Most people lead busy lifestyles nowadays, with many chores and responsibilities they have to attend to.
If you frequently feel like you’ve become swamped with everything you have to do and have no time to unwind and relax, you’re not alone. Many people share the same experience. Excessive worrying is, unfortunately, quite a common complaint.
However, that doesn’t make it something normal. In fact, chronic stress can be detrimental to your physical and emotional well-being.
Although there’s no actual way to ban stress from your life for good, you can adopt several healthy habits and behaviours into your routine to help you diminish your daily stress levels. Reducing your anxiety levels is a work in progress, and you must be consistent with your habits to succeed.
Here are some factors you should consider when you’re looking to make your lifestyle stress-free.
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Get some fresh air
According to studies, enjoying quality time in nature improves relaxation, reduces muscle tension and lowers cortisol levels, a hormone associated with high stress, which is responsible for a decrease in immune function. However, when stressed, you might want nothing more than to stay home and shut yourself off from the world.
The simple thought of going outside can seem like too much when you’re low on energy. Yet, you must take the first step and try to go outside and get some fresh air.
Doing so also improves your physical well-being, making you more active. Exercise is one of the fundamental aspects of a healthy lifestyle, shown to have proven benefits on sleep quality, mood and overall health.
The benefits of mental wellness go beyond stress recovery and enter the area of improved concentration and focus, so you’ll be able to complete your daily tasks successfully.
The outdoors can also be a venue that allows you to meet with your friends or family and spend quality time together.
You might even have an opportunity to connect with the larger community.
Although everyone needs alone time occasionally, long-term isolation has detrimental effects on mental health and can exacerbate anxiety and overthinking.
We’re all familiar with the concept of comfort food, the dishes you eat when dealing with emotional stress to reduce uncomfortable feelings.
For many people, comfort foods have an added nostalgic element to them, a sentimental value associated with childhood. In other cases, however, comfort foods are also culture-specific.
When you’re feeling down, eating something your mind associates with a feeling of calm and relaxation can reduce your anxiety symptoms and help you unwind.
Cannabis seeds are one of the most well-known fully natural stress relievers. A highly nutritious addition to desserts and savoury meals, you can enjoy them in your morning oatmeal or yoghurt bowl, in a salad or sprinkled on your smoothie.
The seeds are an excellent source of plant-derived Omega 3 and 6, which promote optimal cardiovascular health, as well as a good source of proteins and several essential minerals and vitamins, including magnesium, iron, calcium and vitamin E.
When it comes to consuming cannabis the classical way, the white widow’s strain is highly potent, and you’ll feel relaxed almost immediately.
Chamomile is another herb with potential anxiety-reducing benefits due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
It might also contribute to regulating the activity of neurotransmitters associated with the production of dopamine and serotonin. Turmeric can help prevent cell damage and reduces oxidative stress. Green tea has similar effects.
It protects the nervous system through its elevated L-theanine content, which assists the brain and prevents the nerves from being over-excited.
And, of course, we can’t omit dark chocolate, known to contain flavonols that act as antioxidants and might even have neuroprotective effects.
They might also stimulate blood flow to the nervous system, enhancing cell-signalling activities. While more research is needed in order to uncover the full range of benefits these foods possess, there’s no harm in including them in your diet.
It might sound like a cliché, but meditation actually helps both your mind and body. Research suggests that practising mindfulness increases your ability to process information and may even slow down the effects of ageing on cognitive health.
Some studies have also shown that meditation might help improve immune function and help you sleep better.
And, of course, it can help you curb your anxiety levels when practised consistently. The best part is that it allows you to turn your focus inwards and calm your thoughts. Although it sounds relatively straightforward, finding inner peace right from the beginning can be difficult.
You should start with the simplest method, sitting somewhere quiet and where you feel comfortable. Remain aware of your thoughts, feelings and sensations but allow them to drift by. Clinging onto them is detrimental and might cause an increase in stress.
If you find it difficult to focus, you can do something that channels your attention in a single spot, such as touching beads, concentrating your attention on a particular object, such as a wall or a painting, or simply closing your eyes.
A hectic schedule usually means you’ll have less time to sleep. Many people are sleep deprived simply because they prioritise other activities over a good night’s rest.
It’s easy to think there’s no problem with skipping only one or two hours of sleep each night. However, over time this amount accumulates, creating significant sleep debt and chronic fatigue.
Adults should get eight hours of sleep each night in order to feel refreshed in the morning, while school-age children should get around ten hours of sleep every night to help their growth and development.
It’s easy to notice the symptoms of sleep deprivation. They include difficulty concentrating and altered mood in the form of heightened irritability, sadness and frustration.
If you’re struggling with anxiety or depression, being sleep-deprived can exacerbate symptoms.
Relaxation is one of the most important aspects of a healthy life. It can be challenging to break the pattern of chronic stress, but it’s very much worth it to have a better, more wholesome life.