Stress is never nice to deal with, but it’s all part of the human experience. Stress can be useful to us, it can warn us of danger and provide our body with the energy we need to take action to do the things we need to do. However, over the long term it can cause some pretty unpleasant health effects, as well as making us feel lousy. But there are things we can do to bust stress and keep these levels low, here are a few ideas.
Relax and Refresh: The Best Ways to Bust Stress
Is there anything worse than running around like a headless chicken, searching for lost documents, digging through drawers for missing items or rifling through the washing looking for a particular item of clothing? These kinds of things tend to happen when we’re on time constraints- usually in the morning before work which doesn’t set the day off to a good start. Spending a little time putting right your small daily stresses really can add up in a big way to improve your overall wellbeing. Declutter and organise your house so you know where everything is. Get into a routine with laundry and cleaning so everything is where you need it to be. Put a few essential items in your car so you’re never caught short- a phone charger, a comfy pair of shoes (in case of blisters!) and some face wipes all might come in handy when you need them. Make your lunch and prepare your work bag the morning before so you can get up, get dressed, eat a relaxed breakfast and leave the house without any dilemmas. A little organisation and planning ahead is exactly what many of us need to live a less stressful life.
Get your diet right
It’s well established that the brain and body are closely linked, and so diet plays a huge role when it comes to stress. Numerous research studies have shown that increases in stress tend to lead to increases in fat, sugar and salt and it’s probably something we can all relate to. Perhaps you’ve had a bad day at work and instead of eating the healthy fish and vegetables you had planned you’ve ordered a greasy takeout instead. Maybe you’ve had a fall out with your partner or broken up, and consoled yourself by crying into a big box of chocolates. While food can be comforting in the (very) short term, the effects are never worth it. Along with making you feel generally rubbish and sluggish, it can cause your skin to break out, your mood to drop and the weight gain is never nice to deal with either. Getting your diet right is a great way to help yourself when it comes to stress. Get in the kitchen and get used to cooking, find ideas for tasty, inexpensive and healthy meals on sites like Pinterest. Create a menu for the week, then you can grocery shop based on what you need for a hassle free experience.
Workout your body
It’s no secret that exercise reduces stress levels. It regulates hormones and therefore mood, it increases energy levels and self esteem. One of the best ways you can help yourself if you’re feeling stressed out is to workout- chances are it’s not what you feel like doing at the time but your body and mind will both thank you afterwards. Many people are afraid or feel daunted by the gym, but if you can face your fears you’ll see that you had nothing to worry about. The gym enables you to burn a lot of calories in a short space of time which is great when you lead a busy life. It allows you to work different areas of your body all in one place, and most have classes available now for when you want to switch things up. Taking up a sport is another way to get fit while having fun, we all love a bit of friendly competition and it will have you moving your body and quickly shedding pounds and toning up. You’ll sleep better, you’ll feel better, your clothes will fit you more nicely and your stress levels will be reduced. It’s so, so worth fitting exercise in your routine.
Spending time in nature has been shown to significantly reduce stress levels– it provides a way for us to ‘switch off’ from our daily lives. Whether it’s camping in the wilderness or just lying in the grass in the back garden, it’s nice to turn off our phones and clear our minds for a while as we listen to the sounds. Create a natural haven for yourself, plant flowers, hang out bird feeders with Little Peckers bird food and invest in some comfy outdoor furniture so you can enjoy a cold drink on a summer’s evening when you get home from work. Watch the clouds roll past, take some deep breaths and feel the sun warming your face. What could be better? Alternatively, pack up some supplies and take a picnic to the park, go trekking in nearby mountains or forests or practice yoga on the beach at sunrise to get your nature fix.
Try something new
As humans we’re curious creatures, and often at our happiest when we’re learning something new. A common reason that people can get stressed and unhappy is because they’ve fallen into a rut- every day feels like groundhog day and their life seems as though it’s being wasted. Take initiative and get out of your comfort zone, try something new that you’ve never done before. It could be a local class, anything from art to floristry to cooking. It could be a team sport, it could be something from home like cooking or gardening. It’s a chance to build your skills, possibly meet new people and give you new things to aim towards. It keeps you productive on your days off work so you don’t succumb to a Netflix binge on the sofa all weekend, leaving you going back on Monday feeling like you’ve not achieved all that much.