Stress is a part of life. It is how your body responds to different situations and stimuli, so it is normal for us to experience varying levels of stress. However, when stress levels are high on a regular basis or become unmanageable, it can be detrimental to your health. In fact, high levels of stress could have a negative effect on your reproductive system, your immune system, your mental health, your ability to sleep well, your digestive health and more. Some people take substantial steps to reduce stress such as changing careers or going on vacations but there are always less drastic approaches you can take to improve your wellbeing. Most of us don’t have the flexibility or the financial resources to just change careers or disappear for a few weeks to get our stress level back to normal levels.
This is where these approaches to stress management could come in handy before your health takes a huge hit:
IMPROVE YOUR SLEEP QUALITY BY CREATING NEW HABITS
The relationship between stress and sleep is a strange one. Stress can affect your quality of sleep but the quality and amount of sleep you get also affects your ability to cope with daily stressors. When we are stressed, it becomes harder to not only fall asleep but get adequate, quality sleep as well. What then happens is that our bodies and minds aren’t fully rested, making us susceptible to even more stress. Therefore, the only way to break this vicious cycle is to virtually force your body to get the sleep it needs. You do this by creating habits. Psychologists estimate that it takes a minimum 21 days of consistency to develop a new habit so you must have patience and discipline in the early stages. Create a comfortable sleeping environment that includes a dark room, ambient noise and an ideal temperature. Set a bedtime that gives you enough time to rest for approximately seven to nine hours each night, honour your bedtime and wake up at the same time every morning. You can also take a warm shower and read for a few minutes before retiring. Remember, the key is to create a routine for your body to recognize as this will make falling asleep much easier in the future. In the beginning stages, you can also employ the use mild sedatives to help induce sleep.
USE ESSENTIAL OILS
Essential oils are not only useful as sedatives; they are excellent stress relievers with many rave reviews and published studies verifying their effectiveness. Different scents affect your emotions and moods in various ways. For example, some aromas can make you feel more energetic while others may have a calming or pleasing effect that set you at ease almost immediately.
Lavender and chamomile are just two essential oils that many people find to be calming and both work great as mild sedatives as well.
Still, you may need to try a few different essential oils before you find one that is most relaxing to you.
GET PLENTY OF EXERCISE
Many people who are overwhelmed with stress fail to get an adequate amount of exercise each day. You may feel as though you do not have time in your busy schedule to exercise but exercise doesn’t mean you need to purchase a gym membership and spend extended times in a gym. In fact, a 30-minute walk every day is more than enough to benefit your mind and body by reducing your stress levels. Exercise triggers the natural production of endorphins, which are a type of happy hormone, helping to stabilize your mood and making you more upbeat and less grumpy. Regular exercise can also lead to increased alertness, less fatigue and better quality sleep.
You can also explore yoga which is another option that many stress sufferers use as a coping technique.
If you can’t get all your exercise in one go… You can always break it up. For example, instead of a 30-minute walk in the morning, you could do 10 minutes, then another 10 minutes at lunch and then a final 10 in the evening.
LEARN HOW TO MEDITATE
People have been meditating as a form of stress relief for thousands of years, and the reason for this practice’s longevity is simply because it works. You can begin meditating rather easily by downloading an app to your phone. Some apps have guided meditation sessions that are as short as five minutes. Once you get the hang of it, you can expand your meditation sessions as desired. This gives you a time to clear your mind, feel more centered, reduce stress and find joy in the present. Some people have a dedicated area of their home where they meditate regularly, such as a pillow on the floor in the corner of a quiet room.
However, this is not necessary.
You can meditate in any comfortable location, including while you are sitting in a car waiting for your child to get out of dance class or music lessons.
Remember that relieving stress is not something that you should do here and there. It is best to incorporate these activities into your daily routine. You will not only be happier, but much better at handling stressful situations when they arise.
Author Bio – Trysh Sutton is a wife, mother, strategic leader and teacher. She runs a website called Pure Path, which is a naturopathic wellness site that promotes healthy living and healing through the use of essential oils and sustainable living. You can follow her on social media to learn more about the benefits of essential oils, and healthy living practices.