We all go through stress, it’s a natural part of life. As the exam season draws nearer, me and most of my friends are already starting to feel a bit stressed. There’s also so many different ways to help reduce stress. Some may work for you, some might not, but it’s all about trial and error.
When you’re writing, it makes you focus on one thing and one thing only. Whether you’re writing in a journal, writing a to-do list or creative writing. They all help you to focus your mind. Journals can help you pinpoint exactly what you’re stressed about, and it could help you to ‘let go’ when you write about it. Writing will also help you to think about it more logically, this means you can solve the problem easier.
To-do lists will also help you to organise yourself. If you’re, for example, stressed about uni, making a to-do list about what you need to do for uni this week will help. Making sure you know how to write a to-do list without stressing yourself out more is also vital – don’t overdo it. Creative writing can be an outlet which helps you both focus your mind, but to ‘input’ your stresses into something you like doing. If you dislike writing though, creative writing could also make you feel worse.
Meditation has been around for so long. It’s one of those things that people talk about a lot, and some people don’t believe it works, some do. I personally believe that deep breaths are important and a simple trick to help calm you. Although I dont have a full-on meditation practice. Setting aside 10-15 minutes a day can help to make you more mindful in your everyday life.
Everyone knows that exercise decreases stress levels. Chemicals are released in your body to make you happier during and after exercise. But, often you dont have the motivation to actually start exercising. Or at least I dont. It doesn’t have to be running or weight lifting though. You can take a brisk walk through the countryside or along the beach. Yoga is always a simple, non-strenuous exercise. Simple stretches can often help as well. Just to keep your body moving, your muscles active and your heart rate up.
There’s been so many adult colouring books coming onto the market in the past few years. Similar to writing, the action of colouring helps to focus your mind. Becoming mindful, similar to when meditating helps to calm you. You can purchase a book, or you can print off your own online. A quick Google or Pinterest search will bring up a variation. You can also just sketch or doodle freehand – although if you’re similar to me, you’ll get more stressed because you can’t draw what is in your head.
Whether it’s with a bath, next to your bed or just on the side, candles help to relax you. The soft light helps to calm you, in a similar way of watching the sunset. Often people use candles when meditating as focusing on the flame helps to calm the mind. Also, the excess of scents now enables you to pick a calming fragrance more personal to you.
Bath or Shower
A warm bath or shower helps to lower your heart-rate and gives you some time to think. This gives the sense of calm, as if your worries are washing away. Whenever I feel particularly stressed I make time for a hot shower before bed so I get to sleep a lot easier. It’s also always nice to fill a bath and read a book when you have time.
The act of pampering yourself and making time for yourself often helps you feel calmer and more in tune with yourself. Whether you spend 10 minutes massaging moisturiser onto your legs or only 2 minutes using hand cream. The simple act of trying to look after yourself will help.
Drinking warm drinks has been scientifically proven to help relax you due to lower cortisol levels. Cortisol is often known as the stress hormone. Tea in particular helps the most, although most caffeinated drinks help. This is probably why you crave that cup of coffee when you’re at work.
Research has suggested that chewing gum can help relieve anxiety and improve your overall mood. It’s also great at making you more alert, which is why it’s great around exam time. It’s also one of the most subtle methods to reduce stress. Instead of stretching or meditating in the middle of the office, just popping a stick of gum in your mouth seems a lot less out there.
Having a snack
If you’re like me, you’ll often reach for food whenever you’re stressed out. Foods full of magnesium, such as nuts can help to reduce cortisol levels in your body. A handful of nuts or seeds can not only curb your hunger, but it’s a healthy way to help de-stress. Fruit and veg are also healthy snacks to help relieve stress. Some of the most stress-busting foods are green leafy vegatables, blueberries and bananas.
Although dark chocolate is the best option, all chocolates have the ability to reduce cortisol levels. Grabbing a chocolate bar before that big exam or presentation can help calm your nerves.
De-Stress with StressFix
At the beginning of the year, some friends and I decided to create StressFix. StressFix is a personalised box, where you can pick which items you would like in it to help destress. It can be for yourself, but it also works as a gift. A lot of the methods of de-stressing I mentioned above are included in the box. We have candles, an exercise and meditation guide, notepad to write in, a blank logo design to colour in with pencils, hand lotion, chocolate, chewing gum, stress ball and tea.
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