Techniques to Relieve Stress
Stress is a natural part of everyday life. Most people will experience stress from their professional lives, their social lives and their romantic and financial situations. Every person needs to learn proper coping techniques to relieve stress so that they can get on with their days and improve their general wellness. Living a healthy life isn’t just about exercise and eating well, it’s about taking care of your whole self.
In this article, we’re going to review some proven techniques to help you relieve stress. Techniques come in all different shapes and sizes, ranging from physical activity to emotional to some drastic life changes that could produce extremely happy results. With these techniques, you’re bound to find at least one answer to your stress.
Sleep is one of the most overlooked natural cures to stress. It’s a biological process that allows our brains to recharge and our bodies to repair. Even a minimal lack of sleep can alter your mood and compound stress. Being well rested can combat the stress you will inevitably experience throughout the day.
This can be a double-edged sword as stress can disrupt your sleep. It’s important to create a relaxing sleep routine and make sure you are not distracted as you try to fall asleep. This is the perfect time to turn off the TV and put your phone on silent. You can even try listening to soothing sounds and wearing a sleep mask. Avoid consuming caffeine at night and, when possible, try not to work into the late hours. Leading up to bedtime, it’s ideal to be relaxed, which is why so many people enjoy a warm bath or reading before bed.
Stress can hit us when we feel overwhelmed by our schedules. Even an active social life can create feelings of anxiety. Strong time management skills are a technique to pre-emptively cope with stress. Instead of feeling burdened by a ‘to-do’ list, prioritize your tasks and eliminate some that are low in priority. By clearing your schedule, you’re allowing more time for yourself to enjoy the things you like and that will surely alleviate stress.
Start the process by identifying the source of your stress. A popular method to do this would be to keep a stress diary, where you record:
- The cause of each stress
- How it made you feel
- How it disrupted your day
- How you responded
- What you did to feel better
By recording your stress, you can discover patterns, learn to avoid certain stressful people or tasks and apply these findings to your weekly schedule. Time management is an exercise in editing, so make sure that the things that don’t matter aren’t taking up much of your time.
Try incorporating at least one relaxation technique into your day to help curb stress. These simple techniques can be done at your work desk or quickly during a break. These techniques can include saying a calming word repeatedly or different stretches to loosen your body. Dedicating five to ten minutes to relaxation techniques every day has proven to clear the mind and help people focus on a task instead of dwelling on their stress.
Hobbies and Activities
There is no better stress relief than doing something you enjoy. If you like hockey or basketball or dodgeball, then joining a team will force you to get out there and play. Hobbies that aren’t physical can also do the trick. Knitting or collecting something can be a great escape from daily stresses. Whatever it is you enjoy, be sure to carve time out in your schedule and commit to participating. For instance, if you’re a voracious reader, then join a book club or attend literary events, this will force you to spend time enjoying the things that give you pleasure.
Wherever you live there are tons of groups, activities and events that you can enjoy, all of which will relieve stress and provide enjoyment and interaction.
Take Time to Heal
Stress worsens when you don’t take care of yourself. If you are sick or injured, take time off work so that you can get back to operating at 100% more quickly. In addition to compounding your stress, working or running around while less than 100% won’t do you any favours at work and you will only prolong your sickness or injury.
Slow down to tackle anything that is negatively affecting your health. You owe it to yourself, and focusing on yourself will only help relieve your stress.
Talk to Someone
Stress can spiral out of control, eventually overwhelming a person. Before you reach this point consider speaking to a trained professional. There are many healthcare professionals equipped to help you with your stress or any emotional issues you might be experiencing. If you have health benefits, consult with your provider to see if any form of therapy is covered.
You can also just speak to someone you trust like a friend, colleague or family member. It doesn’t have to be a doctor. Sometimes just airing your feelings and being heard can feel great and help your situation.
Avoiding certain drinks and foods that contain caffeine and alcohol could reduce your stress. Caffeine is a stimulant, which increases stress levels even if it feels like it is reducing it as you consume them. Alcohol is a depressant, but in small doses acts more like a stimulant. Relying on caffeine and/or alcohol to reduce stress is more smoke and mirrors than an actual coping technique.
That after work drink or second cup of morning coffee might feel like it is stress relieving, but it could be having a detrimental impact on your emotional wellbeing.
If you are experiencing stress, and you feel like it is affecting your daily life then try adopting one or more of these coping techniques. Even small changes to your sleep routine, activity level or eating habits can relieve stress and help you in your quest towards improving your wellbeing. Any investment in your emotional health can pay off with big dividends.
Stress might never go away but managing it can improve your wellbeing and happiness level!