mood-booster you need to get through your day.
8. Skip That Second Cup Of Coffee
Did you know that caffeine can take more than 10 hours to completely clear from your system?
That means if you drink a second cup of coffee or another shot of espresso at noon, it’ll stay in your system till 10 PM.
By drinking too much coffee, you’re also putting yourself at risk for a caffeine crash.
That second cup of coffee might feel refreshing and livening at the moment, but you’re setting yourself up for a more significant caffeine crash later on.
Skip that second cup and consider skipping caffeine altogether.
9. Drink Green Tea
Still can’t shake your caffeine addiction? Try Green Tea!
While green tea contains caffeine, it packs a smaller dosage. You won’t get the same surging burst of energy from a Starbucks cold brew, but you will have long-term sustainable energy.
Green tea may take you a little while to get going, but it’s a small price to pay for avoiding a caffeine crash.
Are you not convinced?
Green tea also packs many benefits, including:
- Slightly increase fat burning metabolic rate
- Contains Antioxidants
- Lowers inflammation
- Can boost memory and cognitive functions
10. Eat Foods That Help You Destress
If you’re guilty of a bad diet, you’re not alone.
Dieting can be difficult, but a healthy, balanced diet is crucial for destressing.
If you’re eating a large, high-carb meal right before diving into work, you’re going to feel sluggish and behind. On the other hand, If you eat a balance of slow-digesting complex carbs, lean protein, and fibrous vegetables, you’ll find you have much more energy and vitality to go about your day.
11. Listen to Music
Music is one of the most potent ways to destress.
Putting on that playlist that always makes you feel lighter and more at ease with yourself (you know the one!)
Alternatively, you can also listen to calming music such as:
- Ambient sounds and meditation music
- Lo-Fi beats
- Baroque and Classical Music
12. Light a Candle
Lighting a candle is a fantastic way to feel focused and concentrated.
A candle can keep you focused and draw your attention to the present.
If you’re feeling stressed, you’re probably also feeling overwhelmed and overloaded. Lighting a candle will allow you to focus on just one thing.
Make sure that your environment is free from distraction and danger when you light a candle.
13. Spend Time with Loved Ones
Having close friends and family is a perfect way to unwind during or after a stressful day.
You can talk with them, vent to them, and share memorable moments with them.
Stress happens when you zoom into our work and your problems. Stepping back and spending time with your family can bring you back to what truly matters to you.
14. Play With Your Pet
Furry, fuzzy friends are the best, especially when you’re stressed out and anxious.
There’s comfort in knowing that you have the unconditional love and adoration of your pet. They’ll give you the undivided attention you deserve, and you can give them a tummy rub and a good time.
A dog, cat, turtle, or even fish, can be a great way to bring yourself a tidbit of joy during stressful times.
15. Empower Yourself to Say No
Saying yes to everything is a recipe for stress and burnout. You can imagine it like this: each time you say yes to something, you pick up another burden.
Learn to say no, and say it unapologetically (at the right times). The more you practice saying no to the things that don’t matter, the more time you will have to say yes to the tasks and people that matter to you.
16. Take a Real Break
Taking a real break means taking time to be you.
Take time for yourself instead of scrolling through Instagram, Facebook, or Tik-Tok. Spend time just being you and doing you.
A proper break can mean playing an instrument you enjoy, singing in the shower, lying down for a few minutes, or going outside for a short walk.
Don’t neglect the power of real breaks and relaxation. Even 5-10 minutes of being present can make a difference in your stress levels and productivity.
Imagine and envision yourself completing the task in front of you.
Visualizing the best-case scenario is often the best way to keep yourself from drowning in stress. Visualization can also be an excellent exercise for mapping out your goals and understanding yourself.
When you feel yourself getting tense and stressed, take a step back and visualize.
18. Don’t Procrastinate
The enemy of peace is procrastination. Procrastination on essential things is probably the reason you’re stressed in the first place. It’s not easy but set up a checklist of all of the tasks you need to complete, then try to knock them out one by one.
Take this further by prioritizing the one task that you must get done today. Have a clear vision of what you get done, break it down into small pieces, and take action.
What is the one thing you are going to get done today?
19. Clean and Discard
Your environment dictates your stress levels.
The best way to clean up is by throwing trash away. Clean your immediate work area of all clutter. Get it out of sight.
Part of the reason you’re feeling stressed could be the amount of physical clutter piling up in front of you.
Cleaning your desk and organizing your drawers might seem trivial, but a clean environment makes a clean mind.
20. Get Creative
Creating is a stress-relieving activity.
You don’t need to create for someone else. Write like no one’s watching, write journals for yourself, paint pictures just for you, or get creative with your smartphone camera.
Societal expectations, deadlines, and pressure can pile up and stress you out. That’s where creating comes in.
When you’re creating, you can be yourself. Nothing else matters when you’re creating, it’s a great way to bring yourself out of your stress and into the present.
With all of these tips, you’re sure to have found one or more ways to feel much more at ease.
Pick 1 of these tips and do it now! It only takes 5 minutes.
What’s your favorite way to relieve stress? Is it something not on this list? We’d love to know! Leave a comment below.
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