How to Relieve Stress
by Elizabeth Mirera
May 7, 2019
Are you feeling overwhelmed by stress? And you need stress relief but you don’t know where to turn to?
Do not worry. No matter how stressful your situation is, there are healthy stress management ways to improve your situation.
Keep reading and we’ll show you these easy, inexpensive, and healthy ways to a happier you.
Eat a Balanced Diet
When you under stress, you are most likely to lose your appetite. Which, by the way, is not good for your health. An empty stomach leaves you weaker and you can’t think clearly. Therefore, eat a well-balanced diet. Take your whole grains, proteins, fruits, and vegetables every day.
Here are some awesome food suggestions that help relieve stress. Include them in your daily diet:
- Avocados; rich in omega-3 fatty acids
- Warm milk for calcium and a better night sleep
- Probiotics (good-for-you bacteria) e.g. fermented yoghurt drink
- Fruits rich in vitamin C including citrus fruits and strawberries
- Nuts and seeds such as almonds, walnuts, and pistachios
- Seafood such as fatty fish; tuna, halibut, salmon, herring, mackerel, sardines, and lake trout
- Fibre-rich foods such as green peas, berries, almonds, sesame seeds, kale, broccoli and whole wheat grains
Get Enough Sleep
When you get enough sleep, your body relaxes and you wake up feeling renewed and energized. Ideally, you should get a good night sleep of at least 6-8 hours every day.
Unfortunately, when you are under stress, you may find it hard to fall asleep. But, there are routines you can adapt to maximize your relaxation. And as a result, you will be able to fall asleep effortlessly.
Here we go:
- Take a warm soothing bath in the evening
- Maintain a predictable bedtime routine and your mind and body will get used to it
- Avoid taking alcohol and caffeinated drinks in the evening; they may disturb your sleep
- Stop any demanding tasks that tire your brain a few hours before bedtime. Allow your brain to calm down
- Read a nice calming book at bedtime. It will take your mind off your stressful situation and help tire your eyes
Practice Deep Breathing
When in a stressful situation, most people tend to experience faster heartbeat, quicker breathing, and constricted blood vessels. But using deep breathing exercises, you can help your body relax.
You may opt to do:
- Abdominal breathing
- Belly breathing
- Paced breathing
- Diaphragmatic breathing
Deep breathing helps you focus your awareness on your breathing, thus making it slower and deeper. This helps fill your lungs with air. Then your heart rate slows and you feel more peaceful.
Write Down Your Feelings
Do you keep a stress diary? If not, you should seriously consider starting one.
With a stress diary, the next time you feel that your stress is high and you need stress relief, do this:
Take a pen and write in your diary how you feel. Don’t hold anything back. Write, write, and write some more. Once you are done, take a deep breath.
You’ll feel much better than how you were feeling a few hours ago.
Talk it Out
If you are not into writing and expressing your feelings on paper, talking to someone could be your best option. If you have a trusted friend, spouse, or a member of your family reach out to them.
Depending on your preference, you can:
- Meet and talk face to face
- Speak on the phone
- Chat on email
- Chat on messenger
- Video chat
It is a no brainer that a problem shared, is a problem half solved. So don’t shy away from sharing whatever is eating you up in the inside (read stress).
You can also spend time with your friends and family. That close bond with your loved ones makes feel secure and happy in their company.
You could also spend time with your pet playing or just having a good time. The whole point is to surround yourself with people you enjoy being around.
Laugh Out Loud
They say laughter is the best medicine. And it couldn’t be truer.
So what really happens when you laugh? Let’s find out.
- Your body releases feel-good chemicals called endorphins to your brain. Keep laughing and your brain keeps receiving more and more endorphins. And before you know it, your mood has brightened
- Laughing is like a workout. And after a good hearty laugh, you feel nicely relaxed
- In the process, your body produces more antibodies and T-cells
Try Relaxation Techniques
Another stress management option is trying relaxation techniques. And they include:
- Progressive muscle relaxation: you tense and relax each muscle in your body. You can start from your toes and work upwards or start from your head and work downwards. You tense each muscle for around five seconds and then you relax for 30 seconds and repeat the process
- Visualization: you form mental images and take your mind to a peaceful calm place or situation. Incorporate the sense of smell, sound, sight, and touch
- Autogenic relaxation: you repeat words or suggestions in your mind that may help you relax and reduce muscle tension
Relaxation techniques not only help relieve stress but they also help:
- Lower fatigue
- Slow your heart rate
- Slow your breathing rate
- Improve your digestion
- Improve quality sleep
- Suppress stress hormones
- Lower your blood pressure
- Enhance blood flow to major muscles
- Boost your concentration and mood
Physical activity and exercise help relieve stress. Also, as you exercise, your brain produces chemicals known as endorphins which act as natural pain killers
Therefore, sign up for aerobic exercises and you’ll be able to reduce tension, boost and make your mood stable, improve your sleep and self-esteem.
Other types of exercise to consider for your stress management efforts are:
- On the road activities: biking, skiing, running, jogging, among other outdoor activities as you breathe in the fresh air
- Team sports: football, basketball, soccer, and many more played with family, friends or colleagues
- Yoga: you combine a series of movements, deep breathing, and stationery postures
- Tai chi: similar to yoga. Tai Chi involves deep breathing and flowing body movements
- Kickboxing: kick stress out of your system with punches and kick movements in a disciplined way
Get a Massage
Stress doesn’t affect only your mind. Your muscles also undergo tension. They become stiff and may even feel painful. You can get a massage to help relax your body. You also stand to enjoy better sleep after a trip to the spa.
There are many massage techniques to choose from. Therefore, you may have to try them out and find out which one works for you.
So what will you go for? A Swedish massage, a deep tissue massage, or a hot stone massage, among others?
Other Ways to Relieve Stress
- Listen to music
- Go for a walk
- Take a long bath
- Light scented candles
- Work in your garden
- Watch a comedy show
- Spend time in nature
Over to You
You can’t avoid stress entirely. But you can relieve stress. And we’ve shown you how. Now it is your turn to practice them. Start with the stress management strategy that you prefer most. And incorporate the other ways as you go along. You will surely get stress relief.