According to the American Psychological Association, about a third of adults in the United States suffer from what is known as extreme stress. This can be caused by many different factors, but it can also affect important aspects of your life, such as relationships, jobs, and health.
With the added stress of the coronavirus pandemic, staying well is more important than ever. Not taking care of yourself can have long-term effects that may impact you for decades to come.
Would you like to know more about being stress-free and reclaim your life for the better? Here are some tips on staying happy and staying healthy in an uncertain and anxious time.
1. Get Enough Sleep
Good sleep hygiene is a key factor in your overall health and wellbeing. Experts recommend getting an average of eight hours of sleep every night, but the amount of time you sleep is not the only way to practice developing sleep habits.
You should also try to form a nighttime routine that helps you to get to sleep as quickly as possible. For instance, try going to bed at the same time and waking up around the same time, even on the weekends. That way, you will not mess up your natural sleep cycle.
Try adding things to your nighttime ritual that will make it easier for you to fall asleep. You can invest in a quality set of sheets and pillowcases, or a weighted blanket to help alleviate anxiety.
If you have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep, you may suffer from a sleep disorder like insomnia. Try taking supplements like melatonin, or if nothing else works, even talk to your doctor about other solutions.
2. Take Time Off
If you find yourself working too much and not using your paid time off, you should try to take a day every once in a while. Rest days are a wonderful way to recharge, relax, and spend time with your family or get some chores done.
When you are wrapped up with work, school, or family life constantly, your brain may suffer from not getting a break. Taking time off can help you to reset your mental health so that you have the capacity to take care of everything.
You can even take a vacation if you have the resources. Travel and removing yourself from your environment can have a positive effect on your health. You can also have a great time away, either by yourself or with your family.
Whether it is taking a mental health day or an extended sabbatical, any amount of time off will do you some good. Try to think of things to do on your days off so that they do not go to waste.
3. Try Meditation
For those wondering how to stay stress-free in any environment, meditation may be the answer for you. Meditation involves sitting or laying down for long periods of time and focusing on your breathing to help with anxiety and stress.
You can learn to meditate by yourself or even use a cell phone application or video online. If you are a beginner at meditation, then it may be a better idea to start with guided sessions. This way, you can get the hang of it before branching out on your own.
Over time, regular meditation can improve your focus and attention span. This can be applied to other aspects of your life, such as work and school. You will be able to increase your productivity and absorb the material in a more efficient way.
Practicing meditation now can also have benefits for your future. Studies have shown that meditation can potentially reduce the development of diseases like Alzheimer’s.
4. Spend Time With Loved Ones
Everyone needs a support system, and it is important that you spend time with people that you love. Seeing other people can actually help you to create emotional bonds and produce chemicals that make you happy and fulfilled.
Even if you and your friends are busy, you should still try to make time for one another on a regular basis. Carving out time every week or month to get together with people you love can give you something to look forward to and enjoy.
Try to plan family outings to spend time with your spouse and children. This is especially valuable as your children get older, because they may not have as much time to spend with you when they have other activities or friends they want to see.
Some things you can do with your friends and family include:
- getting out in nature
- going to a sports event
- cooking together
- grabbing a meal
- going on vacation
5. Pick Up a Hobby
Hobbies are a wonderful way to relieve stress and give you something enjoyable to do that is separate from your other responsibilities. They can engage many different areas of your brain and keep them healthy.
You can also meet new people through your hobbies. Having friends who like to do the same things you do is a great way to avoid conflicts of interest or differing personalities.
Learning something new is also a great way to develop patience. If you are a beginner, you will no doubt need time and practice to achieve your goals for the hobby that you choose.
Having hobbies can also help to prevent you from engaging in other bad habits. For instance, if you like to get up on the weekends to take a hike, you may not want to go out drinking with your friends on a Friday or Saturday night.
6. Limit Screen Time
We all probably spend too much time on our cell phones, laptops, and tablets. With work and school going virtual for the most part due to the coronavirus, it is more important than ever to distance yourself from the screen when not working.
One of the biggest motivators for screen use is social media. Social media sites are designed to be addictive, so the more you scroll, the less likely you want to put down your device.
There are many applications you can download to your devices that will help you cut down on your screen time. You can set a certain amount of time you can use different apps or websites before they are blocked.
Ideally, you should find something else that can replace the use of screens in your life. You can pick up a book or a hobby like knitting so that your hands feel stimulated in the absence of your cell phone.
7. Travel More Often
Travel is a great way to discover new places with your family and friends. If you feel adventurous enough, you can even try to do some trips solo.
When you travel, you are sometimes put in situations that require problem-solving. This can actually help develop areas of your brain related to communication and navigating unfamiliar situations.
When you travel, you are also exposed to other cultures and different people from all over the world. You can learn about historical landmarks, local cuisine, and talk to natives to get a better understanding of the region.
Many people who travel find themselves staying happy and looking forward to their next trip. Taking time off can also help to boost your mood and your overall wellbeing.
8. Exercise Regularly
Aerobic exercise will help to get your heart pumping and burn calories. Doing cardio a few times a week can improve your heart and lung function, and also release hormones commonly known as “runner’s high.”
If you join a local gym, you can also go to classes for many different types of exercise. You will exercise more when you have something you look forward to, whether it be spinning or Zumba.
Along with cardio exercise, weight lifting can also have a positive effect on your health. Even if you do not want to bulk up, weight lifting can help tone your muscles and stimulate your body to burn more calories.
You should make time during your week to exercise. Exercising on a regular basis is great for staying healthy and developing a regimen that you can continue for the rest of your life.
9. Try Natural Medicine and Supplements
Sometimes if you feel off, you may need to take medicine or supplements to solve the problem. If you do not like pharmaceuticals, then there are many natural options to turn to that can still offer some benefit.
Cannabis is growing in popularity because it is all-natural and does not have the addictive properties of many drugs. Some of the differences between types of cannabinoids include the effects they have on the body and the brain. Many people use CBD for stress as well.
Sometimes health problems may be owed to nutrient deficiencies. If you think you may be nutrient deficient, ask your physician to get blood work done. Once you confirm, you can supplement your diet with capsules or powders.
10. Limit Procrastination
One of the most unique ways to relieve anxiety is to stop procrastinating. Procrastination often stems from the fear of failure or not being perfect. It is common for people with anxiety disorders.
To beat procrastination, you will need to change your habits and your mindset. You should also give yourself a reward when you complete tasks that you have been putting off. A reward system is a positive motivator and will help you feel more encouraged.
Make a to-do list that you use every day. The satisfaction of crossing items off of a list is often a great motivator to accomplish things that you need to get done. You can even divide larger projects into smaller chunks to complete.
You should also consider getting an accountability partner to help you with your procrastination. An accountability partner is a great way to share goals with each other, keep in touch with your goals, and have someone there to motivate you.
11. Change Up Your Diet
Sometimes diet can be a major contributor to how stressed or anxious you feel. When you eat foods with fewer nutrients, your body does not get enough to function at its best.
Having a healthy diet can help to prevent many different problems, and even fend off diabetes or heart disease. By changing your diet, you can rest easier knowing that you are taking the best care of your body that you can.
A good diet can also improve your mood and motivation. When you feel energized, you are more likely to exercise and do other activities that you enjoy.
If you do not know where to start, simply making better choices one at a time is a good idea. For instance, try swapping out simple carbohydrates for more fruits and vegetables.
12. Make Adjustments to Your Work Environment
School and work can be one of the biggest stressors. Since we spend so much time in a classroom or at our jobs, it is vital to ensure that you do not become more unhappy than you can handle.
If you feel overwhelmed, try divvying up or delegating your workload to others. You can try to talk to your supervisor about managing your time so that you do not overwork yourself.
Even though you may have a lot of work to get done, you should still find time to take breaks. For example, if you work in an office all day, try to make time to go outside and walk around.
You can also make adjustments to your office furniture. Try getting ergonomic models, so that your muscles are not stressed from sitting down for long periods of time.
Staying Well Does Not Have to Be Hard
You should not have to worry about excess stress in your life. Staying well and making positive changes can be beneficial to every aspect of your being, as well as lower stress exponentially.
Would you like to learn more about how to increase your well-being and feel better about yourself? Check out our blog for all of the information you will need.