If you’ve been feeling stressed and overwhelmed lately, you are surely not alone. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), many Americans have experienced prolonged stress at elevated levels nearly a year into the pandemic. WIthout addressing your stress, it can have lasting and damaging physical and emotional effects on your body.
Here are 6 tips to help you unwind and de-stress:
- Do yoga: yoga is a great way to move your body. It’s a mind-body practice that combines physical poses with meditation and breathing to promote relaxation and manage your symptoms of anxiety and depression. Studies have shown that yoga can enhance your mood and overall sense of well-being.
- Practice mindful meditation: intrusive thoughts can be a large stressor and meditation could potentially help you alleviate some of that stress and anxiety. It may be difficult for beginners to lie still and completely clear your mind, so you could start off by meditating for a few minutes or following an audio guided meditation. The theory behind meditation is that by focusing on your breathing and thinking intentional thoughts, it can improve mental health and increase your body’s resilience to stressors.
- Call a family member or friend: social contact is great for stress management. Being able to talk about your problems and feelings can substantially elevate your mood. Studies have shown that having a strong support system reduces stress, improves your psychological well-being, and may even lengthen your lifespan.
- Write in your journal: journaling can serve as an escape; writing your thoughts and feelings down can feel cathartic and release your negative thoughts. It can improve your problem solving abilities by organizing your thoughts and feelings, setting your goals, and prioritizing all of your worries and concerns. Many health experts recommend journaling because it can improve your mental health and manage symptoms of anxiety and depression.
- Take a warm bath: soaking in warm water after a long day is a great way to relieve physical tension and relax your muscles. Add in your favorite scented bath bombs, epsom salts, or drops of essential oils such as lavender or eucalyptus to increase your relaxation factor.
- Go for a walk: a short stroll around your neighborhood can help you clear your mind and relieve stress. Research has shown that walking can release endorphins, which stimulates relaxation and improves your mood.