I have been told A LOT of times earlier in life to reduce my stress level. Family, friends, doctors, teachers, and coworkers have all made the comment in passing. Oddly enough, being told to “just relax” didn’t do the trick. In fact, sometimes it would be more stressful trying to find ways to be less stressed! Can you relate? I’ve compiled my favorite things you can try immediately to lower your stress:
1) Take a huge breath. Belly breathing is one of the best things you can do for your stress level in the moment. It has an immediate effect on your stress levels because you are oxygenating your blood, which causes your brain to release endorphins. For the greatest feel-good effect, fill your lungs all the way up with air over 5-10 counts. Hold it in for a moment, and then slowly release the breath over 5-10 counts. If you do this four or five times in a row, you will likely be able to feel the difference!
2) Take a silly break. What gets you laughing? Hearing your loved one attempt (and fail) at speaking with an accent? Watching a comedy show on Netflix? Playing racquetball with friends? Playing a game with your kids? Immediately add that activity to your calendar.
3) Take a nap. Sleep works wonders. I went through a particularly stressful time a few years back where I felt as though I could have slept for days. I gave in, and allowed myself to rest. After that, I was able to move forward with a clearer head. While you may not have the luxury of a few days of total R&R, you can likely squeeze in a 20 minute nap!
4) Go outside. The weather may or may not be cooperative, but that doesn’t matter. Get outside for as long as you can manage, and soak up some vitamin D and fresh air. Take a walk, go skating, or even just sit on a park bench in a beautiful setting.
5) Call up a long lost friend or family member. Is there someone you find yourself missing a lot these days? Give them a call, and keep it light. Now is not the time to share your woes. Instead, focus on reminiscing about fun times. Reconnecting with old friends can be a good way to gain some perspective.
6) Take a positivity challenge. For 1 hour, don't complain about anything. If you find yourself thinking negatively or complaining outwardly, start the timer over. It can be tough, but forcing your brain to shut out negativity and focus on positivity can sharply change your outlook and lower your stress.
Huge caveat, while these things may make you feel better in the short term they are often not enough for the long haul. There are often bigger shifts needed to address chronic stress in a sustainable way. If you’re ready to make some changes when it comes to stress in your life, reach out. I coach clients 1:1 on this process so that they are better able to manage their stress. The first session is FREE and I have openings starting next week!
Do you need 1:1 support around food or stress? Set up a free one-on-one phone session with me and let’s talk about it!