The best ways to relieve stress naturally
Life can be stressful and even overwhelming for a lot of us these days. You got a day job, kids and their activities, a house that needs cleaning and shopping that needs doing, cooking, projects, and dinner with your inlaws -all needing your attention. And the list can go on and on leading to extreme stress.
It is then that it becomes imperative that you find simple and effective ways to reduce, overcome and manage stress. And even better if you can relieve all this stress naturally.
As more and more stuff piles up on your already long to-do list, you need to find ways to maintain a calm mind, balance, and sanity. If stress from life and the ever-increasing todos have you all wound up, its time to reign in the chaos and smooth out frayed nerves.
The good news though is that it is possible. You can beat stress. You can be in control and feel calm and balanced naturally.
It has never been more important to find ways to manage and relieve stress naturally than it is in the present fast-paced- filled -to -the brim lives we have nowadays.
The reason? The price of stress that piles on and goes on for too long is high. It is the price of health and even of ruined relationships.
In recent years the number of people suffering from anxiety and depression worldwide has risen. Stress can trigger mental health issues such as anxiety and depression.
The things you choose daily including eating a SAD diet, sometimes just because it is easier can contribute to mental health challenges. see more on diet and depression here and also here is a post with tips to manage anxiety naturally..
Stress can trigger mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. Therefore, managing stress early and having systems to prevent a catastrophic spiral into mental breakdown is an absolute necessity.
Excessive stress can also lower your immunity leaving you susceptible to infections. The excess cortisol may cause weight gain to grey hair and more.
And so all the more reason why stress needs to be curbed.
So, let’s dive in and see how we can relieve stress naturally.
How to relieve stress naturally.
How to relieve stress naturally.
Assess the situation and get to the root of the problem.
Get to the heart of the matter. Where is the stress coming from?
Is it from your work environment or work-related in general?
Are you overstretched? Too much to do too little time? The story of our, modern lives
Do you perhaps expect too much of yourself or others? Is it time to cut back on the expectations?
Is your house or office a wreck and needs cleaning and decluttering?
Are you in some toxic relationships?
Are you letting people stress you because it’s hard to say no?
What are you stressed about? What is the main stressor? Are there things you can do to eliminate the problem? People who can help. If it is a relationship, is it time to call it quits? That is if it is one you can eliminate.
Can some distance help?
If it is money struggle what else can you do to pay the debt, or find the cash to fix something that is broken?
Can you sell something? No, not your kidney. And Lord No, not your child either.
May be sold those clothes in the closet that you no longer wear.
So dig deep to know where the overwhelm is stemming from.
Start writing down a list of the things that are stressing you and you will have a clear picture of the situations that are causing the stress in your life.
Figure out what is within your control
You know the old saying that says change the things you can and accept those that you cant. I know. It is easier said than done. But that’s not to say we shouldn’t try. It is all a matter of mental fortitude.
You can start to let go. Let go of situations that are not within your power to change or control. And accept them and move on.
Eliminate the source of stress
After you identify the source of stress, you need to take steps-if at all possible, to get rid of it and get to sanity and calmness.
Armed with this knowledge, sit down and think which of those elements that are stressful you can cut off and eliminate.
How can you change things around?
Are there people whom you can stay away from?
If your job is stressful you can perhaps do something about that? Maybe not agree to take on so much?
Would it be worthwhile to find another job? Scary, sometimes, but closing one door can open a new one, perhaps an even a better opportunity.
Brainstorm how you can change things around to eliminate the stressful source.
Have some boundaries
Do you have relatives and friends riding roughshod on you, asking for favors of time and money, and more? That situation can have your stress levels skyrocketing. You can give so much of your time and stuff till you are stretched too thin and you have no time for what is important to you.
So if that is the case, you must step up and draw a line- no, not in the sand. a somewhat hard line. Strengthen your no backbone..
You need a hard line. A hard-line around some areas of your time is especially important to avoid being overwhelmed with all the to-dos.
It is important to stop the bloodsucking so you can find some peace as well.
Sometimes it’s best not to explain too much. Just say “No, I am not able to babysit for you this weekend.”, Or unfortunately, I have no money to spare at this time.” Simple and done! Okay, not that simple. But you are clever, you will find a way to say no.
Reframe your thoughts
There are times our brains run amok giving us negative self-talk. And it is true speaking negatively often enough creates negative patterns of thinking that become imprinted in your brain and you take it for the truth.
Challenge negative thoughts that steal your joy and get you stressed.
Thoughts like, ” my life sucks! Nothing goes right”. Reframe it and say you have some things that are going right, even if there are some areas that are not so great. Be positive and reframe it to something like, “Things will get better” “I can do this”I will find a way to overcome this situation. Things will work out eventually. ”
If you really give it thought, everything is not going wrong.
You may have great children, or even a great spouse, a great job, and maybe well, the sun is shining, right.? I am all for sunny days. If it is sunny I feel like all is well in my world.
And most of all, remind yourself that this too will pass and tomorrow will be a better day.
You are powerful! You can change the negative self-talk, the negative things you have told yourself over and over till you can’t see any difference.
Sometimes we get stressed over things that will not matter in the long run. Ask yourself if the thing you are stressed about right now will matter in five years from now. So tell your self, this too shall pass. Take a deep breath and carry on changing what is possible. Pray if you are a prayerful person. I do believe in the power of prayer. Give your worries to a higher power.
Another way of overcoming stress is empathizing. Say what? I know, here you are all stressed out and I am asking you to feel bad-sort of, for someone else?
Think about what that person who may be stressing you is going through.
Put yourself in their shoes. Maybe that driver who cut you off is trying to get a sick person to the hospital quick.
Give them the benefit of the doubt. Maybe they just were handed divorce papers. They may be going through a major upheaval in their lives.
I think I am empathetic, just not so much when I am driving but I am working on it. I find myself getting upset when I am driving and someone cuts me off. My blood boils.
Or I am trying to get somewhere in a hurry and the driver ahead of me is just crawling…Arrrgh!
Perhaps the someone who has annoyed you may be projecting because they have a problem they are dealing with. Just cut them some slack, and move on. You will feel better.
I try to reframe my thinking. I will instead say to myself, “well maybe they are lost and trying to find their exit or maybe the drive has driving anxiety or something like that. Then I feel kinder. Calmer.
who can you talk to about this?
It is good to have a few trusted people to talk to and bounce thoughts back and forth. Your go-to people when Stuff gets hard, and you are at that point… you are overwhelmed.
When your world is too hot to handle. It’s good to have them to talk to, to laugh with and lighten the load. So girl, take care of your friendships. Don’t get so caught up that you abandon great relationships. We are supposed to live in the community. Being all isolated makes life ten times worse.
Your friends may not help with the actual problem, but talking about it relieves some of the physical, mental effects of stress. Talking is a great stress reliever. Talking is therapeutic. Add some laughter and your mental health will feel so much better.
It s essential you have some truly trusted friends for whom you also do this type of favor. We are supposed to live in community. Nothing like having a sense of belonging. Reach out to people and call old and new friends. Keep that lunch date. You will be glad you did.
Seek mental health counseling
One of the most important self-care things you can do in the effort to reduce stress is seeking professional counseling.
A mental health specialist can guide you to see where change is needed, where you must accept the situation when to move on. This eases the stress.
Sometimes it takes someone who is impartial to show you where you may have a blind spot. And there may be things you are not comfortable sharing with friends or relatives and a counselor is one person you can tell and bare you soul to.
This alone helps you feel so much lighter, better. Mental health counseling is a necessary part of your health care needs, especially when life gets to be a pile of overwhelm and stress.
Going to counseling is a step towards healing, overcoming, managing stress, and having some mental balance.
Feed your mind and body well
If your body is lacking some vital nutrients, life’s stress is much harder to manage. You will feel more anxious.
Good nutrition is vital to your well being and mental health. It is especially important when you are going through a stressful situation.
During such times, your body is using all your glucose to pump out that adrenaline. Your mind is needing more glucose as you turn the situation over and over using excessive energy. You need energy. Stress is exhausting.
Maybe you are feeling overwhelmed and nervous because your sugar has dropped. Your brain requires a lot of glucose to process thoughts and help you untangle things.
Also if you are deficient in some nutrients like magnesium, you will get easily overwhelmed.
You get more nervous, and anxious if deficient of nutrient like magnesium because magnesium is a ‘smoother outer.’
It helps your nerves work better, smoothly and also helps you with sleep. Better sleep means clear thoughts. Less overwhelm.
Some other nutrients such as flavonoids and antioxidants in foods like blueberries have been shown to have neural protective effects on the brain as well as enhanced neural plasticity which helps the brain not to get overwhelmed by life stressors.
And may I add that if you are dieting you may be deficient in such nutrients. Many people are deficient in magnesium, which is sad because it is required for over 300 metabolic processes in the body.
If your diet is lacking, and especially if you have been eating the SAD diet for long, your emotional fortitude suffers along with your general health.
Your whole body needs those nutrients to give you mental resilience.
Your Mind needs the B vitamins, such as B6 which is important for nerve function as well. You need the proteins and carbs to make neural transmitters such as serotonin.
So if your serotonin production is deficient, you are likely to feel more stressed even suffer from anxiety and depression.
Little things will stress you because your nerves are just not communicating well all due to nutrient deficiency.
See this post about the most vital vitamins for your total health.
Practice meditation and mindfulness
Meditation and mindfulness can be very helpful in relieving stress.
Sit comfortably, close your eyes and breath deep in and out through your nose. In through the nose, deeply, out through the mouth. Some people are mouth breathers. so I have to specify how.
Just focus on your breathing and feel your abdomen move up and down. Focus on that.
Recite out loud or silently an affirming mantra such as “I am at peace and relaxed” or “I am worthy” or I am strong” or simply the good old “ohhm.”
Just keep breathing deeply as you repeat a phrase you have decided on.
Chanting the mantra while taking deep breaths will calm the brain. This tells the brain there is no danger and brings your stress level down as your heart rate also slows down.
Really look at the situation causing stress. Is it due to, unrealistic expectations, maybe?
Sometimes we get stressed because our expectations and the reality of what is possible are not in alignment.
What do you expect of those in your life? Are expecting too much o your spouse
You know how sometimes we ladies tend to think that we can mother a man into change.
Yes, we marry them thinking we can change them because I don’t why we want to marry a project.
Well, girl, he is a real person, not a craft, you cannot just change him or anyone unless they chose to change themselves. Let go of unrealistic expectations.
And that include many other people in your life or even some of the things you expect of yourself.
There are only 24 hours in a day. So pare down that to-do list. Keep it reasonable.
Dedicate some tech-free times
I understand if you are an online business owner. Being online is your bread and butter. But being online every hour and all hours can stress your mind out. Try and organize some tech-free times. Your brain needs to rest.
Do something different occasionally that does not involve technology. Maybe read a book? Something other than social media, or give your attention to a loved hobby for a few hours. That can be relaxing.
There is a good reason why sleep is vital for your health. Your brain does cleaning work, regeneration, processing building nerve connectivity consolidates long term memory and more during sleep.
Lack of sufficient sleep makes it even harder to remain resilient when life gets stressful. Do you know how they say a problem will look better in the morning? They are right. Without sufficient sleep, everything is much grimmer. You have no patience on two hours of sleep.
You are irritable. You feel awful so you want just to bite everyone’s heads off. So sleep on that problem.
Do everything within your power to get enough sleep every night. Do that and you will be pleasantly surprised to find that even when faced with stressful situations, you are able to handle them much better. You are more resilient and even keel.
Sleep is so important.
Keep up with that circadian rhythm, and all will flow and you be more likely to sail through tough situations well.
Related: How to Sleep Better at Night Naturally
Get a massage
Now, this is a great way to relieve stress. A massage relaxes tense muscles, lowers cortisol and even improves blood circulation leaving you feeling relaxed and at ease. If you are able to get a massage, it is a great way to relieve stress.
Strike the warrior pose. This immediately sends a powerful message to your brain. Doing yoga stretches your muscles relieving tension and improving blood flow, all helping you to feel calmer and in control.
Yoga has a profound effect on health. It is an effective way to bring your mind and body into alignment.
A great way to lose weight and tone your body, and it turns out research has found also a great way to relieve stress, enhance mood, and even combat anxiety and depression.
Yoga is calming and has even been shown to lower cortisol and blood pressure.
Some poses you can try include the Childs pose which stretches the muscles and eases the mind as it is a restful pose.
Or you can try a puppy pose which stretches and strengthens the body, opens the heart for better circulation. It improves flexibility as well as straightening the slouched shoulder where stress accumulates.
If you want to try this puppy dog pose check out this video
Journaling to distress
Journaling is a great way to relieve stress. Sometimes writing something down and pouring your feelings out on paper is very therapeutic. Through journaling, you can find clarity, and find out why something is bothering you.
Do a brain dump and pour it all on paper. Writing t all down offloads some of the weight about the situation that is weighing you down.
Sometimes you may find that journaling prompts can help guide your thoughts and lead you to identify where the problems are and how you feel. They give you a starting point. When things are foggy and you don’t know where to start to write about them Journaling prompts such as these can guide you.
They act as a guide and helps you dig deeper, and get clarity.
Don’t underestimate the power of gratitude in instilling joy in your life. And of course, if you are joyful, you tend to be less stressed. Write in that journal a few things you are grateful for right now.
Make it a habit and write once in the morning and once at night. Try writing three things every day that you are grateful for. This will change your outlook and things that tended to annoy and stress you can pale in comparison.
Take, for example, your partner. He or she may be doing things that annoy and stress you out. But if you change your focus on the things that he does that you are grateful for, that alone can help you appreciate them more and their annoying frustrating behavior may be easier to live with.
Writing about what you are grateful for is a good habit that will bring more joy to your life and lessen stress. Give it a try. Its another way of changing your mindset and rewiring your brain to be more positive.
Positivity in the form of gratitude practice can help you feel less stressed. Take for example all the dirty dishes in the sink, and the toys on the floor. Well, be grateful that you are blessed with children filling your life with mostly joy even if you get to do lots of cleaning.
And if you cant keep up with all the cleaning because mom life is busy doing what you can. just look around your house full of the noise of rambunctious kids and appreciate that. You are truly blessed
Blast the music up
You decide what you feel like right now. Would heart-pumping music help? If you are stressed about a breaker up, you may need to play “I am a Survivor,” for example.
So, will loud dancing music do it for you or do you want that nice slow, soothing music?
Sometimes good beats that make you want to get up an dance are just the thing that will drive that stress off. Pump it up and dance with your toddler, your dog or your spouse or even alone. Just dance.
Your heart will beat faster, and those endorphins will start circulating and before you know it you will feel at ease.
Dancing is a great way to relieve stress. You don’t have to be a good dancer. You just have to move.
Or do you just want to lay down and close your eyes and listen? Quiet soothing music, on the other hand, is great at soothing and quieting the mind.
That works too. Let that slow wafting music take you far away. Use visualization with this type of music to enhance the effect. Go to the beach, revisit that wonderful vacation spot. Let your mind wander.
Remember a happy time or just be. Just enjoy the music.
You will find your heart rate dropping and you feeling easy and less stressed. Music is good for the soul. Cliche but true.
Go outside and enjoy nature
First, being out in nature is calming to the mind. Take a walk outside. You can just stroll or turn it into a bit into a fast walk and get your heart and muscles working harder. Let that circulation pump up and bring more oxygen to your brain so you can see things clearly.
Stop and admire the marvel that is nature, and look at the trees, the flowers, and let your mind take in the scenery. This can help you clear your mind and soothe your soul.
Being outside can also be soothing to your skin especially if the weather is just slightly sunny and not scorching or too cold. Also, you get in that Vitamin D. Vitamin D is vital not only for your strong bones s well as for your immune health, hormonal, mental health and likely more. Research is still finding more areas of health whee vit D is needed.
A walk outside brings in the fresh air too, all good thing for a stressed mind.
Open your lungs up and inhale
. Exhale. Inhale deeply. Feel the stress leaving your body.
Let that clean air infuse your body with healing oxygen and feel the power of those endorphins.
Then before you know it you will be feeling more relaxed and at ease. And stress will be gone.
Be proactive and plan
In other words, be prepared. Think ahead. Plan for tomorrow, the next day or even further ahead.
Plan out long terms goals and plans. A planner is a key to keeping you organized so you know just what you need to do and accomplish into months weeks and days ahead. I love my planner because as an RN and a blogger life can get busy even mixed up. We don’t want that.
Make lists. Just a few well-prioritized items in order of importance. Pick two or three not the mile-long lists as those can be overwhelming
And I love my planner because it also provides a section to write goals and lists. And it is cute. Cute stationery motivates me.
Planning can be even something as simple as leaving early for appointments.
Doesn’t being late to an important appointment or even to work stress you out. It stresses me out.
If you have to be somewhere important that being late for will have a bad outcome, then give yourself sufficient time to get there Consider thing like traffic that can cause you to be late.
So now I leave early for work and I have enough time to relax before I have to clock in and start my day job.
And I have found that when I leave early to go to work, my heart rate is steady and I am not out of breath trying to get there on time and beating the clock. No need to summon all that cortisol and stress. Simply give yourself a head start. And find peace and calm.
This is an easy fix to beat stress.
Manage your time better. This is being aware of where your time goes. I know. Time just seems to fly when you have a lot to do and not enough time. And time really is never enough. Again planning and avoiding distractions is key.
So it helps to be mindful and make sure you are using your time to attend to the most important things that matter.
This goes along with planning. And being intentional with your time. It is stressful to be running around trying to finish a job on the due date.
When you have a deadline quickly approaching and you are running behind, the stress builds and builds. And while it may fuel you to work harder, this habit can bring health problems due to chronic stress. Having cortisol coursing through your body too often leads to eventual health issues, such as compromised immune health. This may be one way to kee the common cold away this winter. Of course, eating healthy and cleaning is crucial too.
Prioritize the list and a planned time dedicated to the tasks that rank high on your list. Avoid getting sidetracked by other things. Don’t even think about Facebook!
Vitamins and natural supplements
Sometimes even while we try to eat right, we can still fall short. You know life is just busy and cooking may not be possible all the time.
And then there is the changing times- foods that are genetically altered to suit storage and whatnot, and farmers using fertilizers that leave soils depleted of certain minerals like magnesium.
And then there is the way we mostly work indoors as opposed to how I think humans were fashioned to live – you know, mostly outdoors.
Now we spend all our times indoors in air-conditioned rooms, shivering even in the summer. Or is it just me? I
have a love-hate relationship with air conditioning.
I am trying to tell you that you may be deficient of vitamin D, magnesium, and maybe more. So you may need a multivitamin.
I know that I personally have had to have a vitamin D supplement- Dr’s orders. And I supplement with magnesium as well. No drs, orders. I just researched and I liked that I sleep better these days.
But ask your doctor to test and see what you may need to supplement.
If you are short on time you may not have time to plan healthy meals.
Or if you have a chronic illness or take meds regularly, your body may not use the vitamins in your food well and supplementing may be necessary.
Related: 13 Best Vitamins for Great Health
Take stock of your lifestyle choices and habits
Know that your food choices can help you combat stress. Choose balanced nutrition foods. Assess your life with insight. Are there things you can change that would prevent or eliminate some of the stressors? See sometimes our life choices are the banes of our lives. Lets take3 for example drinking.
Too much of this can ruin lives and relationships increasing tension in families.
It can make it hard to meet deadlines. It can make it hard to say organized.
Not to mention it depletes some of the most crucial vitamins for mental health such as thiamine, magnesium, B vitamins, and can lead to depression and exacerbate depression and anxiety.
I love essential oils. And there are many ways of using them to relieve stress. You can add oils such as Lavender to your bath. Infusing essential oils can help relieve stress.
There are a few essential oils to choose from to combat stress such as the following:
Some of my all-time favorites are Lavender, Lemon, Bergamot Sandalwood, geranium, ylang-ylang, orange, frankincense, rose, are all great at improving mood and lifting stress.
Reign in the clutter
I know I said don’t sweat the toys on the floor and dishes in the sink. But I need to say that a clean and orderly environment is calming to the mind. Try as much as possible to leave a few moments even just 30 minutes a day to pick up. Pick up as you go from one room to another and deliver to those rooms things that belong there.
If you are cooking clean as you cook so you don’t end up with a pile of dishes at the end.
Make your bed as soon as you wake up. The bed being the largest thing in a room, if not made, the whole room appears chaotic. Don’t you agree? And when made and piled high with pillows…aahh! Bliss! The whole room looks orderly and inviting.
If your office or home is overflowing with clutter. that can make you feel stressed. A clean orderly environment is soothing. So take time each day to put things where they need to be. Keep abit of order for your mental health.
Listen to nature sounds
Download nature sounds. There are many apps where you can listen to birds chirping, rain sounds, bubbling brooks, and all kinds of soothing sounds.
Nature sounds are so soothing and calming.
You can have nature sounds in the background as you work at the office or home or as a great way to ease you into sleep.
Use your senses
- . Chew gum
- use a fuzzy blanket
- sniff some essential oils, or peel and eat an orange or make some coffee
Using your five senses is another way to calm your mind.
Take five to be alone,
If stuck at the office and stress has hit you hard to take 5 minutes and find a little nook and destress, practice deep breathing.
Stretch. Stand up and stretch if you have been couped up in front of your desk for hours.
Drink some tea
Tea is so comforting. Tea is the drink you go fo when you want to slow things down and savor the moment.
Drink some soothing, or invigorating tea, Your choice! tea. Many teas will do though. This instantly lifts your mood. gree tea has caffeine which gives you energy and lifts your spirits and L-theanine which is soothing. But if caffeine makes you jittery you can still rep the soothing benefit of tea by going for decaff. The Just holding a mug of warm tea between your hands is soothing and calming.
Eat the frog
No, not literary.
If you are stressed about a project, then use that stress as fuel to energize some action. Get it out of the way- eat that frog and you will feel empowered and accomplished when it is all done. There. Don’t, you feel better already?
Read a good book
No, not just any book. Read a great book. Reading is my escape.
I find it is so relaxing when I find that amazing book that takes me on a journey or to an exotic place, or just lets me immerse myself in the life of someone else for a change instead of sitting there worrying about all the things I can’t change.
For the sake of stress relief, I would advise reading a good book that makes you a laugh.
A comedy is great. If you are into girly books I enjoyed books such as BridgetJones Diary or another great one by the same author, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason or you can simply watch the movies if that is your kind of joy. I’ve got to say anything Hugh Grant plays in Is my thing because he is just well, I think just a hunk! Talking about
Hughe Grant, Have you seen Four Weddings and a Funeral? OH my my, it is hilarious! I think I will watch that tonight.
Books are a great way to relieve stress. Try it.
But if you are the kind that likes to listen to books. Try Audible. I imagine that is great on trips and such. I have not tried it. Some day. A girl can dream.
Indulge in your favorite hobby
Hobbies are a great way to ease stress. If you have a stressful situation going on that is messing with your mind.
Change the focus by working on a favorite hobby such as gardening, knitting, crocheting, paper crafts,, drawing or painting, or even the simple art of coloring in an adult coloring book, photography, playing an instrument and many other hobbies can help you feel better and at ease as you go with the flow of the work that doesn’t call for much thinking.
You just enjoy the whole process.
Manage your money
Ain’t it the truth though! Money can really stress you out. And them bills! The darn things come by monthly as you have an appointment with them. Can you tell I hate bills? So many. But we have to be careful here.
Maybe we don’t need all those things we are paying for. Take credit card bills for example
. Maybe they can be eliminated by avoiding buying things you cant afford.
The trouble with dresses and makeup, all the cute things is that they are so cute and we all want to look lovely. But we must resist and desist. No unnecessary bills.
And those that are necessary, have a plan to pay. I am not the best at advising you on this. Math is not my thing. So if math is your thing, I want some advice
. I am not good at money management and paying bills but with the help of my ever diligent husband, I am trying.
First of paying them on time because if you don’t you incur fees, and that is money you can save, and avoid stress.
Simply mostly live within your means.
Laughter is the best medicine. As cliché as it is at least, it is for stress. It will flood your body with endorphins and your stress just gets poofed. You feel better and calmer and you may find you have renewed energy to tackle the things that are stressing you. See all the many other health benefits that I discuss in this post.
Yes, you can summon laughter on demand. That is the one good thing about our technology-filled life.
So many cat and other animal videos on youtube, or facebook.
Don’t get swallowed into the rabbit hole. Search for cat videos, or funny videos, and just laugh out loud for a while.
And stress will be gone. At least for now.
So start making the changes to streamline your life and overcome stress. Life should be lived joyously, not huffing and puffing feeling swallowed by a chaotic world. If stress is ruling your life, which of these ways to beat stress will you try?
Or tell me, how do you combat stress in your life?