Most people experience stress and anxiety at some point in their lives. Especially right now, when so much is uncertain and our pre-existing concepts of routine have all been shaken, it’s easier than ever to fall into a cycle of anxiety.
Worry and stress are at an all-time high for many of us, and now is a better time than any to look for ways to cope with that. Stress and daily anxiety are not a life sentence. You can treat them with intentional life changes and mindful dedication to your mental health.
Here are a few ways you can start to reduce stress today.
1. Reduce caffeine intake.
Stimulants can increase anxiety, and caffeine is a common ingredient in many people’s daily diets. Everyone is different and can tolerate different amounts of caffeine.
Try to cut back and see if there is a noticeable change in how the body feels during the day. Going cold turkey may cause withdrawal, so anyone who depends on their daily kick may want to consider how they want to go about decreasing their consumption.
2. Adjust your sleep patterns.
Not getting enough sleep can be unhealthy and dangerous. There are many reasons why someone may not get enough sleep throughout the night. Sleep apnea can be a serious condition that prevents people from breathing properly while they are asleep.
Insomnia can keep people from falling and staying asleep at night. If either of these is suspected to be the issue, scheduling a doctor’s appointment is a good idea. Try to relax before bed with a soothing nighttime routine and go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. Experiment with different methods to figure out how to improve sleep.
3. Exercise regularly.
Regular exercise benefits people mentally and physically. People who suffer from depression often report improvements after they have been exercising for a few weeks. Stress hormones such as cortisol are lowered with regular exercise.
During a workout, endorphins are released that improve the mood and dampen pain. As a bonus, it also helps improve the quality of sleep, further fighting stress. One type of exercise that is being studied for its health benefits is yoga. It may help fight depression and enhance feelings of wellbeing and may also lower blood pressure and cortisol levels.
4. Socialize more.
This year especially has made socialization EXTRA difficult.
Feelings of loneliness have an incredibly negative impact on people’s wellbeing. Humans are social creatures and thrive when spending time with others. A support network of friends and family members is vital in combating things like depression, anxiety and stress.
Another great stress buster is laughter, and spending time with loved ones is a great opportunity to relive happy memories and share in-jokes. Laughter can even boost the immune system along with the mood. If it is not possible to be with people in person with all that’s going on, then call them or send fun text messages. Video chat. Get creative. It’s worth it for your mental health and for that of your loved ones!
5. Use relaxation techniques.
It can be hard to snatch a few moments to unwind after a long day. Try to spend at least some time every day doing something enjoyable. Meditation is a popular way to decompress by using mindfulness. There are different meditation techniques that can be tried, so if one does not seem to work then move on to another. Listening to soothing music or the sounds of nature is another way to relax.
Dealing with stress is not pleasant but using methods to reduce its effects can often be very effective. Do not ignore signs of stress, but instead remember that self-care is an important part of everyone’s lives.