Today’s fast-paced, demanding culture causes many people to struggle with daily stress. Work, family responsibilities and household finances are parts of everyday life that frequently contribute to elevated stress levels. You may also be more vulnerable to stress due to factors like genetics, a lack of social support and your personality type.
Chronic stress is mentally and physically harmful, increasing your risk of developing health conditions such as heart disease, anxiety disorders and depression. Next time stress makes you feel overwhelming tension, try these tips.
1. Go Outside
Surrounding yourself with nature can restore and refresh your focus and attention. Being outside is naturally relaxing and can reduce your cortisol level, muscle tension and heart rate. The sights, sounds and smells of the natural world give your brain a break from stressors, relieving anxiety without medication.
2. Do a Digital Detox
While many people rely on computers and smartphones for work, using these devices too often can increase your stress levels. Checking for new emails, texts or social media updates multiple times throughout the day can become an addictive behavior. Too much screen time may also make it harder for you to get restful sleep, which can increase your stress levels. Designate specific times as tech-free hours during which you only do offline activities. You can install an app on your phone or computer to block specific websites where you know you tend to spend too much time.
3. Take a Mental Health Day
Making time for yourself is essential for stress relief. If work is a significant source of anxiety in your life, consider scheduling a day off work specifically to focus on self-care. This personal day isn’t for running errands, cleaning your house or going to the grocery store – it’s all about recharging by doing healthy activities that make you happy, such as:
- Going for a walk
- Listening to music
- Reading a good book
- Getting a massage
- Doing yoga
4. Practice Mindfulness
Mindfulness is any stress-reduction technique that keeps you grounded in the present moment. While meditation is the best-known form of mindfulness, there are other ways to gain focus and clarity, including controlled breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation and grounding techniques.
5. Spend Time With a Pet
Having a pet is one of the best ways to reduce stress. When you cuddle or play with your pet, your body releases hormones that can improve your mood. Studies show pet owners are less lonely and anxious, with better self-esteem and more life satisfaction. Taking care of a pet can also keep you more active and give you a sense of purpose.
6. Make Yourself Laugh
Laughter is the best medicine for stress relief. People who can find humor in everyday situations are more emotionally resilient and responsive to life’s challenges. Often, a hearty laugh provides an instant pick-me-up that helps relieve anxiety.
7. Set Boundaries
Assertiveness is one of the most valuable life skills you can cultivate. Learn how to politely decline requests when you are stressed. For example, tell your colleagues you are not available to respond after usual work hours. Then, use your free time to exercise, eat dinner with your family, read a book, indulge in a bath or any other activities that help you unwind.
Avoiding Stress, Anxiety and Burnout
Using alcohol and drugs can provide short-term relief from stress and anxiety, but a worsening substance use disorder will adversely affect every aspect of your well-being. When you’re ready to recover, Hemet Valley Recovery Center is here for you.
As the Inland Empire’s only hospital-based addiction treatment facility, we have specialty programs designed for people of all ages and backgrounds. Our clients have access to hospital-grade diagnostic services and treatment for co-occurring conditions. HVRC’s highly trained staff members will help you address addiction and other health problems in a safe, comfortable environment. Contact us to verify your insurance and learn more.