We all come across obstacles that create stressful days. Even bad hair days can leave our emotions in disarray. While taking a vacay is often a sought after remedy to alleviate stress, if you can’t get away, we’ve got 10 stress busters you can conveniently (and more economically) do at work or home.
Take time away from your stressors to meditate – a sure-fire way to relax and find peacefulness. Go to a quiet place, close your eyes, block out your surroundings, and breathe. The focus on breathing will steer you away from distracting thoughts while relaxing your mind and body. With a variety of meditation techniques available, it will be easy to find one that best suits your needs. When you are mentally relaxed, it is more difficult to get stressed out.
2. Take a Walk
Exercise, in any form, is a well-known way to reduce stress and lower stress hormones. Taking a walk can help you sort out your thoughts and steady your emotions. When you come up against a stressful day at work, go for a walk and enjoy the scenery along the way. Even a short jaunt will let you return to the office feeling recharged and relaxed.
3. Read: center yourself with words
Reading inspirational quotes and daily devotionals can quickly lift your spirits. Whether your book of choice is the Bible or another spiritual read, take a 10-minute break every day to tune in to its calming words. You can also take a 10-minute reading break to skim the comics for a laugh or lose yourself in a new best seller.
4. Journal for less stress
Expressing your feelings in a personal journal can help you release your emotions and frustrations on paper. Give yourself 10 minutes to freely write, jotting down any thoughts that come to mind within that time period. A few days later, look back on your journal entry to self-reflect on your thoughts for that day. What sticks out the most to you? What prompted your stress for that day? Do you notice a pattern? Is it preventative? If so, what are some solutions? Using the pen to express your thoughts and emotions can help you release your worries, vent your frustrations openly, and clearly identify problems and solutions through reflection.
5. Turn on the tunes
Music can help you get in touch with your emotions, whether it’s listening to an uplifting song, relaxing to smooth jazz, or relating to a song that describes exactly what you’re going through. What songs put a smile on your face? Think of a tune that makes you want to dance or brings back pleasant memories. Create a playlist of your favorite feel good music. Plug in your iPod, tune out the surrounding world and tune in to music that moves you. Even listening to only a couple of songs can improve your mood.
6. Dance away your blues
Now that you have selected your favorite tunes, it is time to de-stress through dance moves. Dancing is a fun form of exercise and stress management. There is no expertise or technique required; all you need is comfortable attire and good music. So after your next grueling day at work, come home, kick your shoes off, get loose, let your hair down, and release your worries. After a few tunes, you’ll find your mind cleared, and your body rejuvenated.
7. Stimulate Your Mind
Take your mind off your worries and refocus on a brain boosting activity. Puzzle games to keep on hand include the Rubik’s cube, crossword puzzles, riddles, scramble, and spider solitaire. These brain games provide easy entertainment as well as a sense of satisfaction when your focus is redirected on reaching a solution to a problem other than your own. Yes, these games can be addictive, so set your watch for 10 minutes; you can come back to your game of choice later in the day when you aren’t at work or in the midst of other must-dos.
8. Make a List
Writing goals and tasks down on paper at the beginning of the day can help keep your thoughts collected and your day focused. When you check off your tasks as you complete them, it decreases the chance for your day to end up in a frenzy. So take out 10 minutes in the morning to jot down small goals you want to accomplish. Whether it’s laundry, working out, cooking, or cleaning a particular room in the house, creating a list will allow you more control over your day because you’ll be organized and, thus, preventing potential stress.
9. Vent, vent and vent some more
Expressing frustrations and worries openly to a trusted friend, family member or a clergy member can provide instant stress relief. Holding things in often leads to more stress, so make the call to get things off your chest. Be sure to time yourself — and let your trusted ear know you’re giving yourself 10 minutes — to avoid your conversation from turning into a long drawn-out ordeal. Learn how to release quickly and move on, which can help you focus more on finding a solution than concentrating on the problem. Give yourself 10 minutes to vent, cry, laugh, or talk about your angst. When you confide your stresses in someone, you can hang up the phone feeling less burdened. If the 10-minute rule isn’t working for you, consider seeing a professional or finding a support group.
10. Exhale and Escape on a mini-vacation
Set aside 10 minutes for mental exhale from your cluttered thoughts and worries. Take your mind on a mini-vacation. Here’s a quick tip for a mental escape: Find your happy place by focusing on three things, such as places or memories that are special to you. Maybe it’s your favorite vacation spot, childhood memory, or a special person. Tune out distractions and focus on the details tied to those three things, such as any scents, emotions, sounds or feelings. Let your thoughts become vivid as you reminisce and mentally revisit places that make you smile and allow you to escape from reality. Although it’s only for a small portion of your day, this type of visualization will allow your mind to exhale and feel more relaxed.