Between work, family, school, and/or other commitments, it is hard not to get overwhelmed once in a while. Carrying out the daily activities of our life can become stressful and affect our mental and physical health, which in turn, affect our daily lives. It’s important to find time and relieve ourselves of those stresses, but before we discuss 10 ways to relieve stress naturally, what is stress?
What is Stress?
Stress is the response of our body to a challenge or demand. Stress can be caused by a range of experiences, from small daily hassles like taking care of a child to major ones such as divorce or job loss.
Our body responds to such stressful experiences in many ways, physically; as elevated heart rate and blood pressure, mentally; as thoughts and beliefs about the stressor. Emotions like fear and anger are other ways our body responds to stress. Stress can be positive (eustress), when it is from a positive experience like a responsibility as a result of promotion at work, and negative when it is from a negative experience such as traffic on your way to work.
How Do We Relieve Stress Naturally?
Stress is something we can hardly avoid, and sometimes helps us in our daily life – it helps us avoid danger and respond to threats quickly. However, exposure to stress for some time may lead to mental health issues such as anxiety and depression or difficulty in maintaining physical healthcare.
Since stress is unavoidable, there are means by which you can relieve yourself of stress naturally. They are:
1. Breathe – Meditate
While the phrase “take a deep breath” may sound like a cliché, It is the first step in taking control of your thoughts from the stress-thought train. Breathing slowly with ease helps you gather your thoughts and organise your possible actions.
Take three to five minutes to breathe in and out slowly and deeply. Whereas shallow-breathing causes stress, deep breathing oxygenates your blood and clears your mind.
2. Feed Well
Some people deal with stress by eating profusely and just about anything they can find. This might help at the moment but might add to the stress in the long run. Instead of stress-eating, take your time in selecting healthy foods and drinks. Healthy diets provide you with not just physical strength but also the mental energy your body requires in managing stressors.
3. Exercise Regularly
A regular workout is one of the best ways to relax your body and mind. Exercise improves your mood. However, it has to be often for you to feel its impact.
Moderate intense workout of up to 2 hours and 30 minutes of exercises such as brisk walks or fewer minutes of more intense exercises like jogging, swimming, or other related sports are helpful.
4. Stop Using Tobacco and Nicotine Products
People who use tobacco and nicotine products often say they use them to relieve themselves of stress. However, what all tobacco and nicotine products actually do is increase the stress level on the body.
Tobacco and nicotine have been associated with increased physical arousal and reduced blood flow and breathing which makes it difficult for our body to manage the stress we experience.
5. Set Realistic Goals
It is healthy to acknowledge that you cannot be 100% successful at all times. Your inability to achieve a task or expectations you have increases your risk of self-induced stress. Setting realistic and achievable expectations prevents us from the stress that comes with not achieving them.
6. Assert Yourself
Know that it’s okay to say “No”. Protect yourself from any demands on your time and energy that might cause too much stress to you. Instead of trying to please others by going the extra mile, only help when it doesn’t take a toll on your body and mind.
When we experience stress, our muscles become tensed and exhausted. Loosening them by relaxing helps refresh your body and mind, thereby providing you with the energy you need to carry out activities of your daily life.
You could relax your muscles by sleeping well, stretching, enjoying a good massage, and taking a hot bath or shower.
8. Make Time for Hobbies
A good way to relieve stress is by engaging in activities that make us feel good. Taking just about 20-30 minutes every day to do what you love will help take your mind away from the stressors and help you relax. Hobbies that can help you relax include watching a movie, swimming, reading, writing, drawing, singing, cooking, playing games, and many others; basically any activity that makes you smile.
9. Avoid Stressors
Understand what are the biggest reasons why you get stressed, from your work, school, or family responsibilities. If you can figure out what your stressors are, try to avoid them or at least reduce them.
You can identify your major stressors by keeping a stress journal. Keep notes when you are most anxious or tensed, then attempt to lessen them.
10. Talk about Your Problems
Maintaining a good relationship with friends and loved ones are vital for a healthy lifestyle. Talking to a good friend about your stressors when you experience them is a good way to relieve stress. A reassuring voice, comment, or acknowledgement that you are not the only one experiencing such stress might be all you need to put things in perspective.
It is healthy to understand that stress is an unavoidable part of life that you should not ignore. Leaving stress unattended can cause serious physical and mental problems.
Also, it’s important to know that stress is manageable with the proper strategies and patience. Whether the stress you experience comes from your job, family, school, or even self-induced, it can be managed.
I hope this write-up was helpful to you. If it is, kindly leave a positive comment in the comments section.