Natural Ways to Reduce Stress
First things first: stress is a part of life. We know it's impossible to maintain a sunny outlook 100% of the time, and sometimes, you just need to scream into a pillow and do an interpretive dance to a Beyonce playlist to shake it all off.
Stress can wreak havoc on your body from head to toe, altering your mood, appetite, and physiology at large. We love your body, and we certainly don't want it to start wilting under pressure, so here are a few easy ways to take the edge off when the going gets tough.
Enjoying a few minutes of yoga is a mindful and meditative act in itself, but there are certain poses that are known to fight against stress specifically. You can start by laying flat on your back in corpse pose, with your arms by your sides, palms upturned, and legs shoulder-width apart, nice and loose. Breathe deeply and slowly into the belly, as opposed to shallowly into the lungs.
Then, for a light but satisfying stretch, place your hands and knees on the ground for cat pose, letting your back dip towards the ground with shoulders back, face towards the sky, and a nice open chest. Ahhhhhh.
Speaking openly about feelings is easy for some, but a significant challenge for others. As humans, our brains are wired to connect, and there is so much to be gained from telling a trusted friend or family member about what's bothering us.
Identifying your feelings as you recount them out loud, gaining new perspective as your listener weighs in, and allowing yourself to stop carrying your burden all by yourself will help turn the temperature down on your stressful simmering. Remember – you are never alone.
When we're alone and stressed out, our minds are free to wander to the darkest of places. If you don't have the energy to do a few minutes of yoga and can't vent to someone at the moment, put on a podcast you love and do an easy task as you listen.
That way, you'll rack up a small win (preparing a simple dinner, sweeping the floor, baking a yummy snack, folding laundry), and you'll have the soothing companionship of someone else's voice as you go.
Bright lights and loud noises can all exacerbate stress and irritation. If you're feeling overwhelmed, set the conditions for success by creating a relaxation nest that feels just right.
This works best at home. Put on comfortable clothing like sweats or pajamas, turn off your overhead lights in favor of lamps and/or candles, diffuse a pleasant and relaxing scent like lavender or vanilla, and put on a funny movie or TV show to take your mind off whatever is bothering you. It’s a wonderful little escape, giving you a gentle break from turning things over in your head.
We know stress can't be melted away in a day, but you can always keep these tips in mind when seas get stormy. Be kind to yourself, and remember, this too shall pass!