The simplest way to relieve stress is to relax. Learn to take a day off every now and then. Do something you’ve been wanting to do, or been meaning to do, but never found the time for. The most important thing is to make time for yourself.
Here are some quick and easy ways to relax:
- Do something with your hands. There are many options here that include gardening, arts and crafts, or baking. “Creative therapy” can be drawing, painting, writing, sculpting, or playing music. Research shows that doing things with your hands helps induce a relaxing state.
- Find a quiet place and read. Go pick up the latest John Grisham novel and find a quiet spot to indulge in some lighthearted reading. This can be a great opportunity to explore a new place as well – maybe a room in the house that you rarely use or a bench at a nearby park.
- Exercise. Go for a light jog around the block or walk your dog. Play frisbee with the kids or swim a lap at the pool. Exercise doesn’t have to be part of a strict regiment in order to be fun, and it is always beneficial to your health. Mild exercise during the day can relieve problems with insomnia.
- Take a nap. It doesn’t have to be too long; anything less than an hour will probably do the trick. Simply close your eyes and allow yourself to drift off. You’ll be surprised at how refreshed you feel upon waking up.
- Spend time with loved ones. Research shows that people without social networks and friends often feel lonely, but often won’t admit it. Being lonely can be a form of stress, as well as not having anyone to vent to. Feeling overwhelmed? Call up an old friend for a chat. You don’t have to talk about your problems if you don’t want to, but even knowing that there is an outlet makes a huge difference.
- Laugh. Rent a comedy, grab some popcorn, and relax on the couch. Laughing has and always will be a great source of therapy. Laughter can trigger healthy physical changes in the body and help you bond with other people.
- Do yoga/meditation. Nothing like a few stretches and mindfulness to induce your body into a relaxed state. For tips on how yoga can reduce stress and make you a happier and healthier person, visit here.
- Get a massage. Release the tension from your body – your mind will thank you too.
- Listen to music. The next time you have chores or errands to do, put on some music. Soothing music can trigger the relaxation response, which is the counter-part to the fight-or-flight response mentioned in a previous post. During the relaxation response, your blood pressure, heart rate, digestive functioning, and hormonal levels go back to normal.
- Treat yourself to something. Go shopping, have an ice cream cone, or buy something you’ve been eying for a long time.