Naturally, working days and busy schedules can leave us feeling stressed and burnt out.
If you’ve had a particularly demanding week, it may be hard for you to unwind. Stress not only affects us mentally, but physically as it’s symptoms include headaches, fatigue, sleeping problems and illness. And if left unchecked, long-term stress can also cause more serious health problems.
Thankfully, stress is something that’s fairly easy to get rid off. The ultimate way to beat stress is by taking time to look after yourself and to relax. And while we’re often caught up in the pressures of life, time, and expectations, we often forget to take care of ourselves.
Here are our top 5 easy ways to de-stress and get back to feeling your best.
It’s now well proven that exercise is instrumental in managing stress. Exercise is effective at reducing fatigue and improving cognitive function, which is helpful when your energy levels and concentration have been depleted by stress. Exercise also releases endorphins in your brain, which are natural mood boosters.
Meditation is perhaps the most effective stress relieving technique. If practiced for as few as 10 minutes each day, meditation can help to control stress, decrease anxiety and achieve relaxation. Rapid and shallow breathing is a common response to stress. Taking slow, deep breaths such as when meditating causes your body to relax. It helps to lower your heart rate and subsequent body functions, which is in turn, relaxing for your brain.
3. Go outside
Taking a moment to go outside, slow down and get some fresh air has been shown to induce relaxation, especially surrounded by a garden or nature. So try eating your lunch outside, or go for a short walk in the mornings.
4. Surround yourself with animals
Studies have shown that spending time with animals releases oxytocin, the feel-good hormone, and lowers blood pressure. If you don’t have any pets, visit a friend who does, or offer to walk a friend’s dog.
5. Keep a journal
Journaling helps us to unload our mental hard drives, as we write down and therefore get rid of any negative thoughts. It’s also been proven as an effective way to reduce anxiety. This makes journalling an excellent outlet for stress relief.
Massage helps to relax tight or painful muscles which are caused by stress. It enhances circulation and lowers stress levels. There are many different types of massage available, so find a relaxation massage that suits you.
7. Treat yourself
It’s always nice to treat yourself with food. Go out for dinner at your favourite restaurant, or choose foods that will benefit you mentally and physically. Raw cacao is a great option - it’s a natural mood booster, full of antioxidants, and delicious. This Cacao Brownie Balls recipe is a delicious example.
Instead of having a coffee, have a matcha latte. Matcha contains l-theanine, which has a relaxing effect. Our favourite matcha latte recipe is this Simple And Creamy Matcha Latte.