Everyone must manage stress in all aspects of life. While dealing with some anxiety on a daily basis is a normal part of the human experience, problems arise when one fails to deal with nervousness in a healthy way and it becomes very difficult to deal with. Since it’s National Stress Awareness Month and the need to deal with stress is global, here are five tips you can include in your life to help you de-stress.
1. Learn and use breathing exercises
One of the simplest ways to dispel inner tension is to do breathing exercises. It can be completed in public or private spaces. All that matters is that you are in an environment that does not prevent you from focusing solely on your breathing. An example of a breathing exercise is the 4-7-8 technique. To do this exercise, after you have expelled all the air from your lungs, inhale through your nose for four seconds. Then hold your breath for seven seconds before exhaling through your mouth for eight seconds. Be sure to empty your lungs at the end of the cycle. Repeat these steps four times.
There is another practice to use it called box breathing. Also known as square breathing, box breathing begins with an exhalation that expels air into your body, followed by a four-second inhale. Then hold your breath for a count of four, and then exhale for a count of four. Finally, pause your movements and hold for four seconds. Repeat these steps three more times. As you do these actions, imagine a square and “draw” each line of the square with your eyes if they are open or in your mind if they are closed. By the time you’re finished, you should have a completed square with connected corners. Controlling your breathing will allow the rest of your body to relax and make you feel more moved.
2. Take Daily Walks
An individual’s daily physical activity level varies from person to person. Exercising for an hour a day, especially in a fully equipped gym, is not work for everyone. However, people need to move at least a little bit every day. One of the simple habits to include in your routine is to walk daily. These trips don’t need to take an hour or even 30 minutes. It can take anywhere from 10 to 15 minutes if that is best for you. As long as you can go outside or take a walk in a wide enough area inside, the length of the walk doesn’t matter. Moreover, this activity should be separate from other tasks. As in, don’t count walking to and from your car with groceries or steps to get to class as your daily walk. These trips should be the only ones that relieve your stress. These tours are for your well-being, and they are more important than anything else.
3. Stretching every morning
Instead of quickly starting your morning around where you are or working on tasks or projects, start the day by lengthening it. Just like walking, the number of stretches and the time a person spends doing them can be adjusted. Stretching every morning will make you feel better because it activates your parasympathetic nervous system and increases blood flow to your muscles. Implementing a stretching routine will alert your body that the day has begun and relieve any type of pain you’re experiencing from stress. For the most part, you only need a yoga mat or something that can act like one, like a blanket. Here are two resources with a list of possible morning stretches: Healthline and Bupa.
4. Plan time away from screens
It’s hard to imagine life without looking at a screen every day. Excessive screen time has been linked to stress, lack of sleep and other mental health issues, so avoiding it will improve your overall anxiety levels. However, whether it’s on a phone, computer, or tablet, avoiding screens for an entire day is practically impossible. However, you can find parts of your day to make time for something else. For at least 15 to 30 minutes each day, put your devices away and spend some time investing yourself in another activity. Some potential projects include reading, writing a diary, baking, cooking, cleaning, gardening, or sitting in silence. Take at least one break from everything that includes a screen. Planning for moments that don’t involve electronic devices allows you to focus your mind on comfortable thoughts and actions.
5. Start by saying “no” more often
Sometimes people get overwhelmed with stress because they put up with so much at once. Because of America’s “hustle culture” and the need for some to do more than they can manage, one can get oneself trapped by not setting the necessary boundaries. Your free time is precious. You should use it the way you want it without sacrificing your health or neglecting the time you need to de-stress each day. To help manage stress, do all of your tasks and decide which ones to complete and which ones aren’t important or okay to let go. Also, going forward, consider opportunities when they are presented to you before accepting or rejecting them. If you decide to take on the task, rest assured that it will not cause you any further anxiety.
Why is integrating de-stressing practices important
Incorporating these behaviors into your daily de-stressing routine will have a positive and lasting effect. These practices are important because they allow you to stay healthy, calm and more satisfied in life. Many people tend to dismiss small actions like these and try to push their stress aside, but you should always make sure to include habits that treat and reduce anxiety. We hope these tips are helpful and become things you start using.