Jobs, kids, social commitments – life can soon get on top of us. With so much to fit in, it’s no wonder we get a little stressed from time to time.
So, what’s the answer?
If you’re struggling to find a way to wind down, check out our list of 10 natural ways to destress for some inspiration.
1. Step outside & instantly feel calmer
When was the last time you stepped outside without purpose? Not to go to the shops, or walk the dog, but simply to take five? If you can’t remember, now’s your chance.
Go outside and find a quiet, natural location to sit, or lean – it could be a park bench or a farm fence. Fill your lungs with fresh air, and your eyes with the stunning surroundings.
You should feel a sense of serenity, and gratitude. It’s a time for you and you alone to connect with the world around you and escape the craziness for a while.
2. Ask yourself: why are you stressed?
Escaping for a while isn’t for everyone. If you’re more of a proactive person, you may prefer to sit down and contemplate why you’re actually feeling stressed at all.
Is it your job? Your partner? Is the commute getting you down? Or perhaps it’s bills? By facing up to the cause of your stress, you will be able to come up with solutions to solve it.
This will not only have a calming effect in itself, but also help you work towards preventing stress in the future.
If you want to be even more proactive, take a look at these 17 ways to keep calm in a stressful situation for future use.
3. The benefits of ‘me time’
We’ve all heard of ‘me time’, but how many of us actually get any?
Often we feel bad taking time out for ourselves, but it can be a wonderful way to de-stress naturally.
I challenge you to forget the clothes that could be getting ironed, or the dishes that could be getting washed one night a week. Instead, put your feet up, and do something you rarely get ‘time’ to do. It could be reading. It could be an episode of Desperate Housewives. It could be a bubble bath and a facemask – or perhaps you’ll go out and do all three?
Life is stressful, but it can also be fabulously fun. A little me-time once in a while will help you keep a good balance between the two.
Stuck for ideas? Check out Collette’s guide, how to the best bath ever for a real treat!
Still looking for that magic cure?
4. A poor diet could be making you stressed
We often speak of the importance of a good diet for our bodily health, but did you know the effects food can have on mental health too?
A poor diet will make you feel sluggish, fatigued and moody, whilst a nutritious one will leave you feeling energised and ready to take on anything.
Food is an amazingly powerful tool that we should use wisely. This means eating healthy, natural food when possible to power and fuel our days, but also indulging in chocolate and other treats when it takes our fancy.
Eat wisely, and you will be better equipped to cope in times of stress.
5. Can smiling really make you happy?
You may not feel like smiling, but it might just help you de-stress naturally.
The act of smiling itself is enough to release feel-good endorphins which relax the body and reduce stress levels.
The moral of the story?
Next time your feeling stressed, pause, and find something to smile about – even if it’s nothing at all. You’ll experience an improved mood almost instantly.
6. How exercise can help you manage stress
Stress can be due to many factors and also manifest itself in many different ways.
Perhaps stress makes you more emotional, or maybe you even experience bouts of anger?
However you’re feeling, there’s one thing that will almost always make you feel better – exercise.
Much like smiling, exercise releases ‘feel-good endorphins’ which help relieve stress and any other pent-up feelings you’re struggling with.
If you’ve been looking for inspiration to get fitter for ages, using exercise as a natural stress solution is it.
7. Reducing stress could be as simple as making a list
Stress is often seen as a negative – what if we tried looking at it differently?
Maybe you’re stressed because you’ve got a lot on your plate, or perhaps your eating habits are stressing you out.
Making a list, or a plan of action is the perfect way to use your stress for something productive moving forward.
This could be in the form of a traditional ‘to-do list’, a meal plan, or even a shopping list.
This technique particularly helps visual people manage stress, as it gives them something concrete to focus on and work towards.
Not feeling motivated? Check out Colleen’s 5 easy exercises (for lazy people) for some almost effortless ideas.
8. Get more sleep if you want to stress less
Do you wake up feeling groggy every morning? A lack of sleep can make every day an endless struggle – sounds pretty stressful, huh?
We often forget how important sleeping actually is. Those precious silent hours enable our bodies to recharge and recover, and get ready for the next day.
Sleep is a natural, miracle cure for all kinds of things, including stress.
It’s no myth – get at least 8 hours of sleep in a night and science says you’ll be less stressed.
9. Breathe – it’s not as bad as you think
If you’re a bit of a drama queen like me, you’ll often allow things to impact you much more than you should.
While it’s natural to get stressed, there’s really no point in getting stressed out about being stressed out – this only serves to fuel the cycle.
One of the best natural ways to reduce your stress levels is:
To breathe. Yes, it really is that simple. Take a few, deep breathes, filling your body up from head to toe with air, then exhale it all out.
This simple practice should help you put things into perspective, collect your thoughts and give you the dose of zen you’ve been looking for.
10. Do something for someone else
If you’re already feeling stressed, adding something else to your plate may seem like a strange suggestion. There is method to the madness, however.
Often stress is caused by us getting bogged down in our own lives. Shifting the focus onto those around you will not only give you chance to escape for a while, but also a fab feel-good factor.
Whether it’s something simple like holding the door open for a group of people, taking the neighbours dog for a walk, or visiting your Mum, being selfless is superb natural stress solution
Why not try a few of the ideas to see what relaxes you? Everyone is different so it’s important to find something that’s right for you.
I’m feeling less stressed already & hope you are too! What’s your favourite way to relax?