A few hundred years ago, most people were living the simple life. Everyone got by on the basics and life was, face it: easier than it is today.
Obviously, times have drastically changed. Whether you are living in a first or third world country, you have plenty to stress about. And, because we are human, we can’t help it…
So, why should you de-stress?
First of all, it is a well-known fact that stress is not good for you. It affects your health and sanity, and may cause a lot of harm.
That is the main reason why you need to de-stress.
De-stress = the act of stress relief; a method of relieving yourself from stress…
We think it’s super important that you need to know how stress affects you…
Stress makes you ill
Yeah, this is quite obvious. But, stress can cause your body’s immune system to malfunction, or go into a state of panic. This can cause harmful illnesses such as colds, flu and worst case, cancer, to attack your body.
The main causes of stress
We don’t think it is necessary to go into too much detail here, but maybe you need a refresher…
The main causes, and thus the most common, are things like:
- Financial stress – worrying about money the entire time
- Bodily stress – worrying about your weight, or thinning hair, acne problems, etc. (For most people this is a huge stress factor)
- Home stress – A lot of people, especially women, have a constant worry about housekeeping and “making a home”.
- Worrying about becoming sick – especially if your family has a genetic disorder or are prone to severe illnesses such as heart disease or cancer.
- Aging – most people have a fear, or deep worry, about becoming old. And to make this worse, we constantly worry about not achieving anything in time, or not leaving a sort of “legacy” behind.
- The future – No one knows what the future really holds. And things are evolving more quickly than in the past. The medical, engineering, technology and energy industries are advancing at an alarming rate.
- Grief, trauma, fear – all of these contribute greatly to stress.
To put the causes of stress more into perspective: You can stress about almost anything.
The main challenge is to find ways to not stress so much – and it is a huge challenge!
So, to start your de-stressing journey, first…
Identify the causes of stress in your life
It will not help you to find ways to relieve stress, if you keep on stressing about the same thing over and over again.
Think about it: It’s liking curing the SYMPTOMS of an illness, and not finding the root cause of the illness, and treating that instead.
So, find the root cause of why you’re constantly stressed out – if you haven’t done so yet.
Also read: How to bulletproof your immune system
Top ways to de-stress
We have rounded up some of the top methods in which you can de-stress:
Change your lifestyle
Maybe you need a complete lifestyle change. Did you ever consider that it might be your busy, cluttered, no-time-to-do-what-you-like-lifestyle that makes you stress? Why not do some research on these top lifestyles:
- The Hygge Life
- The core of the Hygge lifestyle rests on the principles of comfort, coziness, warmth, closeness, relaxation, etc.
- This might be more for the super clean, organized and minimalist type of people. Minimalism is considered the ultimate stress free lifestyle of the century. The idea behind this lifestyle is to be happy to live on less – the bare minimum. You need to go back to basics.
Change your routines
Maybe if you work out a routine that works for you, it might not be necessary to make a complete lifestyle change. Even if you consider yourself as “not a routine kind of person”, you still need some sort of timeline for your day.
Create a working schedule
If you are a routine kind of person, then you may consider creating a schedule for yourself. Take a day each week, say Sunday, and sit down with a blank schedule.
Jot down all of your important tasks and appointments. Then, be sure to write down exactly how you want your day to go. When you need to eat, work on something important, free time, etc.
Adjust it each week as you go along until you find a schedule or routine that works for you.
You have probably already heard about breathing exercises for stress relief. And we thought it is worth mentioning on this list – because it really does work! It also helps you to relax and even to fall asleep if you’re having difficulty with that.
How do breathing exercises help stress relief?
Breathing correctly helps your body to slow down your heart rate, making your blood pump slower and thus helping your organs and your body to relax.
The top methods for breathing to relief stress are:
- Meditative breathing
- Find a quiet, comfortable place to sit and close your eyes. Try to clear your mind and focus on how you’re breathing. Acknowledge how the air fills your lungs and exit your lungs again. Do this for a few minutes each day until it becomes a habit.
- The 4-7-4 Method
- Slowly inhale and exhale 4 times – really focus on your breathing, try to clear your mind and not think about anything else…
- Inhale deeply and slowly exhale for 7 seconds…
- Inhale again and hold your breath for 4 seconds, then slowly exhale…
- Do this a few times until you feel your body relax, or until you feel drowsy.
Also read: How to Live the Hygge Life
Change your surroundings
Have you considered that it might be your surroundings that make you stress? Even seemingly subtle things, such as the TV noise in the background or the dirty dishes in the sink, can make you stress.
Surround yourself with encouraging words and mantras
One way to create a stress free environment, is by surrounding yourself with quotes or encouraging sayings, such as positive affirmations. Whether this is only in your journal, or as a poster on your wall, find a way to somehow read these words of encouragement at least once a day.
Clean your living and working space
Cleaning your room or desk where you spend most of your time will help you to feel more in control. A clean, organized desk will also help you to think more clearly, so if you’re in a stressful situation, you can think of solutions.
Invest in Hygge elements and decor
Most people thrive when they are surrounded by things, or people, whom they love. This goes for stressed out people, too. And, most Hygge elements, such as over sized coffee mugs, woolly rugs, a fully stocked bookshelf, comfy pillows, indoor plants and candles, can instantly create an atmosphere which you will find stress free. Give it a try…
We’ve mentioned before that the Hygge lifestyle can be the type of life you want to live to become stress free. Read this post here to find out more about this new type of lifestyle.
Invest in your Senses
To help curb the stress, awaken your senses with these helpful tips:
Essential oils have been proven to relief stress, and they have so many beneficial uses. These fantastic oils can be added to a diffuser or your bath. It can also be used as a great massaging oil. There is also a wide array of essential oil choices, and it is wise to experiment with the different oils a bit, to see what works for you.
Do some research on the benefits of these amazing essential oils. Some of the top ones are:
Essential oils can also be blended with one another to unlock even more benefits and joyous scents. There is a whole world of essential oils waiting to be unlocked – so start experimenting!
(Are you, or someone you know, getting married soon? Read this post on how to survive Bridal Burnout + get a free guide to essential oils and their benefits)
Look at your local flea market or an Indian spice shop for standard incense sticks and holders. They usually come in packs of 8-10 or even 20, and you can get almost any scent imaginable. The trick with these burners is to light them outside and let the stick burn for a minute or so, before bringing it inside. You will avoid the horrible burning scent that overpowers the natural scent of the stick. Note: If you’re prone to headaches, this isn’t the product for you.
The crystal incense burners are also an option. They usually come with a tealight candle holder on the bottom, and a small cup of crystals at the top. You can sprinkle your essential oils over the crystals and simply light the candle. The scent is milder than the burning stick diffuser, but still very effective.
If you’re not so much into diffusers, then this natural method may work for you – especially if you live in a smaller home.
In a pot, boil some water. Then add some cinnamon sticks, pine needles, star anise, a few drops of clove essential oils (or any essential oils you prefer). You can also add some lemon or orange slices. Or, add vanilla essential oils to boiling water and let it simmer.
This method is simple, and you can boil all kinds of spices and essential oils to the water. The scents from the boiling pot will instantly fill your home – and make it smell like Christmas!
Fragranced bath products
You can get so many different bath products that are specially made for stress relief and relaxation. Be on the lookout for fragrances in Lavender, Jasmine and Eucalyptus.
You can also add essential oils to your bath to relax. It will also moisturize your skin – which is, of course, an added benefit!
Exercising makes your brain release all of those feel-good hormones, like endorphins. This can help you relief stress and be up for any challenge. It clears the mind, helping you focus, and so much more!
The top benefits of exercising are:
- Stress relief
- Fighting anxiety, depression and nervousness
- Weight loss
- More energy to do things
- Unlocking a motivation-mindset
- Boosts self-esteem and confidence
- Develop a healthy sleep pattern
- Unlocks ambition
- Boosts creativity
- Mental clarity
- Gives you discipline
- Encourages a healthy lifestyle
That’s more than enough reason for you to start exercising!
Hit the Gym
You will be more motivated to work out at a gym, than at home. Also, many gyms are full of like-minded people who also workout to fight off stress. Why not invite someone along and make it a social event?
Do Yoga or Tai Chi
If vigorous exercising is not for you, but you still need some exercise in your life, then why not try out a Yoga class or Tai Chi? If you have space at home, you can also do some poses while watching some Yoga videos on YouTube – there is a ton of Yoga channels out there!
Experience the great outdoors
There’s nothing like a healthy dose of nature to make you forget your worries. Indulging in nature can help you de-stress in an instant, if you look in the right places and take part in some outdoor activities.
Camping with loved ones is a proven remedy for stress relief. There are so many things to do when going on a great camping trip. Take some board games and playing cards with for those rainy days. Pack those trainers in for some hiking or do something more challenging like fly fishing.
And food? Marshmallows at the campfire, tin coffee, crisps… indulge a little. Make a weekend out of it!
Do outdoor activities
You don’t need to camp out to take part in all of these awesome outdoor activities:
- Simply going on a hike can make you de-stress. And better yet, you can make it an outing with some friends or family. There are also many hiking or outdoorsy groups which you can join.
- Mountain Biking
- This is more extreme, but we’ve heard somewhere that mountain biking is the latest trend in outdoor activities. Sure, it is quite an investment if you need a decent bike, but if extreme bicycling is for you, then this might be worth it.
There are so many outdoor activities to do, like surfing, quad biking, micro-lighting, etc.
Check out Meetup to find people who want to participate in group activities in your area.
Also Read: How to Declutter Your Life in 15 Easy Ways
Just go outside
Simply going outside of your house and soaking up the sun can make you de-stress in an instant. Get a nice spot somewhere and throw out a blanket. Read a book or just meditate…
Get a hobby
A hobby which you love doing will surely take your mind off things for a little while, and will in return make you stress a little less. Don’t just dive into any hobby you discover. Find something you truly enjoy doing, even if it’s something simple like adult coloring books.
Some other options are:
Read a good book
Reading a book will help you to de-stress, because it makes you forget about what makes you stress in the first place. You can really go all out here, in the sense that you pick your own genre. Self-help books, motivational books or feel good books are normally the first choices of most people. But if a good science fiction or crime drama is your thing, then get reading!
Pick a comfy seat somewhere, with minimal sound or relaxing music in the background. If it is a cold day, make yourself a nice cup of sweet tea or hot chocolate. Ice tea on a hot summer’s day will make you feel super relaxed while you read a good book…
BONUS! 30 More ways to relief stress! 🙂
- Dress comfortably
- Start a daily schedule
- Meal prep
- Prepare for the next day the night before
- Have a to do list
- Eat healthy
- Make something
- Manage your time
- Go outside
- Take one day at a time
- Create a budget and savings plan
- Set daily goals and reach them
- Don’t put anything off
- Make yourself a cup of tea/coffee
- Take a long hot bath or shower
- Force yourself to get up and do stuff
- Get up early
- Have breakfast while sitting down at a table
- Start the day with good thoughts
- De-clutter your home
- Wake up to a clean kitchen every day
- Listen to good music
- Watch a good movie
- Have a daily quote or mantra
- Take a long walk
- Light some candles