We all deal with stress throughout our lives. Most of us deal with a certain amount of stress every single day. All that stress can really add up and result in sadness, diagnosable depression, and even health challenges.
The good news is that there is a lot of advice out there on how to reduce stress. The bad news is that some of that advice can be hard to follow. For example, meditating can be nearly impossible if you aren’t willing to make a commitment to learning the right way to do it, and there’s no way to know if you’re doing muscle relaxation techniques right unless a professional has walked you through it.
Not all stress-busting advice is so vague. There are some easy, actionable things you can do right now to get rid of some of the stress in your life.
Optimize Your Home
Whether you spend a lot of time at home or not, it should be a sanctuary where you can relax and unwind after a long day. Unfortunately, that’s not the case for everyone. For those who have cramped, dirty, or messy homes, walking through the front door can actually increase your stress instead of getting rid of it.
You can optimize your home life for stress-free living by cleaning up and keeping things clean. A few tips include:
- Clear out the clutter
- Avoid bringing unnecessary items into your home
- Set a cleaning schedule
- Divide cleaning duties among family members
- Have a plan for everyday items, like backpacks and keys
Don’t have a lot of time to keep things clean and tidy? There’s no shame in hiring a professional cleaner!
Go for a Walk Outside
Exercise is often touted as a great way to reduce stress, but what exactly does that mean? Fortunately, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to hit the gym and overexert yourself. Instead, go for a walk.
Any kind of walk works, but you can optimize the time you spend walking if you take a walk outside. Studies have shown that walking can lower stress levels, but spending time outside can lower stress too. Make a habit of going for a walk nearly every day, or simply head out the door when you’re feeling a little low. You’re sure to feel less stress if you do.
Get Together With a Friend
Friendships are important to our mental health at every age. If you’re feeling especially stressed, make a plan to get together with a friend.
You can do something thrilling, like plan a weekend getaway with your BFF, but it doesn’t have to be so grand. If you’re both busy, make a plan to grab coffee during lunch or grab a bite to eat after work. Even if you only spend an hour or so together, just talking to someone you care about can make you forget about your stress, and it helps you remember that there are more important things in life to think about.
Take a Nap
Sleep is important to our health, but getting the full eight hours of sleep we need to function optimally each and every night is nearly impossible for many of us. Instead of stressing about not getting enough sleep or not understanding how to optimize your sleep environment to get more shuteye, just take a nap!
There are many health benefits of napping, one of which is relieving stress. In many cases, those who struggle to fall asleep at night find it easier to fall asleep for a bit during the day, which will help you feel rested, rejuvenated, and more positive, even if your nights don’t always go so well.
Being creative is a great way to bust stress, but exactly what does that mean? If you don’t already have a creative endeavor you’re passionate about, it can be difficult to decide what being creative means to you.
Keep things simple and focus on art therapy for relieving stress by drawing or painting. Because you probably did a lot of drawing and painting when you were younger, it is something you are already familiar with.
In addition, you probably already have things like crayons, colored pencils, markers, water color paints, and more at home so you won’t have to invest a lot of money or spend too much time shopping at the local craft store.
Listen to the Right Kind of Music
Music is a great way to reduce stress, but that doesn’t mean all music is created equal. Although enjoyable to listen to, there are genres of music out there that can actually increase your blood pressure and stress.
Classical music is the best choice for reducing stress, but other types of instrumental music can work too. Try Celtic, Native American, or Indian music with a slow pace. Nature sounds and meditation music can also be great choices if you’re feeling particularly stressed.
Get a Hug
Busting stress often takes a little time. However, if you don’t have enough time to go for a walk or paint a masterpiece, you can still get rid of some of your stress in less than 60 seconds. All you have to do is find someone to give you a hug!
A hug can come from a partner, a child, or a friend. Let them know you’re feeling a bit stressed and ask if you can have a hug. You’ll enjoy a quick release of oxytocin and a reduction of the stress hormone norepinephrine, which can make you happier and feel less stressed. The person you’re hugging will enjoy the same benefits too!
There are countless ways to reduce stress in your life, but if you don’t have the time or the interest to learn new techniques, you aren’t out of luck. There are plenty of things you can do right now that are quick, easy, and just as effective as more generic ways to bust stress.