Relieving Your Stress at Home
Stress is a natural part of life, often cropping up in small doses when we experience minor changes or challenges. In healthy doses, it can actually serve as a good motivator, pushing us to try harder and do better. However, when your stress levels are constantly high or go through the roof from a major life change or world event like COVID-19, it can take a toll on your mind, body, and even your relationships. Its far-reaching effects make it easy to feel overwhelmed, but there are actually a wide range of stress-relieving methods you can practice at home—without spending much, if any, money!
Here are 10 stress-relieving methods you can practice at home.
1. Video chat with your family and friends.
No matter what you’re going through, it’s important to have a reliable support system in the form of family or friends. Your support system can listen to you, encourage you, give you advice if you need it, or simply take your mind off of the issue you’re facing for a while—all of which can be incredibly helpful. While you may not be able to see them in person because of social distancing, you can still video chat with your loved ones for a little instant stress relief. As an added bonus, talking to your family and friends will also help combat the loneliness of staying at home during this time.
2. Try meditation or breathing exercises.
Meditation and breathing exercises are stress-relieving techniques that focus on building a sense of calm by focusing your attention on the present and your breathing patterns. These methods require practice, so they’re most beneficial as a daily routine, but breathing exercises are also helpful when you feel a sudden, overwhelming sense of anxiety. If you’d like help getting started, apps like Headspace provide guided meditation sessions for beginners. Headspace starts out free, but there’s a monthly or annual paid subscription to continue using it. Regardless, the app’s free portion provides a good introduction to meditation and helps you build it into a daily habit.
3. Cut down on your caffeine intake.
About 90% of Americans consume some form of caffeine daily, making it an essential part of getting through the day for millions of people. While caffeine will help you stay awake and focused, it also causes your body to release adrenaline, which is why drinking too much caffeine can make you jittery and anxious. When your stress levels are already up, it’s a good idea to cut back on caffeine or even switch to decaf. You might be surprised by how much it can help your daily anxiety levels.
4. Practice yoga.
By incorporating aspects of meditation and mindfulness into each workout, yoga builds on the stress-relieving abilities of exercise, which lowers the levels of stress hormones in your body and triggers the release of endorphins. Focusing on the yoga lesson and getting the movements right will distract you from your worries and help you feel accomplished and more relaxed. The many free classes online, such as Yoga with Adriene or Alo Yoga, make it easy to try workouts right at home without specialized equipment. Yoga has a wide range of difficulty levels, so you’ll be able to find a difficult, heart-pumping workout or a beginner’s lesson.
5. Limit your device usage.
Technology connects you to other people and even contains genuinely useful tools for stress relief, but it can also contribute to your stress. If you notice that receiving constant notifications or seeing news about COVID-19 on your phone is adding to your stress, limit the amount of time you spend on your various devices. Going tech-free isn’t always tenable for the entire day, especially if you’re working remotely, but schedule a time each day where you can silence and put aside all of your technology. It’s simple, but it’s surprisingly refreshing and freeing!
6. Take care of yourself.
When you’re exhausted, sick, or suspect something’s wrong with your health, your anxiety is likely to spike. As a result, you should do what you can to take care of your health. Make sure you get enough sleep, eat a healthy diet, and visit your doctors and dentist for regular evaluations. Your oral health can have a huge impact on your overall health, so treat your oral hygiene as an essential part of maintaining your overall health by flossing and using a total-care mouthwash at least once a day and brushing your teeth for two minutes twice a day.
7. Make time for a relaxing hobby.
It’s easy to fill up all your time with necessary tasks, especially when life is crazy. Even if you’re trying to juggle teleworking and having the kids at home due to social distancing orders squirrel away at least a few minutes for yourself every day so you can practice a relaxing hobby like reading crafting gardening or even watching your favorite TV show. Taking just a few minutes to focus on an enjoyable activity can help the stress melt away, leaving you feeling refreshed.
8. Play with a pet.
If you have a pet, spend time playing or cuddling with them. Not only does this give your four-legged family member the attention and activity they need, but it’s proven to help reduce anxiety, depression, and loneliness. If you don’t have a pet of your own, you could consider adopting or fostering.
9. Reduce sources of stress.
While it’s impossible and unhealthy to cut all sources of stress from your life—after all, there are healthy amounts and causes of stress—it’s a good idea to take a hard look at activities and situations that regularly cause you stress. Reduce or eliminate sources of unhealthy stress by learning to say no to activities or obligations you know will add unnecessary stress to your life. This is often difficult, but it can feel like a weight has been lifted off your shoulders.
10. Let yourself have fun.
Finding quiet time to yourself is important, but it’s equally important to have fun and enjoy a little laughter. Studies reveal that laughter has a surprising number of short- and long-term benefits; it causes your body to release endorphins, improves your mood, relieves your stress response, and more. So watch a funny TV show or comedy sketch, play games with your family, or have a good laugh with a friend on the phone! The resulting light, happy feeling won’t disappear as soon as you’re done laughing; it’ll stick around.
Finding stress relief methods that work for you might take a little experimenting, and some methods take practice and regular use before you can reap the full benefits, but there are plenty of options you can try at home. While no one can eliminate stress completely, finding stress-relieving methods that work for you will help you feel lighter and happier as you take on each new day.