Are you looking to pick up some zen habits, embrace your inner buddha and live out your best life of tranquility? From practical tips like switching to non-alcoholic wine and other alcohol-free beverages to more philosophical practices like learning to “go with the flow,” here are thirteen ways you can live a stress-free lifestyle.
1) Get Enough Sleep
You read this on every list about mental health and stress reduction for a good reason. Because you’re still not doing it! The hard truth is most people need around eight hours of sleep per night. Make it happen by setting a bedtime and making your bedroom a sanctuary. Keep the lights low and the temperature cool, and disconnect from electronics screens at least 30 minutes before sleep.
You don’t have to run a marathon or lift weights like The Rock to reap the stress-reducing benefits of exercise. As little as 30 minutes of aerobic activity three to five times per week can help. If you can’t get to the gym, take a brisk walk around your neighborhood or try an at-home workout video.
3) Eat Healthily
Eating nutritious foods helps reduce stress by keeping your energy levels up and your mind clear. So when you’re feeling frazzled, reach for foods high in vitamins B and C, magnesium, and omega-3 fatty acids like salmon, leafy greens, nuts, and seeds. And don’t forget to stay hydrated by sipping on water throughout the day.
4) Spend Time Outdoors
Take a cue from nature and spend time outside every day. Being in the great outdoors has been shown to lower stress hormone levels, improve mood and boost overall well-being. The Japanese were onto something with their concept of shinrin-yoku or “forest bathing,” which researchers are investigating as a potential therapy for our modern stressors.
5) Connect with Loved Ones
Spending time with loved ones is one of the best ways to reduce stress. Whether you have a weekly girls’ night or monthly family dinner, quality time with the people you care about can help lower your stress levels.
6) Ditch Bad Habits
Whether it’s smoking or binge drinking, bad habits can increase your stress levels. So if you want to live a healthier, less stressful life, kick those unhealthy habits to the curb. Grab some nicotine gum, stock up on your favorite non-alcoholic IPA and enjoy a night in without any vices.
7) Practice Mindfulness
One of the most effective stress-reduction techniques is mindfulness. But you’ve probably heard that before. Mindfulness is the practice of being present in the moment and can be done anywhere, anytime. Taking a few minutes each day to focus on your breath and be aware of your thoughts and surroundings can help you feel more calm and centered. If you’re new, try using meditation apps or attending a mindfulness-based stress reduction class.
8) Set Boundaries
If you’re always saying “yes” to everyone’s requests and needs, you leave no time for yourself. Learning to set boundaries is crucial for maintaining a healthy work-life balance and reducing stress. It can also be important in your personal life as well. If you’re finding it hard to say “no,” start small by setting limits on your availability and gradually work up to setting boundaries with colleagues, friends and family.
9) Laugh More
They say laughter is the best medicine and there’s some truth to that. Research shows that laughter can help reduce stress, fight anxiety and improve mood. So next time you feel overwhelmed, watch your favorite comedy or hang out with friends who make you laugh.
10) Do Something New
Change can be scary but also exhilarating. Whether it’s a new recipe for date night with your partner or trying a new hobby, breaking out of your comfort zone can help reduce stress. Embrace your adventurous side and sign up for that cooking class or rock climbing excursion you’ve wanted to try. Who knows? You might just find your new favorite hobby — and a new way to de-stress.
11) Be More Organized
A messy desk or cluttered living space can be a source of stress for some people. If you’re someone who feels more relaxed in an organized environment, take some time to declutter your space and make it a haven of peace and tranquility. And if you don’t know where to start, reach out and get professional help because, yes, there are people who will help you get your life together — and it’s totally worth it.
12) Don’t Procrastinate
Easier said than done, we know, but developing time management skills can help reduce stress. You only add to your stress levels if you’re constantly putting things off until the last minute. Instead, start by using the maxim that if it takes you five minutes or less to do something, do it now. Once you get into the habit of crossing things off your to-do list, you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment — and less stressed.
13) Get a Massage
If all else fails, get a massage! Studies show that massage may help reduce stress, anxiety and depression while also improving sleep quality. In recent years, there has been a surge in the popularity of massage, with more and more people opting for this stress-busting treatment.
Sessions can be as short as 30 minutes or as long as an hour and a half. There are a few different varieties, such as Swedish, deep tissue and hot stone. Find the right style of massage and the perfect masseuse for you and you’ll be on your way to a stress-free life. And don’t forget to check with your health insurance — some plans cover massage therapy!
Living Your Best Life … Stress-Free!
So there you have it. Thirteen tips to help you live a healthier, less stressful life. Now, all that’s left for you to do is pour yourself a glass of non-alcoholic rose, grab your favorite journal and start planning your stress-free lifestyle. Cheers!