Many of us are experiencing a lot of uncertainty right now. As Canadians, our usual way of living has been disrupted and we are not exaggerating when we say millions of people all over the world can relate. We know these times bring along a lot of stress and with the recommendations to stay home and the closure of anything that is considered non essential, we are kind of stuck at home without our usual ways of de-stressing.
So we are here to help! We have put together a few ways for you to be able to relieve stress and anxiety all while at home!
1. Breathe Deeply
Getting in touch with your body and breath is a de-stressing secret yogis have been on to for centuries. The “pranayama,” or “life force,” is at the center of every yoga practice because it’s considered the source of energy and life for all living beings.
As such, it makes sense that the extra boost in oxygen you get from deep breathing can slow down your nervous system and help you calm down. So, if you want to reduce blood pressure and de-stress in a pinch, try taking a couple deep breaths to help you calm down.
2. Eat Mood-Boosting Foods
Diet is linked to just about every condition the human body deals with – so, it makes sense that diet is linked to your mood and stress levels, too!
In general, eating healthfully is the best thing for your body and mind…but when you’re stressed, did you know having a nibble or two of junk food might actually be good for you? That’s because eating these foods releases small amounts of serotonin. So, yes: there is actually a scientific reason why chocolate ice cream cheers you up when you’re stressed!
3. Listen To Music
Listening to music can have a very relaxing effect on the body. Slow-paced instrumental music can induce the relaxation response by helping lower blood pressure and heart rate as well as stress hormones.
Simply listening to the music you enjoy is effective too.
Nature sounds can also be very calming. This is why they’re often incorporated into relaxation and meditation music.
4. Go For a Walk
One of the simplest ways to calm your body and mind is by lacing up your walking shoes and going for a walk. Going for a walk places your mind and body into a meditative state, releases mood-boosting endorphins and decreases your levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
5. Chew Gum
Stressed because you can’t focus on your neverending to-do list? There’s a simple life hack that might just help you focus better – and it’s as simple as visiting your nearest vending machine.
Studies say that chewing a piece of gum improves overall attentiveness and effectiveness by as much as 67%. What’s more, subjects also showed improvement in their levels of anxiety during mild and moderate stress situations. So, if you want to destress without even thinking about it, pop a piece of gum in your mouth and get to chewing ASAP!
6. Pet a Dog
If you don’t have a furry friend at home already, you might consider getting one after finding out this surprising statistic: interacting with animals has been proven to decrease cortisol levels and increase levels of the positive hormone oxytocin.
Due to these stress-busting benefits, dog owners are more likely to survive longer than a year following a major heart attack. It’s true what they say, then, that dogs really can save your life!
7. Get Enough Sleep
One can never overestimate the importance of sleep in regulating mood and stress response. The typical adult needs eight or more hours of sleep every night to begin with – but did you know you actually need more rest when undergoing significant levels of stress?
Next time you’re stressed out, resist the urge to lay awake at night mulling over problems in your head, and try hitting the pillows instead. After all, when you get a good night’s rest, you’ll wake up the next morning rested, refreshed and ready to conquer the day’s challenges with a smile!
8. Reduce your Caffeine Intake
Caffeine is a stimulant found in coffee, tea, chocolate and energy drinks. High doses can increase anxiety.
People have different thresholds for how much caffeine they can tolerate. If you notice that caffeine makes you jittery or anxious, consider cutting back. Although many studies show that coffee can be healthy in moderation, it’s not for everyone. In general, five or fewer cups per day is considered a moderate amount.
9. Write It Down
One way to handle stress is to write things down. While recording what you’re stressed about is one approach, another is jotting down what you’re grateful for. Gratitude may help relieve stress and anxiety by focusing your thoughts on what’s positive in your life.
It’s hard to feel anxious when you’re laughing. It’s good for your health, and there are a few ways it may help relieve stress:
- Relieving your stress response.
- Relieving tension by relaxing your muscles.
In the long term, laughter can also help improve your immune system and mood.
A study among people with cancer found that people in the laughter intervention group experienced more stress relief than those who were simply distracted.
Try watching a funny TV show or hanging out with friends who make you laugh.