Stress—what a loaded word! It can mean so many different things, and many of us have our own personal definition of stress. However, one unifying factor is that if you’re feeling or experiencing stress, taking time to unwind is necessary for your well-being. Sometimes adding one more thing to your to-do list seems overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be! We’ve prepared a list of quick ways to help you unwind when you’re pressed for time.
Start your day in a grateful way. Spend 5 minutes each morning thinking of some things you’re thankful for. You can easily do this while you’re still in bed, stretching or preparing to get up!
Take a walk outside. This tried-and-true suggestion can help you clear your mind. Even in small doses, just breathing fresh air, feeling the solid earth beneath your feet, and gazing at the landscape can bring you back to your senses, leaving you feeling refreshed, steady and clear-headed.
Tense your tension. Do you hold stress in your shoulders, frequently furrow your brows, tighten your toes or clench your fists? Select the area of your body where you hold stress. Inhale and tense this area (for example, if it’s your forehead, wrinkle your forehead and furrow your brows) and inhale to the count of three. Next, release the tension while slowly exhaling to the count of four. Repeat as needed, or try other areas of your body in which you may hold stress.
Stretch! If you’re feeling mentally tense, reducing your physical tension can help! Start with this easy yoga sequence you can perform while sitting.
Try pursed-lipped breathing. If stress makes you feel short of breath, this exercise can help get more oxygen into your lungs and calm your breathing. With your mouth closed, breathe in slowly through your nose to the count of two. Purse your lips and slowly breathe out all of the oxygen from your lungs to the count of five (your lips should be pursed for the entire exhalation as if you were very slowly blowing out a candle).
Cuddle with your spouse, kids or pet. Whether it’s people or pets, physical interactions with those you love can release oxytocin, a feel-good hormone!
Curate the right playlist. Music can be a great mood booster! Put together an upbeat playlist to listen to during stressful times.
Perform a few minutes of deep “belly” breathing. Slow, deep breathing that extends into your lower abdomen can stimulate relaxation by reducing your heart rate and blood pressure, as well as help you feel calmer and more relaxed.
Practice mindfulness. Just taking even five minutes to sit quietly and follow your breath can help you feel less fragmented and more connected and balanced.
Take ten to tidy up! You’ll be amazed how much you can accomplish in 10 minutes. Studies show that clutter can make people more stressed. Pick an area of your home or workspace to declutter!
Go to bed an hour earlier. If you’re feeling irritable, a little extra sleep could really help!
Taking time each day to do simple activities that calm your body and mind is a powerful way to short-circuit stress, restore a sense of well-being and protect your health!