The stress of everyday life can be tough to deal with even under normal circumstances — and in these uncertain and difficult times, the pressure feels even more intense. Whether you’re struggling to make it through the day or just feeling a bit of extra tension, untreated stress can be harmful to your long-term health. Putting these tips into practice can help lighten your mental burdens and put you back on the path to peace.
Getting enough sleep is one of the best ways to reduce stress in your life, allowing your mind and your body to recharge and refresh overnight. However, stress can often keep you from the sleep you need. If you’re not sleeping well, the Mayo Clinic recommends following a soothing, consistent bedtime routine every evening so you’re physically and mentally ready to fall asleep.
Regular exercise will help your mind shed stress and anxiety, and it can help you experience more positive feelings, too. Per Healthline, exercise releases mood-lifting endorphins and lowers stress hormones. It’s also an effective way to boost the quality of your nightly sleep. Over time, improving your physical fitness or mastering an exercise can even help you feel better about yourself and your abilities.
Maintain social connections
Whether or not you can see your friends and loved ones in person, maintaining and nurturing those social connections is essential for combating stress. Meetups, texts, phone calls and video chats with the most important people in your life can help you feel a sense of belonging and connection — and so can volunteering or helping others. Friends and family can also be a strong source of support when you’re feeling overwhelmed or out of sorts.
Can you find anything in your life to be grateful for? Focusing on gratitude, whether it’s for big or small things, can help you deal with stress and cultivate a more positive outlook. To build a habit of gratitude, Psychology Today suggests making a list of everything and everyone you’re grateful for. Examine your life at the beginning or end of each day so you can add new things to this list, and be sure to communicate your gratitude to others, too.
Find a creative outlet
Banish stress from your life by exercising your creativity in both new and familiar ways. For starters, make time for your existing hobbies, interests and creative pursuits. Whether you enjoy making music, painting, working in the garden or cooking, you’ll have an outlet for maintaining focus, building a sense of accomplishment and taking your mind off your troubles. If your current leisure-time endeavors aren’t helping, consider challenging your mind by learning a new skill or trying a new hobby instead.
Try mindfulness, meditation and yoga
A wide variety of techniques and practices are available to help you manage and lower stress. Yoga is an especially popular example, and you can try it through in-person classes or online instruction. Meditation and mindfulness practices are another common way to keep stress at bay. You may also want to look into relaxation techniques like deep breathing, muscle relaxation and massage.
Get the help you need
Dealing with stress isn’t something you have to do on your own. If the techniques you try aren’t working or if your stress feels out of control, don’t hesitate to reach out to friends and family for help. You may also benefit from the assistance of a medical professional.
Don’t let stress affect your health or steal your joy. Start with these tips to find relief and regain control over the stressors that are making your life more difficult.