7 Stress Relief Tips
In American culture, chronic stress has, unfortunately, become an accepted fact of life. Work-driven societies seem to perpetuate a workaholic mentality, driving many to view a high stress level as a marker of accomplishment. Whoever bites off the biggest piece wins, right? Well, not if they can’t chew it. The truth is that while stress is often a product of external factors, it doesn’t have to be completely out of your control.
Believe it or not, it is possible to achieve big while stressing little. The key to keeping stress levels low when you’re in a high-pressure job, or are loaded with responsibilities, is how you manage it. You may not have the privilege of taking a vacation or relaxing at the spa when the going gets tough, but you can certainly take advantage of these seven high-impact, low-maintenance stress relief tips.
- Identify your stressors. This should be a prerequisite for any stress relief. Insight is always a valuable tool. Often, half the stress comes from not knowing what’s bothering you. Take a minute or two to determine what your stressors are in that given moment and, from there, you can decide how to deal with them. You could even go so far as to write them down and give some thought to anything you could do to eliminate or mitigate any stressors you can.
- Exercise. Even if it’s just 30 minutes in the morning or evening, making a plan to get moving daily to maintain a healthy body and mind is a great addition to your weekly tasks. Not only does exercise release endorphins and relieve stress, just 30 minutes a day dramatically improves your health in all areas.
- Eat healthy. You might be surprised at how directly food impacts your stress levels. When you consume foods with little or no nutritional value, you set yourself up for mood swings, energy crashes, and not functioning your best. Take an honest look at your diet and replace unhealthy choices with natural, truly nutritious fuel. And don’t forget to drink plenty of water! If you have the space, you could even put a dorm-sized refrigerator in your office to keep healthier snack options handy.
- Get enough sleep. This may seem like a no-brainer, but when people need to carve out more time to get something done, the first place they pull from is the time they would normally spend sleeping. Regardless of whether that time is shaved off late at night or early in the morning, the consequences of skimping on sleep far outweigh the benefits of those couple of extra work hours in the long run, especially when it comes to productivity. A well-rested brain will accomplish astoundingly more in six hours than a tired brain will in 12 hours.
- Listen to relaxing music while you work. If you work in a noisy environment or just need to stimulate your brain into productive mode, slip on some earphones and turn up some smooth jazz, spa tunes, or ambient vibes. Listening to calming music will not only soothe your nerves, but it will also increase your productivity by drowning out distractions and providing a consistent rhythm for your working time.
- Proactively plan your day. One of the most effective methods of preventing stress is planning out your day the night before and revisiting those plans before you start the next day. By proactively creating a detailed agenda, you eliminate the stress of not knowing what needs to be accomplished or how much time you have to accomplish tasks. Make it a habit!
- Get up and move around. We all know how uncomfortable sitting in the same position for too long can be, so plan regular breaks into your schedule. Get up, stretch, and walk around for at least several minutes. This increases circulation through your body and, in turn, gives your mind a mini reset, allowing you to give your body a break and return to your task rejuvenated and ready to jump back in.
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