Sadly, chronic stress and anxiety are becoming a normal occurrence within society these days.
With many finding it more and more difficult to manage the multiple demands in their lives and find stress relief.
In Australia alone, nearly 5 million people are feeling more stressed than ever due to a lack of sleep, work pressures, juggling too many things at once and even expectations set by social media, a Medibank health study revealed.
Prolonged stress not only causes us to feel awful, highly strung and on edge a lost of the time, but it can also severely damage our health in 3 ways.
This is why it is more important than ever to take back control and learn of ways to manage stress effectively.
In this article, I’ll be highlighting 10 stress relief tips to help you regain control over your life and reduce stress and anxiety symptoms during your day.
But firstly, let’s cover the basics so we’re all on the same page.
What is Stress?
Stress relates to the body’s reaction to a specific stimulus that requires an adjustment or response. This biological response can be physical, mental or emotional and can often cause physical or mental tension.
The stressing stimulus “stressor” can be external (within our surrounding environments, psychological or social) or internal (health, illness, etc).
For many, stress can be caused by things such as work demands, financial pressure, poor health, family conflicts, self-expectations and more.
BUT stress is not all bad.
As an example, acute stress can help us to perform at heightened levels for a short period of time or even respond more rapidly when in danger (eg. A car accident). However, exposing our bodies to stress over prolonged and extended periods of time creates havoc in our bodies (eg. Chronic stress).
Chronic stress can negatively impact our digestive system, sleep, weight and our reproductive systems. It can also lead to stress or emotional eating and deplete our systems over time.
We must decrease the stress in our bodies for optimal health. If you’d like to read more about how prolonged stress negatively impacts our health, you can click here.
So you’re probably thinking, “Ok great, thanks! But how do I actually get better at managing my stress!!”
I’d now love to dig deep into some stress relief tips for you guys, that you can use in your daily life to better overcome and manage you stress and/or anxiety symptoms.
10 Stress Relief Tips for Women
Here is a list of stress relief tips to help you cope more effectively with stress during the busyness of your week ahead.
1) Identify the Stressor
The first step to coping with stress is to identify what it is that is stressing you out.
- Your job
- Money frustrations
- Excessive exercise
- Pressure from others
- Family conflits
- Juggling too much at once, etc.
A little tip to remind yourself…
- Out of your control – there’s not point stressing yourself over it. If you can’t control it, learn to let it go.
- Within your control and you can change – take note of it and address it.
Yes, I know! Sometimes this is easier said than done. BUT, the more you train your brain to do this as a method of reflection, the more you’ll reduce the amount of stress you’re experiencing in your life.
I love this quote:
“Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” – Reinhold Niebuhr
Another way to flip your stressor into a positive is to ask yourself: “Is this something I can be grateful for?”
2) Choose How You Respond to the Stress
The second stress relief tip is better management of HOW YOU RESPOND to the stress in your life.
How do you typically respond to stress? Do you get:
- Passive aggressive?
- Super calm/?
The way that you respond to a stressful stimulus can be productive or destructive, as can the way you perceive the world around you.
If you constantly see yourself as being victimised or attacked, the emotions you feel in response to stress could act as a catalyst for even further stress and even create havoc to your body.
Whereas, if you take the same experience but perceive it as a chance to grow, learn and empower yourself, you’ll likely find yourself coping in a much more effective and productive way.
Our expectations on ourselves and our own perceptions of how urgent something is can heighten stress. In some circumstances it may not even be needed.
Sometimes, I find myself setting unachievable deadlines for my to-do list for no apparent reason. It’s almost like I like to be running around with a sense of urgency. In this case, my stress is all self-inflicted.
I’d love you to take a moment to reflect on how you typically respond to stress. Rather than stressing yourself out in response to a demanding situation, is there a better way you could respond?
- What can I do to feel better about this?
- How can I feel less stressed right now?
“Between stimulus and response there is a space, and in that space is the power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and freedom.”
3) Diaphragmatic Breathing for Stress Relief
Did you know that our breathing can actually lower the amount of stress hormones circling around our bodies?
Deep breathing can help us signal to our bodies that we are safe. You can follow the 4-7-8 rule which means a deep 4 second breath, hold for 7 seconds and exhale for 8 seconds.
To remind yourself to breathe deeply it can be handy to set times in your day to do it – eg. During morning meditation, at lunch, in the car home from work.
Deep breathing can activate our parasympathetic nervous system which is designed to bring our bodies back to a balanced and relaxed state. It is responsible for calming our bodies so we can rest, digest and repair.
This is why it can also be a great technique to help reduce anxiety symptoms naturally.
4) Meditation for Stress Relief
Meditation is an amazing technique you can introduce into your days as stress relief.
Meditation has a range of health benefits but from a stress perceptive it is particularly great because it can help us to:
- Train our mind and body to slow down
- Brings peace and calm to the mind
- Activate our parasympathetic nervous system (as mentioned above)
- You can picture stress or anxiety leaving your body through visualisation
Even just 5 minutes day can make an incredible difference to how you feel. It doesn’t need to be demanding or excessive, and no you don’t have to be spiritual or a religious person to master it.
I sure wasn’t!
If you’d love to learn more how you can use meditation to relieve stress & anxiety, ensure to sign up for our FREE 5-day “Journey to Calm” Course for Beginners:
5) Exercise Regularly (Low vs High Intensity)
Exercising regularly can be an important way to relieve stress as it can help to rid our bodies of “stress” energy.
Depending on what you prefer or find best for you, there are so many different exercises you can use for stress relief. When it comes to exercise, the truth is that we’re all individual.
The energy that comes when stressed can cause some to feel hyper and overly energetic. Whereas for others, it can make them feel lethargic and fatigued.
Using me as an example:
- I tend to feel ultra hyper, anxious or fidgety – so I feel a great NEED to get this energy out of my body by running or with some high intensity exercise. But, to prevent myself burning out or draining my energy from running off adrenaline over time, I also balance this high-intensity exercise with some restorative activities like meditation, yoga, stretching or walking.
If you generally prefer high intensity exercise to release stress (like I do), there is something you need to keep in mind: Too much high intensity exercise can actually be BAD!
To much high intensity exercise can actually lead to the release of cortisol (the stress hormone) into your body, due to the physical stress you’re putting it under.
Elevated cortisol in the body for long periods of time can cause disruptions to our menstrual cycles and how we burn fat in our bodies.
This is why it’s key to have balance! Mix things up.
Do some high intensity exercise during your week but also schedule time for restorative and low intensity activities such as meditation, yoga and walking.
6) Give Yourself Permission to Slow Down
Stress relief tip number 6 is to give yourself permission to slow down. This is so important, guys!!
As we mentioned above, slower forms of exercise like yoga, meditation, stretching and walking can help to balance out your parasympathetic nervous system.
- Related Article: Stress and Health | 3 Critical Ways Stress Affects Our Health
But some other ways you can slow down your mind and reduce stress is to pre-schedule down time during your week. Set a night aside which is for relaxation time.
As an example, here are some self care activities you can do:
- Have a bath one night a week
- Catch up with friends.
- Have a movie night
- Get outside. Immerse yourself in some nature and breathe in the fresh air and nourish your body with some Vitamin D.
- Schedule in white space in your calendar to break up your day
- Do at least one thing that makes you happy during your daily routine
- Practice gratitude each day – slow down and enjoy the present moment
- Place your legs against the wall (apparently highly calming and resorative)
- Establish a morning and bedtime routine that you love (eg. No phone at certain times)
- Get enough sleep each night – 7 – 9 hours.
It’s important to give yourself time to switch off rather than being go go go all the time….which in the long term, isn’t sustainable.
7) The Power of Whole food Nutrition
Stress is not just about what is going on outside of your body. It can also be influenced by what you put INSIDE your body too.
If you’re fuelling your body with crap (sugar and fatty foods), you’re not nourishing your body the way it needs to be nourished and will likely feel lethargic and unbalanced.
Let’s be completely blunt and honest…
Most of the highly processed junk foods you’re putting into your body these days aren’t real “food”. Sure it may taste good at the time… but it can have a significant negative impact on your mental and physical health long term.
This is why it’s so important to fuel your body with good whole food nutrients and plant-based ingredients.
For optimum functioning and performance, the USDA MyPlate guidelines recommend that we have 3-5 servings of vege and 2-4 servings of fruit every day and eat a variety off whole grain foods, fruits, and vegetables is the basis of healthy eating.
Eating a wide variety of nutritious plant-based whole foods helps our bodies get the levels of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients that we need for optimum health and performance.
For many of us though, when we feel stressed, our diets are almost the first thing to go out the door!!!
A super simple and great way to combat this and ensure that your body is getting the right level of nutrients every day is to take a simple and convenient whole food supplement such as these.
The Benefits of Taking a Whole food Supplement
They are vegan, gluten-free, non-GMO and great for pregnant or breast feeding mummas.
I take these babies twice a day because they contain 33 varieties of whole food nutrition, minerals, vitamins and antioxidants which help to combat the negative ways stress affects our health and bodies.
Scientifically proven health benefits include:
- Improved heart and cardiovascular health
- Strengthened Immune System & reduced severity of colds
- Maintains healthy DNA
- Antioxidants from fruits and vegetables fight oxidative stress (eg. from exercise) and help you maintain optimal health.
- Improved gum health
- Better skin health by increasing blood flow and skin oxygenation
And some other benefits people experience include:
- Decrease systemic inflammation
- Reduced cravings
- Increased energy
- A decrease in gut inflammation and IBS symptoms
- Improved digestion
- Healthier nails and hair
- Improved sleep
If you’d like to learn more about these capsules and how they can help you to cope with the negative impacts of stress on our bodies, click here.
When we fuel our bodies correctly, our bodies are able to repair themselves.
8) Reduce Caffeine and Sugar Intake
For those avid coffee drinkers out there, don’t worry! I’m not going to ask you to completely remove coffee from your diet. That would be like you telling me to remove chocolate from my life…
– it ain’t going to happen!
But something I did really want to point out is how too much caffeine and sugar can heighten our feelings of stress ands anxiety.
The reason for this is because caffeine blocks receptors in the brain that help us to slow down. It also activates our stress response causing us to release more adrenaline.
Sugar, on the other hand, causes peaks and troughs in our blood sugar levels. This can lead to short bursts of energy which feels awesome, but often causes us to hit a wall shortly after.
When it comes to coffee and sugar, I suggest reviewing how much coffee you are drinking each day.
Is it more than 3-4 cups?
If so, it may be time to cut back a bit, even just to 2-3 or maybe even just one in the morning.
Just some food for thought… or should I say.. coffee for thought? hehe.
9) Social Media Detox
Are you in desperate need of a social media cleanse or tech detox?
These days social media is also being considered a stressor for a lot of people. All that comparison, judging and social pressure. Sometimes we just don’t need it!
Here are some cool stress relief tips that can help you take back control over that device of yours:
1. Turn all your app notifications OFF
I can already hear some of you gasping in devastation:
- “OMG! What!”
- “But but but….”
No guys. Switch them off!
If you’re truly serious about feeling less stressed and scattered in your life, rip the band-aid off and get it done. Stop taunting and distracting your brain with meaningless alerts and vibrations. I promise you won’t look back!
Continuous phone and social media alerts can actually create additional stress that you honestly do not need in your life…especially not 24/7.
I did this a year or so ago, and my gosh the FREEDOM you feel!!
No more buzzing! No more alerts! No more pop-ups and text rushing across your screen with people’s demands.
People can wait for you… Empower yourself. Check your phone on your terms, not on the terms of everybody else.
2. Unfollow people who make you feel bad
If you’re following someone who is always posting photoshopped photos of themselves or are constantly negative, UNFOLLOW them.
You have the power over what comes up on your news feed. Follow people who inspire and motivate you or who make you feel good about yourself.
Some other stress relief tips relating to your phone:
3. Put airplane mode on when you don’t need it (eg. At work, sleeping)
4. Set time limits on your apps
5. Keep your phone away during meal times
6. Don’t bring your phone to bed with you – keep it out of your room
7. Avoid using your phone as the last thing you do before night / first thing in the morning
These can really help you to keep a clear head and also reduce distractions during your day.
10) Set Personal Boundaries / Choose your circle
Guys this is a biggie…. Remember that you’re important too.
Just like everyone else, you deserve to set boundaries and be protective of how you spend your time and energy.
Time is our most precious commodity, yet many of us are so willingly to waste it on meaningless sh** or giving it away to others without even having a second thought.
- Where do your priorities lie?
- Are you delegating things that someone else could do for you rather than you doing it ourself?
- Do you allow time for “you” and self-care during your week?
- Are you doing things that make you happy?
- How many things are you wasting your time on that don’t serve you?
To reduce stress, another great thing you can do is SIMPLIFY.
Simplify how you spend your time and how you live your life each day. Set boundaries for what you are and are not willing to do. Also be kind to yourself regarding what is achievable in a given day.
Break your to-do list into “Do, delegate, dump.”
- What do you need to DO for the day?
- Is there anything you can delegate to someone else?
- What can you dump? Is there a task that doesn’t need to be completed right now?
It’s time to get rid of the clutter around your mind and also in your environment.
That way you will be able to maintain focus on the things that are most important to you and of the highest priority to complete by the end of the day.
At the end of the day, feeling stressed and overloaded sucks!
I really hope that you can take away some of these stress relief tips to help you better manage stress and anxiety during your day.
Whilst you’re here, ensure to get your FREE copy of the Stress and Anxiety Relief Printable. That way you can keep this handy as a reference to help you throughout your journey.
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