As we roll into Fall, I’m reminded of the impact stress can have on a person, both mentally and physically.
I’m talking about Autumn anxiety. And whether you always seem to be a little more stressed out in October compared to the rest of the year or not, doing what you can to relieve stress and anxiety is always a good idea.
So, we’ve put our heads together and come up with a list of our 15 favorite ways to relieve stress and anxious feelings in the Fall and all throughout the year!
15 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress
Exercise is one of the most important things you can do to relieve stress. Putting physical stress on your body through exercise can relieve mental stress, as odd as that may seem. This is because getting your blood moving releases endorphins, which can boost your mood.
In fact, research shows that people who exercise regularly are less likely to experience anxiety than those who don’t.
This doesn’t mean you have to head to the gym 5 days a week (but if that’s your thing, go you!). A brisk walk, stretching mid-day, or doing some yoga poses to start the day all help.
#2 Eat well
What you eat can significantly impact how your feel mentally. If you find yourself reaching for high-fat, high-sugar foods for a temporary sense of relief, this may just add to your stress in the long run.
This is because things like chips, chocolate or cookies (really any refined carbs) can cause a spike in blood sugar. When your blood sugar crashes, this can bring on more stress and anxiety.
Instead, reach for a piece of fruit or a handful of nuts when the craving strikes. Better yet, check out these 5 steps to building a foundation for healthy eating.
#3 Start a journal
Sometimes, all it takes to relieve some of that stress and anxiety is to get it out. Don’t feel like saying things out loud? Write it down.
Each night, before bed, jot down what’s stressing you and then jot down some of the positives from the day.
#4 Listen to some music
Research shows that listening to music can be very relaxing. Slow-paced instrumental music is good for relaxation. It can even help lower blood pressure and heart rate, as well as your stress hormones.
Some music is better than others; classical, Celtic, Native American and Indian music can be particularly soothing. Nature sounds can also be very calming. There are a ton of videos on YouTube that you can access.
#5 Read a book
Reading can be a wonderful way to escape from the stress of everyday life. It can help you relax by lowering your heart rate and easing the tension in your muscles.
In fact, a study at the University of Sussex found that reading can reduce stress by up to 68%, so head to the library or your local bookstore.
#6 Get some sleep
Sometimes a good nap can really restart your mind and relieve stress. Often, if you’re not getting enough sleep, you may find it difficult to manage your stress.
That said, sometimes your stress might keep you up at night, so try a few of these tips to relax your mind and get some zzzzz.
#7 Love your lavender
Lavender essential oil is one of the most popular and versatile essential oils used in aromatherapy. And it’s well know for its ability to help you relax.
Research shows that even just breathing in the scent of lavender can reduce anxiety and improve mood. Put a packet under your pillow, brew some lavender tea, or try a lavender roll-on.
#8 Have a cup of tea
Skip your afternoon coffee or soda. While caffeine may give you a temporary pick-me-up, it may also cause your hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis to do somersaults. That’s your central stress response system.
Instead of coffee or energy drinks, try some caffeine-free herbal tea like green tea. Not only does green tea have way less caffeine, it also contains healthy antioxidants, and it has a calming effect on the nervous system.
For thousands of years, people have used meditation to for its stress management benefits.
There are many different forms of meditation you can try. Start by developing a mantra and repeating it in your mind, taking slow deep breaths as you do. Or, find a quiet spot, relax, and just be in the moment. Clear your mind, and again, breathe deep.
#10 Play with your pet
There is some truth to “Love is all you need, and a pet.”
Studies show that having a pet may help reduce stress. It’s true that your dog can feel your stress, but on the flip side, spending time playing or cuddling can also release oxytocin, the happy hormone, a brain chemical that promotes a positive mood.
#11 FInd a hobby
A hobby, be it knitting, painting, or stamp collecting, can work wonders to take your mind off the stressors. Things that require some focus are really good for helping you turn those stressors off.
#12 Talk to yourself
Most of us do this anyways, but think about what you’re actually saying.
The way you talk to yourself matters. Harsh self-criticism or self-doubt aren’t helpful. If you’re constantly thinking things like, “I don’t have time for this,” and “I can’t stand this,” you’ll inevitably stress yourself out.
#13 Cut out the stressful things in your life
Sometimes, the best way to relieve stress is to get rid of something that’s causing you stress.
Yes, we understand that this may be easier said than done, but it’s worth saying.
#14 Spend some time with a friend
Going to friends and family when you’re stressed can often help a bunch.
One study in particular found that, for women specifically, spending time with friends helps release oxytocin, a natural stress reliever.
#15 Have a hot bath
When you’re feeling stressed, there’s nothing quite like a hot bath to unwind. In a warm bath, your skin releases endorphins, which can help you manage those stressful feelings.
To make it even more soothing, add some epsom salts, essential oils like lavender, chamomile or jasmine, and don’t forget your hot cup of tea.
It’s time to De-stress
Stress can make you feel totally drained, give you headaches or body aches, keep you up at night or have a ton of other negative effects on your mind and body. And yet, it doesn’t seem like the world is going to stop producing stress-inducing challenges, at least not for the foreseeable future.
So, the next time you’re feeling a little overwhelmed, take a breath and use one of these tips to relieve stress and anxiety.