Picture this. You’ve spent an interminable, busy, difficult day at work and you are exhausted. All you want to do is lay down and for just a few hours, forget all about your to-do’s and relax.
You just don’t have it in you to do anything else… but you know that somehow, someway, you’ll have to scrounge up a little bit of drive. Things still need to be done. The world doesn’t stop just because you’re tired as I don’t know what.
I can bet you that wasn’t too hard to picture. It probably sounds like the day you had yesterday, or last week, or even today. Most people spend the precious free time they get to relax watching Netflix, but! Can you believe that there are actually more effective ways to deal with all of that stress?
I know! It’s insane.
There are indeed more effective ways to unwind and release all of that stress build-up. Here are 12 beneficial ways to do so!
#1- Drink Some Tea & Read a book.
There’s a reason I didn’t suggest coffee here… Turns out tea, more specifically green tea, has qualities that are scientifically proven to reduce stress.
From its aroma, to the process it takes to make it, to the calming effect of its amino acids, Tea is definitely a good go-to if your goal is to chill and be chill. Coffee, in moderation, is said to be a stress reliever as well however, too much can actually result in stress increase.
Just like tea, reading has it’s fair share of health benefits as well. These benefits include exercising your brain (a no brainer), increased vocabulary, and you guessed it: Stress relief. Studies have proved that those who read have a significantly lower amount of stress compared to other avenues of stress relief.
You could see how the combination of the two makes for the perfect oasis.
#2 – Start an art project
Painting, pottery, photography, and pretty much any DIY project gives you something to focus on. It provides you with a mute button for the thoughts in your brain, making you feel calmer as you center on your project. An added bonus to working on an art project is the sense of accomplishment you feel when you finish. It’s worth considering.
#3- Eat Some Dark Chocolate
Find yourself raiding the fridge when you feel stressed out? The good news is you don’t have to trade-off junk food for stress eating salads! Settle for some dark chocolate. It reduces levels of cortisol (a stress hormone) and catecholamines (fight or flight hormones).
Apps such as Breathe, Headspace, Simple Habit, and Abide provide you with meditations and meditation series that you can use on a daily basis. These meditations are anywhere from two minutes to 30 minutes but you can choose to meditate as long as you’d like. All promote using headphones to give you a full, calming experience. You can also choose to YouTube some guided meditations or google them. There are so many helpful ones available.
#5- Get some fresh air
The outside air can clean your lungs (hence clearer and all around better breathing!), and according to research, make you feel happier. Serotonin, which is basically a natural happy pill, is increased when oxygen is increased. Therefore when you take a walk, sit outside, or do some sort of outside activity, you are increasing your sense of happiness and well-being while decreasing stress.
#7- Bubble Bath
A nice warm bath is a timeless, age-old stress reliever, even though it wasn’t always the most hygienic in its history… Bathing in a bathtub relaxes any tension and because of the items you can add to the water (bath bombs, oatmeal, lemons, etc.), improves your skin as well.
#8- Listen to music
Music can actually alter your brain wave speed, allowing you to fall into a meditative state. Music can also reduce the intensity of pain, increase happiness, increase motivation, and provide stress relief. This isn’t necessarily specific to genre either, so whatever music you enjoy should do the trick! Here’s the playlist I choose to wind down to.
Laughter really is the best medicine. Lucky for us, technology offers several avenues to get comic relief if there is no one in person to offer any (although that route is always preferred). Laughter eases muscle tension, gives you a relaxed feeling, and increases your oxygen intake.
#10- Take a Nap
It’s no secret that lack of sleep and enact a wide array health problems. Stress is always listed as one of the most common results of sleep deprivation. Making time to rest improves your memory, energy, focus, youthful looking appearance, and attention while decreasing levels of anxiety and depression. It’s important to incorporate naps into a daily or weekly schedule if you know that sleep is something you have a hard time getting.
I know it sounds strange… most people associate planning with stress (I know I did!) but there are two ways you can do this. One is to plan a trip somewhere you hope to visit one day. You won’t actually be going on the trip anytime soon so there is no time restraint. It’s a more detailed form of vision journaling. The other method of planning is daily planning. This increases motivation and allows you to properly prioritize your tasks so as you get them done, you feel accomplished, like you have clearer direction, and a greater sense of ease.
#12- Cuddle up and listen to a podcast.
This method is a combination of music and reading, which produces the same benefits as both combined. Grab a warm blanket and listen to a podcast! There are several available on a variety of topics. A few one’s that I enjoy are Having it ALL: Conversations about living an Abundant Loving Life, How I Built This, and TED Radio Hour.
If you find that you’re going through a stressful program or day in and day out schedule than maybe you can try each of these methods and see which one works best for you! Do you have a relaxation ritual you use to un-stress?