The babysitter fell through, that major assignment went poorly, or you missed the deadline. The stress of life can get to you sometimes. However, don’t let the fear overwhelm you! Unchecked stress can lead to a variety of impacts on your health. If you’re stressed out, you have a higher risk of heart disease, muscle pain, chest pain, upset stomach, decreased sleep, and a handful of other struggles.
“Self-care” has emerged as a popular pop-culture phenomenon with some roots in real science. But, taking care of yourself means much more than bubble baths and face-masks. Here are a few healthy, inexpensive ways to “self-care” in the face of stress.
Exercise, Exercise, Exercise
When you feel your muscles get tense, body get stiff, and headaches start to firm, stretch them out with some exercise. Stretching is a great way to start getting loose, but going for a run, bike, or swim outdoors is the best of both worlds. It allows you to get some sunshine, which is excellent for your Vitamin D intake, and you can get some exercise with running or biking. Whichever way you choose to exercise, be sure to warm up and cool down appropriately and stay hydrated.
If you feel stressed out, try taking some deep breaths, meditate, or count to ten. Taking some time for yourself when you need it during the day is an essential part of keeping your mental health stable and resilient. If you have the time, upgrade your mental health game by taking ten or fifteen minutes to meditate on your thoughts. If you can’t seem to focus your feelings enough to meditate on your own, try finding an app, like Calm or Headspace, to help you in a guided meditation.
Don’t Be Afraid to Take Breaks
Life can get overwhelming. Sometimes, it might feel like you live your entire life on a deadline and can’t stop for a second. However, when you get overwhelmed, don’t be afraid to stop for a break. Taking five minutes to reflect, get a glass of water, and de-stress can work wonders for your motivation, stress, and quality of life. If you can’t spare the five minutes, take a slower walk to the bathroom, get up to grab a glass of water, or run to the kitchen for a snack. Your mental health is sure to thank you.
Taking a minute to watch a comedy routine, talk to your funny friend, or watch a comedy is a great way to feel instantly better, boost your morale, and keep your mental health on track. While it can seem like a small thing, laughing decreases the presence of stress hormones and releases serotonin (the chemical that makes you happy.) In case you weren’t sold on laughing just yet, laughing can lower blood pressure and dispel feelings of stress and anxiety.
Learn to Say No
A lot of the time, you can stress yourself out by overextending or trying to do too much. If you have a hard time with overextending, try sitting down and reflecting on the top five things that are important to you. If someone or some organization outside of the top five asks you to do something, reflect on it. Do you have the time, the motivation, or the energy to do what they ask? If not, give them a polite and firm “no thank you!” Avoiding commitments that you can’t meet can help keep you out of stressful situations in the first place.
Have any self-care recommendations? Want to learn more about similar health and fitness topics? Let us know by leaving a comment down below with your thoughts!