(This article was written by Amway and appeared on forbes.com.)
Whether it’s related to work, your personal life or finances, stress is a part of everyday life.
According to the 2019 Stress in America Survey, “More than three-quarters of adults report physical or emotional symptoms of stress, such as headache, feeling tired or changes in sleeping habits.” The overwhelming effects of stress can take a toll on your mind, body and overall well-being. While the situation you’re in may be out of your control, how you choose to manage your stress entirely up to you. Find out how incorporating a few healthy habits can help with relieving stress.
Prioritize Movement and Exercise for Stress Relief
When you’re feeling overwhelmed, your natural inclination may be to focus on the issue that is causing you to react. However, the best thing you can do is to get up and put your body into motion.
Your mind, body and heart are interconnected. According to an article published by Harvard Health, “Regular aerobic exercise will bring remarkable changes to your body, your metabolism, your heart, and your spirits.”
Exercise reduces stress hormones by releasing endorphins. Often considered the body’s natural pain killers, endorphins can help elevate your mood, produce feelings of optimism and help your body relax. Try to incorporate as much movement in your day as possible. If you can’t make it to the gym, go for a walk during your lunch break, practice yoga at home or dance in your kitchen. Every bit of movement can help in relieving your stress.
Create Boundaries and Learn When to Switch Off Work
Work is a major source of stress for most people. In fact, an annual survey from the American Psychological Association revealed that, “60 percent of people in the United States consider their job a major source of stress.”
Before you start considering a career change, try managing your stress by setting a few boundaries. Creating a healthy work-life balance is as much in your control as it is your employer. Set a rule for yourself that your work will remain in the office. Being able to switch off work mode is an important aspect of self-care. When you’re off the clock, do things that make you feel good, like cooking, spending time with friends or watching a movie. Those hours that you spend taking care of yourself will help give your brain a much-needed break from constantly having to think about work.
A simple solution to stress reduction is proper hydration. Amanda Carlson, director of performance at Athlete’s Performance told WebMD, “Studies have shown that being just half a liter dehydrated can increase your cortisol levels.”
The National Academy of Medicine recommends that you drink one milliliter of water per each calorie of food consumed. To help reach your total daily intake, opt for a glass of water in lieu of your morning coffee or afternoon soda.
Get Quality Sleep
Stress is one of the largest culprits of poor sleep quality. Without adequate rest, you may begin to exhibit greater agitation and impatience—especially in the face of hardship. The Sleep Foundation recommends that adults get between 7-9 hours of sleep each night. If you have trouble fulfilling these daily recommendations, try implementing evening routines, like:
- Going to bed at the same time every night
- Turning off digital screens in the evening
- Avoiding caffeine in the afternoon
- Writing down your thoughts or to-do lists before bed
Reassess Your To-Do List and Set Goals
One of the most effective ways to combat stress is to address it at the source. Begin by identifying external triggers—like your career, relationship or finances—and determine ways in which you can alleviate some of the pressure. Maybe it’s asking for support on a work project or setting a monthly budget to manage your money. By creating a plan of action, you’ll be better equipped to tackle stress the next time it transpires.
Reach Out for Social Support
Confiding in a friend or family member about your hardships may not always feel easy, but it can provide you with a sense of encouragement and relief. In fact, creating an emotional support network is crucial in stress management.
According to Newcastle University epidemiologist Nicole Valtorta, PhD, “loneliness has been found to raise levels of stress, impede sleep and, in turn, harm the body.” Rather than keeping stress to yourself, talk through it with a relative, phone a friend or meet with a therapist.
Incorporating these stress-relief habits into your everyday life can help you stay calm and prevent chronic stress from developing over time. Remember, stressful situations are always going to arise, but you have the power to control how you react.