The festive period is a time to be merry – but can sometimes leave us feeling stressed. From all of the shopping, cooking, decorating and visits to family, it’s difficult not to be overwhelmed. People show signs of stress differently, from your heart rate quickening to feelings of queasiness. However you experience stress, it’s not going to do any good for your general health. Stress can cause an increase in blood rate and headaches while also aggravating any existing conditions such as asthma. That’s why it’s important to have ways of dealing with it. Try some of our tips on how to keep your stress levels at a minimum.
1. Go for a Short Walk
Exercise is important for our overall health, and walking is a great way to get away from it all and relax. Getting out an about boosts your endorphins (the “happy” hormone) and in turn reduces stress hormones. Perhaps you have a favourite walk already. Somewhere in a green open space or by the beach is ideal for calming and relaxing.
2. Breathe Deeply
Deep breathing is something many of us feel silly doing at first. Actively taking the time to sit down and focus on our breathing can have a very relaxing effect so don’t knock it until you’ve tried it! Increasing your oxygen levels helps to calm us down and it only takes a few minutes of your time. Breathing exercises have been proven in medical research to aid some of the damage done by stress such as reducing heightened blood pressure.
3. Buy a Plant
If you don’t already have one, try getting a house plant. They have many health benefits such as purifying and hydrating air. As well as this, they can actually help to calm you down. Being around nature has a natural calming effect. Researchers proved that a group of people entering a room of plants had a greater reduction in blood pressure than those who didn’t experience any. If you’re interested in the full benefits of house plants, read our previous article.
4. Listen to Music
It has been shown time and time again that listening to classical music has a particularly soothing effect. It slows your heart rate, lowers blood pressure and can decrease levels of stress hormones in your body. If you are not a classical music lover, don’t worry; any music that you like and have fond memories of will help you to relax. Perhaps you have a favourite tune from your childhood or dancing days. You will find your fond memories and feelings of happiness coming back to you in no time.
Repetitive motions can soothe you and reduce anxiety. This includes crafting such as knitting and painting. Getting creative is a great way to express yourself and relieve stress. You don’t have to be a master craftsman to get started on a creative project. You can start with something simple – remember this is something to help you to reduce stress so don’t challenge yourself too much!
Just like crafting, baking is something that requires a lot of methodical motions. Kneading dough or whisking eggs can have a calming and meditative quality. Many people such as Mary Berry from Great British Bake Off, swear that baking has changed their lives for the better. Baking can be seen as a kind of therapy which reduces anxiety and stimulates endorphins. If you’re interested in baking, read our previous article on the full benefits here.
8. Meet a Friend
Take some time out and meet an old friend for a coffee if you’re feeling stressed. Social outings are important and there is always time to take an hour off from your busy schedule and have a chat. Many of us forget how important it is to keep in touch with our companions. Maybe there is someone you haven’t seen in a while. Catching up on all of your news and having a natter will leave you feeling happy and refreshed in no time.
As much as it’s impossible to avoid stress all the time, it’s important not to let it get on top of us. Stress is unhealthy and specifically taking some time to resolve anxiety is essential.