Best Ways to Relieve Stress at Any Time
Everyone has felt the pressure of work-related stress at some point, even if they love their job. During stressful times, it’s even more important to minimize work stress and maintain a healthy work-life balance.
With more people working from home and juggling family and job responsibilities, there are extra concerns, plus work stress, and it’s easy to start feeling overwhelmed.
So how do you manage stress from your job and keep a healthy work-life balance at the same time? These tips can help.
30. Get Creative With Simple Household Tasks
An Australian woman, Danielle Askew, started a trend of dressing up to take out the bins, or garbage, as a joke with a friend.
She set up a Facebook page in March 2020 called Bin Isolation Outing Facebook Group, which went viral and now has over 1 million members. People dress up in evening, formal wear or costumes and post videos of their hilarious bin outings on the page.
Watch some of the creative ideas that people dream up for the short trip down the driveway, and enjoy a stress-busting chuckle at a different kind of craziness.
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29. Be Kind
Kindness is spreading.
The founders of a Facebook page focused on kindness are seeking to inspire people all over the world to help others who are marginalized: elderly, people who live alone, people with limited resources or on limited incomes, people with disabilities and the homeless.
The Facebook page is full of heartwarming stories of kindness and generous acts. The stories of people helping others in this difficult time will touch your heart, make you smile and may even make you reach for a tissue.
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28. Check Out XplodingUnicorn
Work stress getting you down? Stuck at home and climbing the walls? Take a humor break with James Breakwell, also known as XlodingUnicorn.
Breakwell is a comedy writer and father to four girls, and he hilariously tweets their everyday conversations on his Twitter account. His 1 million followers rely on him to bring a smile to their day and maybe a few laugh-out-loud moments.
You also can subscribe to his newsletters, which compile his writings and bring them straight to your inbox each week.
27. Don’t Forget To Laugh
Laughter really is the best medicine. A good laugh strengthens your immune system, reduces pain, boosts your mood, does away with anger and stress, and releases endorphins, the body’s chemicals that make you feel good.
Laughing hard relaxes your muscles, which stay relaxed for up to 45 minutes. Laughter also burns calories, protects the heart by increasing blood flow, and may even help you live longer.
Watch comedies to get your daily dose of laughs or read a funny book. Challenge friends to a joke contest.
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26. Share Your Problems
Sharing your problems and talking them over with a friend or family member can help reduce your stress levels and give you some valuable perspective.
Everyone sees things a little differently. Ask people you trust what they would do in your situation or just have them listen as you talk about what’s got you stressed.
You might also consider talking with a counselor. Either of these methods let you share the problems and challenges that are causing you stress in a safe and supportive environment.
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25. Take Good Care of Yourself, and Don't Rush Getting Well
Getting sick and missing work happens to all of us. You may have gotten sick because you’re under a lot of stress. Stress can suppress our immune systems making it harder to fight off colds and flu.
Ironically, getting stressed about being sick and missing work may hamper your body’s efforts to heal and get better. If you’re sick, you need to rest, allow your body to heal and not rush back to work.
Other tips for helping your body heal are to drink plenty of liquids, take hot showers or baths, sip hot drinks and eat lots of chicken soup.
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24. Cook or Bake
Cooking and baking are great ways to deal with stress. Both activities force you to be creative and use your five senses. You also need to practice awareness when you’re measuring ingredients or preparing a dish.
This awareness forces you to be present, an important aspect of any mindfulness practice. In fact, cooking can sometimes feel almost meditative. Recipes are usually very forgiving — you can often throw in extra ingredients or use less chili and the dish will still turn out well.
So turn on an episode of "Master Chef," and get cooking or baking.
Did you know reading a book or magazine helps relieve stress? Reading lowers your heart rate, relaxes your muscles and can reduce stress by almost 70 percent.
The best part is that you don’t have to read classic novels or bestsellers — anything that changes your focus away from work or a stressful situation. Just don’t read work-related content, since that will keep you thinking about work.
Most libraries have large digital book and magazine collections that you can check out online and read at home without even needing to go out.
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22. Limit Media Exposure
Studies show that over half of us get our daily news from social media, and these days, it seems like many stories are negative.
The news tends to be much more negative than positive, which can be stressful or overwhelming. To reduce this negative impact, limit the time you spend on social media or news sources, especially in the evenings, when you may be tired.
Read a book, do a puzzle or craft or talk with family and friends so you can feel more relaxed and de-stressed before bedtime.
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21. Avoid Caffeine, Alcohol And Nicotine
You may be tempted to reach for a cup of coffee or caffeinated drink to give you some fast energy, or alcohol to help you relax.
However, caffeine is a stimulant and will actually increase stress in the long run. So will that quick smoke that you think is relaxing you. Alcohol can initially act as a stimulant, but larger amounts act as a depressant, which can make stress worse.
If you’re looking for ways to reduce your stress levels, switch to decaffeinated coffee or tea, green or herbal teas and sparkling or plain water.
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Meditation has some very healthy benefits. Practicing mindfulness reduces stress — stress management is one of the most common reasons most people start meditating.
It can also control anxiety, create a more positive outlook on life, increase your attention span and the ability to concentrate, improve memory, improve sleep, decrease blood pressure, help control pain and manage addictions.
Best of all, you can meditate anywhere, and you don’t need much space to practice. You can see all these effects with short daily sessions and there are even meditation apps, such as HeadSpace.
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19. Practice Gratitude
It may sound like a strange suggestion when you’re stressed to stop and reflect on being grateful, but studies have shown that expressing gratitude can actually reduce stress.
Just like meditation, practicing gratitude will make you happier, help you sleep better, boost your immune system and help protect you from depression and anxiety. Feeling grateful can also help improve your relationships.
In addition, gratitude helps you to focus on what you have, instead of what you don’t.
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18. Kick Bad Habits
Bad habits can undermine your job, whether it’s being distracted, procrastinating or spending time on social media. Bad habits can cause real stress in terms of lost time, poorly done work or missed deadlines.
Recognizing the reasons behind your bad habits are key to breaking them. Is it stress, boredom or another reason?
You can take effective steps to kick bad habits for good such as choosing a replacement habit, removing things that trigger the habit or using visualization techniques.
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17. Take a Breath
If you are feeling stressed, overwhelmed or anxious, a few minutes of deep breathing can clear your head and help you feel calmer and more relaxed.
A short easy breathing sequence to follow is to inhale, counting for five seconds, hold the breath and then exhale for five seconds. Deep breathing improves your immune system and digestion, lowers your blood pressure and increases energy levels.
The best thing about a short breathing practice is that you can squeeze it into your day almost anywhere, including while you’re driving, commuting or taking a short break.
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Whether you’re working in an office or at home, you’re likely to be sitting and may be hunched over a computer all day.
Even if you get up and move around on a regular basis, you may still find that all that sitting is causing tension in your back, neck or shoulders and adding to your stress levels. Take the time to stretch on a regular basis during your workday.
Here are 10 easy stretches that you can do at your desk or work station.
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15. Drink Plenty of Water
Make sure you drink plenty of water and stay hydrated, especially when you’re stressed. Most people don’t drink enough water on a daily basis.
Water helps to regulate body temperature and bowel movements, and flush toxins out of our bodies. Staying hydrated can help relieve fatigue and headaches naturally, stabilize energy levels, lubricate joints and protect your brain, as well as boost your metabolism.
Ideally, you need about half a gallon of water daily, which works out to be eight standard glasses of eight ounces each. Just remember eight times eight.
14. Get A Good Night’s Sleep
Getting a good night’s sleep is important.
Good quality sleep improves your immune function as well as your concentration and productivity, lowers your risk of gaining weight, improves your athletic ability, lowers your risk of heart disease and helps prevent depression.
Tips getting good quality sleep include having a regular bedtime, doing daily exercise; avoiding alcohol, caffeine and nicotine, especially in the evenings; having a bedtime ritual that helps you to relax, such as a warm bath or reading; sleeping in a completely darkened bedroom.
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13. Eat Well
If you’re experiencing stress, make sure that you’re eating a healthy diet. Good food plays a big role in boosting your immune system.
A healthy diet includes five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables every day and plenty of whole foods. If you’re staying at home, this is a good time to try new recipes and cook more meals from scratch.
Create a meal plan for the week. Stash healthy snacks in your kitchen, such as nuts, seeds or fruit. Don’t skip meals and stay away from sugary and salty snacks.
You know exercise is good for you. Working out lifts your mood, boosts your energy levels, helps you sleep better, controls your weight and helps manage a host of health conditions.
But how do you stay fit when you don't have access to a gym? Luckily for you (and all of us), the internet is full of good, free exercise routines to get your heart pumping even if you don’t have much time or space for a workout.
You also can try apps like Daily Yoga, Sworkit or 7 Minute Workout.
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11. Put Things in Perspective
Here are some tips for keeping perspective in any stressful situation.
Remind yourself of what is going well and working. Think about the best and worst outcomes that could happen. What steps can you take to improve the outcome? Stay calm and think clearly. Focus on the big picture and long-term goals. Step back from the situation, plan what you need to do, and make a to-do list.
All these things will give you a greater sense of control and help you put things in perspective, no matter the situation.
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10. Keep a Stress Diary
We know that stress can adversely affect our work and personal lives, but we may not always be sure what the actual sources of stress really are.
Keeping a stress diary lets you see exactly what factors are making you stressed and how you react to them. You may also find that you work well with a certain degree of stress, just not too much.
You can use the insights you learn from keeping a diary to better manage your stress levels or stressful factors in your life.
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9. Learn to Say 'No'
We can sometimes feel as if we have a lot of work to do and not enough time to do it, and this can be stressful. You may also experience frequent interruptions or people asking for help or adding to your workload.
Learning to say "no" can help reduce your stress levels by keeping you focused on what you need to do and not adding extra work and prevent distractions from interruptions.
Some people have a hard time saying "no" because they want to be helpful and likable. However, using this simple word can save a lot of stress in the long run.
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8. Start Small, Make Changes Slowly
So you want to be more productive at work? The best way to make any changes is to start small.
Small changes are easier to stick with and make a part of your daily routine. Once you realize how effective small changes are — and that you can stick with them — you will be motivated to make bigger changes.
Here are some tips for small changes that you can make now: Set a firm stop time for work. Create a wind-down ritual that lets you stop being in work mode. Keep track of what activities you do that waste time.
Bottom Line: Start Small, Make Changes Slowly
7. Don’t Be a Perfectionist
It’s often said that perfectionism is the opposite of productivity. Perfectionists spend a lot of time going over work trying to make it perfect: changing, updating and tweaking.
This time could be better spent maximizing efficiency and getting more work done with less stress. Accept that things don’t need to be perfect. They need to be good enough so that you can move on to the next task.
It’s better to be productive overall rather than focus too much time and energy on achieving a level of excellence that isn’t really necessary.
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6. Take Regular Recharge Breaks
You should schedule recharge breaks into your day, just as you would schedule a meeting or your workload.
You probably already know your own energy levels. Some people are early birds and get a lot of their work done in the mornings, while others peak in the afternoon or evening. Make sure to schedule your most important work or jobs when your energy levels are at their best.
Take regular breaks during the workday to stretch, move around, do some breathing exercises or even take a short walk.
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5. Stop Interruptions
Distractions and interruptions can be maddening and stressful, especially if you’re trying to meet a deadline or get a project finished. Most of us experience a steady stream of interruptions during our working day: emails, phone calls, messages or coworkers.
Here are some steps you can take to minimize interruptions while you’re working: Switch off notifications and alerts on your phone and email or switch off your phone. Close all programs on your computer that you don’t need. Schedule blocks of time for certain tasks in your day and stick to them.
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4. Practice Good Time Management
Poor time management can create a lot of stress, especially if you put your energy into less important tasks and struggle to get important ones done or miss deadlines. Here are some tips for better time management.
Set realistic and achievable daily and weekly goals, plan your day and week in advance, schedule your work activities and block out your time, delegate what you don’t need to do yourself and don’t be a perfectionist.
3. Establish a Work-Life Balance
Sometimes, it’s easy to lose sight of the line between work and home life, and that can be stressful. But there some ways you can keep or restore the balance.
Set a work schedule and stick to it. Don’t let work spill over into personal or family time. Block out quality time with family, friends or by yourself that is completely unplugged with no distraction.
That's not all. You also can make time to exercise or meditate and limit time-wasting activities, such as checking Facebook or surfing the web.
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2. Make Your Priorities Clear
Make sure that you’re clear about your work priorities.
You can’t decide what to focus on if you’re unsure about your most important tasks. Being distracted by changing priorities and deadlines that compete with each other is a very real source of stress.
What goals are the most important in order for you to do your job effectively? Once you’re clear on the top goals, then you can work out a strategy, schedule and to-do list that reflects these goals.
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1. Take Control
Two-thirds of Americans feel they don’t have a good work-life balance. This feeling of being out of control can be stressful. With the old structure of "nine to five" falling away, we often find work and the rest of our lives overlapping.
Set limits on work time so you can enjoy time with friends, family or alone without feeling stressed. Use the tips in this list. Learn to say "no." Make priorities and goals clear. Make a work schedule. Have a clear end time for work or plan your day or week in advance.
Do all that — or even just some of that — and you'll be on your way to a healthy work-life balance and being stress-free.
Related:Best and Worst Countries for Work-Life Balance
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