Five ways of reducing everyday stress

Recent world events have been troubling for many people, but let’s face it – modern life on its own can be quite stressful. Work, studies, parenthood, relationship troubles – we’ve all been there. Hell, most of us are there right now! So how can you prevent yourself from going under when life throws too many curve balls your way? It’s important to take the time for self-care regularly so that you can meet any challenges head on. Listed below are some popular methods for reducing everyday stress. Make a date with yourself to try at least one of these at least once a week, but preferably once a day. Some can even be done more than once a day if you put your mind to it.

Of course, if you feel completely overwhelmed, you may need to see a professional such as a therapist or a psychologist and get further advice on both short and long term options for treatment. It’s important to reach out for help when you need it, so don’t hold it all inside.

Have a bath

It may seem silly, but having a long, hot bath can be truly relaxing. Dim the lights, play some soothing music and add some bubbles or relaxing oils to the water for a real treat. You can even go all out and light a candle or two. Why not? Take at least half an hour, but preferably even longer for this chilled out experience and you may well find your worries melting away, at least temporarily. If at all possible, minimise distractions – lock the door, switch off your phone and leave it in another room, get someone else to watch the kids for an hour, etc. You want this to be 100% “me time” for you. Do this a couple of times a week for a while and you’re guaranteed an improvement in your mood.

Do some yoga

Don’t be put off by images of fit yoga babes and buff guys bending over backwards in ways you can’t even imagine. Yoga is not about being super flexible, but about improving your health and wellbeing. If there are any beginners’ yoga classes near you, start by doing one or two classes a week. Unless you’re already pretty fit and flexible, look out for calmer styles like Hatha, Iyengar, Yin and restorative. Vinyasa and Ashtanga yoga are very active, so suitable for those who want to get a good workout. If there are no classes near you – don’t despair. Youtube and the Internet are full of great free lessons for beginners that you can try in your own home. Even 10 minutes a day will greatly improve the way you feel both physically and mentally.

Spend more time outdoors

A possible explanation for why people in cities are more stressed out than our rural counterparts is the fact that we spend less time outdoors in nature. Sure, life in the city is far more fast-paced, but breathing fresh air and being surrounded by beautiful scenery is enough to give anyone a sense of calm. Most cities have parks, botanical gardens or even a beach where you can go and hang out for an hour or so a week. Of course, if you can afford the time and money to go on a day trip on the weekend, it’s worth investing in doing that periodically to get the best effect. If, however, life gets in the way, you’ll find that taking a walk somewhere relatively chilled will really help clear your mind. Those with a solely urban environment around them can get some benefit walking around at night when the streets are quiet. Sometimes just the act of walking can be enough.

If you’re feeling more ambitious, running or jogging is a wonderful way to stay fit and improve your mental capabilities (according to science). The “happy hormones” released after even a short run can really improve your mood. Just be sure to start slow if you’re new to running. There are many programmes you can find online that will tell you how to build up your stamina over time.

Complementary therapy

Massage and reflexology treatments are brilliant ways of giving yourself some time to relax, plus they feel great. Depending on where you are in the world, these may be either very cheap or beyond most people’s reach. If you live in one of the places where alternative therapies are usually expensive, look around for massage schools in your area. These often offer discounted or even free treatments so that their students can practice. If you’re lucky, you could be getting weekly treatments you could never have afforded otherwise. Students in such schools are always supervised, so it’s perfectly safe.

Do something nice for yourself

We all have some things that make us feel good. Whatever that is for you, why not make a weekly date and do this nice thing for yourself? Go see a show, have a piece of cake, go dancing – whatever it is that you can do to make yourself feel happy is worth doing for yourself. So often people are happy to give their loved ones the world but neglect helping themselves. So treat yourself with kindness. Nothing beats stress better.