15 Ways On How To Avoid Stress

15 Ways to Avoid Stress

Stress is no fun. It can really take over your life if you let it. As someone who has struggled with anxiety and high stress levels in the past, I know how tough it can be. The good news is there are lots of small things you can do each day to help avoid or reduce stress. I wanted to share what’s worked for me and some other ideas that could help you or your loved ones feel more relaxed.

1. Exercise

I know, I know – easier said than done. But getting in some physical activity really is one of the best things you can do for overall stress levels. Even just going for a 30 minute walk can make a difference. Exercise releases endorphins which boost your mood, and it helps get rid of built up nervous energy. So try to squeeze in even a little exercise when you can. It’s worth it!

2. Get out in nature

There’s just something so calming about being outdoors surrounded by trees, water, animals, etc. I like to sit outside in the mornings with my coffee or take my laptop to the park to get some work done. Exposure to nature lowers cortisol levels and helps you feel more relaxed. If you’re in a city, even just going to a park helps.

3. Try deep breathing

Seriously, this one is so simple but it works. When you feel yourself getting stressed or anxious, take 5-10 minutes to focus on deep, slow breaths. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Let your belly expand as you inhale. This signals your nervous system to calm down. Apps like Calm have great guided breathing exercises too.

4. Take regular breaks

It’s easy to get sucked into work or chores and feel overwhelmed trying to get it all done. But giving your mind little breaks helps refresh you and keeps stress from building up. Even if it’s just 5 minutes to walk around or stare out the window, it makes a difference. Set a timer to remind yourself to take a breather every hour or so. Your body and mind will thank you!

5. Do things you enjoy

Make time for fun hobbies and activities that you find relaxing. Read a good book, cook a nice meal, work on DIY projects, garden, hang with friends – whatever recharges you. Schedule this time so it actually happens, rather than letting chores take over all your time off. Protecting your leisure and fun time is crucial for avoiding burnout.

6. Try meditation

Meditation and mindfulness help train your brain to stay focused in the present moment rather than worrying about the future or dwelling on the past. Just 5-10 minutes a day can dramatically lower anxiety levels. It may feel silly at first but stick with it – the benefits are so worth it. There are tons of free apps like Headspace that provide guided meditations.

7. Cut back on stimulants

Too much caffeine, sugar, energy drinks, etc can spike your cortisol levels and leave you feeling wired and tense. Try swapping out some of your coffee for herbal tea (I love chamomile) and limiting high sugar foods. Your energy levels may dip at first but will become more stable over time. Stay hydrated with plenty of water too!

8. Listen to music

Throw on your favorite playlist or tune into a streaming station you love. Music has an incredible ability to change our mood and outlook. Upbeat songs can give you an energizing boost while slower instrumentals can promote deep relaxation. Keep music handy for giving your mind a break or lifting your spirits anytime.

9. Laugh it off

Yep, laughter really is great medicine when it comes to stress. Watch a funny show, play with a silly pet, scroll through meme accounts, hang with your most hilarious friend – whatever gets you giggling. Laughter releases feel-good endorphins, relieves tension, and helps put things back into perspective. Maintain your sense of humor when you can!

10. Get a massage

Treat yourself to a professional massage or just ask your significant other for a quick back rub. Physical touch releases oxytocin which counters the effects of cortisol. Even light pressure can help relax muscles, increase circulation and leave you feeling blissful. Can’t swing a spa trip? Try a DIY acupressure mat for trigger point therapy at home.

11. Practice gratitude

Stress often stems from feeling overwhelmed by obligations or focusing only on problems rather than blessings. Combat this by making gratitude part of your routine. Write down a few things you’re grateful for each morning, thank people more often, or keep a gratitude journal. This shifts your mindset to appreciate what you have rather than stress about what you lack.

12. Set boundaries

Getting over-committed is a surefire way to send your stress through the roof. That’s why setting healthy boundaries with your time is key. Learn to say no to things that don’t really matter to you. Be realistic about what you can handle when taking on projects. Speak up about your limits rather than letting people pile on more than you want.

13. Unplug regularly

We’re constantly bombarded by emails, texts, notifications, etc these days. All this info overload keeps our minds in a state of constant stress. Make time each day to completely unplug from digital devices and give your brain a break. Enjoy some tech-free time to simply relax and recharge. You’ll feel way less frazzled.

14. Chat with a friend

Sometimes all it takes is venting your frustrations to a trusted friend who gets it. Letting those anxieties out rather than bottling them up makes a huge difference. Share what’s bothering you and ask them to just listen without judgment. Then return the favor next time they need to unload. Close relationships help us handle stress better.

15. Get professional help

Despite your best efforts, stress may still feel relentless. If it’s severely impacting your functioning, sleep, relationships or health, it’s worth seeking professional support. A good therapist can help uncover root causes of stress and teach coping techniques. Your doctor may also recommend anti-anxiety meds if needed. Take care of your mental health!