Today's modern life is full of demands, frustrations, emotional ups and downs, and deadlines. Anytime any of these pose a threat or challenge to our well-being is a stress. Nobody likes stress but we all feel it from time to time and it's a part of life.
We're all different and some of us seem to be able to roll with life’s punches or recover from stressful events quicker than others. The way we each tolerate stress depends on many factors, including the quality of our relationships and support network, our life experiences, and our emotional intelligence. Some may even thrive for a high-stress lifestyle, which results in better performance and higher motivation as long as it is within their comfort zone.
However, when it becomes overwhelming and goes beyond your comfort zone it can damage your health, mood, relationships, and quality of life. The best thing for you to do is understand and recognize your body's signs of stress overload and take steps to reduce its harmful effects.
After all we don't all have the luxury to skip work or tell our families to take care of the hectic household while we check into a resort for a few days just to unwind! Life goes on and so should we. Here are some quick ways, which don't require too much time or effort to help you de-stress and unwind. Some are quicker than others:
FOOD AND DRINK
1. Drink water - Make sure to drink plenty of water in order to keep your body hydrated. It is very important and trust me it helps!
2. Eat something healthy - Having a healthy and balanced diet is very important for your body and mind. Eat some fruits and vegetables to reload your body with nutrients. Also, consider eating a high-carb but low-fat meal as eating carbohydrates can stimulate the release of serotonin, your feel-good brain chemical.
3. Slurp some honey - Try a spoonful of honey. It's a natural skin moisturizer and antibiotic but also provides compounds that reduce inflammation in the brain, meaning it fights anxiety. So replace stress with sweetness!
4. Drink tea - Enjoy sipping on a cup of your favorite tea. Some teas are known for their soothing capabilities such as: Chamomile, Lemon balm, Ashwaganda, Skullcap, Valerian root, and Passionflower teas.
5. Chew gum - Minty, fruity, or bubble-gum flavor, a stick of gum is a surprisingly quick and easy way to beat stress. Just a few minutes of chewing can actually reduce anxiety.
6. Munch a crunchy snack - Sometimes there’s nothing more satisfying than munching away on a crunchy candy bar when we are stressed. However, the crunch doesn’t have to be so sugary, a handful of trail mix or a bag of celery sticks will work just as well.
INNER PEACE AND BODY RELAXATION
7. Breath - Is there any easier way to relax? Take 5 to 10 slow and deep breaths to help you relax by lowering blood pressure and heart rate. As you do this try to clear your thoughts.
8. Try relaxation techniques - Meditate, go for a massage, or do yoga. These will help you create peace of mind.
9. Close your eyes/take a nap - Lack of sleep sometimes affects your judgment in stressful situations. If the wheels turning in your brain actually allow you to fall asleep it will be very beneficial for you. You will most likely wake up feeling somewhat better and rested. If you are tight on time and can't take a nap then take a quick break by lowering your eyelids. It's an easy way to regain calm and focus.
10. Be alone - Five minutes of alone time can help you collect your thoughts and clear your head.
11. Divide and conquer - You might be taking on way too much tasks and responsibilities. Try to delegate some of them at work or home or at least share them. If you make yourself indispensable the likelihood of feeling stressed is much higher. As David Allen, a productivity consultant who is best known as the creator of the time management method known as "Getting Things Done" said "You can do anything, but not everything."
12. Try aromatherapy - If you have an infuser, turn it on and choose a calming scent from your essential oils that you have in stock. You can also just use the palm of your hand by dripping a few drops and inhaling the scent. There are different scents for different moods. Consider using one of the following for their relaxation and calming capabilities: Lavender, Roman Chamomile, Rose Geranium, Bergamot, Jasmine and Sandalwood. My favorite is Jasmine. If you are allergic to any of these scents or don't like them, steer clear from it and use a different one.
13. Sniff citrus - Orange you glad you are not stressed?! The smell of citrus can help you relax by increasing levels of the stress related hormone.
14. Smell the roses - Literally! Stop whatever you are doing and smell ’em. Certain odors as mentioned in previous points can change your mood, and it’s hard to feel angry or upset with a nose full of lovely blooms. Keep a fresh jar of your favorite flowers near your workspace or in the living room, and take a whiff whenever anxiety strikes.
SOCIALIZING AND FUN
15. Call someone - Talk to your family, friends, work colleagues or your boss (well, depending on the situation at hand!). Express your thoughts and worries. Talking about unrelated topics will help you get distracted and lower your level of stress.
16. Laugh - Stressed? Me? Ha! Do something that makes you laugh. Laughter is one the sillier ways to beat stress but it works as it increases your blood flow. Keep a book of jokes handy, watch some funny Youtube videos or maybe comedy sitcoms on TV for a quick pick-me-up.
17. Cuddle with your pet - If you have a pet they are usually the best medicine. After a rough day filled with stress they will give you nothing but love, affection, licks and kisses!
ENTERTAINMENT AND ACTIVITIES
18. Walk - Go for a short stroll around the block. It will give you some alone time, a sniff of fresh air, help you clear your head and also you get some exercise at the same time.
19. Take a bath - There is just something about soaking up those bubbles in the bathtub. The bath salts and warm water will help loosen your tense muscles and help you relax. My favorite is Calm Dead Sea bath salts which the blend includes floral ylang ylang and natural vanilla to relax the mind and body.
20. Listen to music - Listen to your favorite songs and depending on where you are even sing along! Things might start to seem alright and you will most likely feel less stressed after a few songs. Some might choose soothing music such as instrumentals, nature sounds or spa music. Regardless of the type of music, listening to it will help fix a bad mood.
21. Read - Reading a book will completely take your mind off of the stressful situation at hand. You will be focused on the mystery, love story, historical events, a fantasy novel or perhaps a biography instead of thinking stressful thoughts.
22. Stretch - Stretch those tense muscles by doing simple moves. No need to do intense stretches. Try some shoulder roll-out or chest-opening stretches.
23. Shop - Need I say more?!
24. Brush your hair - Really! Repetitive motions such as running a brush through your hair, washing dishes, knitting, or petting an animal can cause the body to relax.
25. Do a hobby - Distract yourself by doing something you enjoy, such as: cooking, gardening, painting, etc.
Let us not forget, as Loretta LaRoche, an acclaimed speaker, author and international stress management and humor consultant said "Stressed spelled backwards is desserts"!!!