Activities to Help Relieve Stress
Life is pretty hectic, right? What starts out as just a busy day, turns into a somewhat chaotic week, and before you know it, you realise stress has made itself your permanent bedfellow. Now, while some stress is actually good for you – in moderation that is – too much stress can become overwhelming and that brings with it wellbeing concerns.
You may find some comfort in knowing that there are a number of activities you can enjoy that have a positive impact on reducing stress – and these activities don’t take much time or effort.
A 5 Minute Fix…
These super quick, easy and accessible activities are just what you need to get your mind and body to relax.
- Get a hug; That’s right, grab your favourite person (with their consent, please) and give them a good old snuggle. A cuddle will give you (and your hug-buddy) a big old dose of oxytocin – affectionately known as the “love hormone”. That warm, fuzzy feeling you get is oxytocin, and it is responsible for reducing blood pressure and cortisol levels (amongst other things) making it an instant stress reliver.
- Play some feel good music; Listening to your favourite song release endorphins in the brain, which help to combat stress. The rhythm of the music also helps to regulate your heartbeat and breathing – which under stress can become irregular. You might benefit from making a playlist full of your favourite stress-busting songs to play when your stress levels are aggravated.
- Dance; Just as listening to a good song improves your mood, so does dancing along. Or just dancing to the music in your head. Dancing makes you feel good, so let loose, throw some shapes and have some fun. Clothes = optional.
- Meditate; to overly simplify an ancient art form, the purpose of meditation is to quite a busy mind by focusing on a single object, word or mantra. When your mind is full or racing, a moment of mindful meditation can be all you need to reduce stress.
- Breathe Deep; Find a comfortable seat (or lay down if you have the space) and take a long, controlled breath in through the nose, filling your lungs as much as you can. Gently hold the breath here for a couple of beats, and slowly breathe out through your mouth. You should feel your heartbeat begin to slow down, and tension will melt from your muscles as your body begins to relax. The more frequently you practice, the better you will see the results.
30 Minute Wonders
If you have a bit more time to yourself, use it wisely and do something you love that will help you relax and unwind.
- Read a book; Nothing works better to take your mind off of your stresses than getting lost in between the pages of a magical adventure (see also enthralling thriller, trashy romance, gritty crime, etc) novel. Indulging yourself in the lives and turmoils of fictional characters who you end up caring oh-so-deeply about will have you forgetting all about your own worries in no time.
- Exercise; Not only is exercise key for a healthy body and cardiovascular system, it also produces endorphins, which is your body’s natural remedy to stress. If you have plenty of energy to burn, running or jogging will give you a healthy endorphin hit. If you are looking for something more relaxing, try yoga or tai chi for similar effects.
- Have a bath; There are a few ingredients that make a bath the ideal stress reliever. First, the warm water can relieve any muscle tension and aches associated with stress. Secondly, the feeling of weightlessness as you float in the water can lower cortisol levels. And thirdly, throw in some delicious scented oils or bubble bath and let the aromatherapy work its magic. Add your own personal touches; candles, music, a face mask, and feel the stresses melt away.
The key to finding relief from stress is to find some moments of quiet each day for yourself. A little bit of self TLC goes a long way to improve your mental wellbeing.
Have a better day. x