If you're looking for easy steps to reduce stress, the good news is there are loads of things you can do to feel more relaxed. Stress can affect us both physically and mentally and the chances are it will leave you feeling worn out and ill - that's why it's important to take steps to reduce that stressed out feeling whenever you start to feel it coming on! Here are 7 easy steps to reduce stress in your life - try one or try them all!
1. Learn to Let Go
When you come home from work, do you relax, read a book or watch your favourite show, or head for an exercise class? Or do you stress out over what's happened that day, replaying the events of the day in your head over and over and analysing everything? One of the key causes of stress is not being able to let go - this is one of my favourite steps to reduce stress. Try to set yourself a time when you will totally switch off from work; if you need half an hour to analyse the day's events and worry about tomorrow then do it, but after that point, relax!
2. Have a Hot Bath
Your mum probably told you a hot bath was great for relaxation and she was right! When I feel stressed, a spot of pampering always makes me feel better. For the most relaxing bath, add a few drops of lavender oil (for relaxation) or rosemary oil (for mental clarity) and you'll feel better in no time.
3. Talk about It
They say a problem shared is a problem halved, so if there's something that's really stressing you out, why not ring a friend or family member and have a chat about it? Getting an outside perspective on your issue can often help it to seem more trivial, which means you'll spend less time stressing out over it.
For general day to day stress, you could hunt for a new job, or you could just try something as simple as meditation. Meditation has a whole host of positive effects on your mind and body, and just 10 minutes spent meditating each day relaxes your brain, reduces your body's production of stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol and can actually help you to be more imaginative and creative!
5. Get Enough Sleep
You know how there are some days when everything gets on top of you and you find yourself reaching for the caffeine and sugary snacks? I have days like those too; I think everyone does. They're usually the days where you've stayed up late the night before stressing or working on a project. Without enough sleep, your body is less able to cope well with stress, leaving you tired and cranky. Aim for 8-10 hours a night and you should find you're more able to relax and brush off the stresses of the day.
6. Turn off Technology
It's great that we're all connected 24/7 - you can video chat with friends across the world or keep in touch on Facebook. But sometimes all this connectivity can leave us feeling totally stressed out! Have you ever thought you might scream if your phone beeped just ONCE more? I know I have! Take some time out from technology every day.Put your phone on silent, turn off your laptop and ignore your emails. I like to designate the hour before I sleep as a no technology zone - the only thing that gets turned on is my Kindle, as I find reading before bedtime really relaxing!
7. Get Some Exercise
If you've been sitting cooped up in an office all day, a bit of exercise can really help your body to fight stress and will make sure you sleep well later! Whether it's a run around the park or a session at your local ice rink, an hour or two of exercise will ensure you take your mind off your worries and will definitely help you to feel less stressed!
These are my top 7 tips for reducing stress but there are loads more out there, and everyone has different techniques that work for them. What do you do to relax and unwind when you feel stressed?