5 (Pandemic-Friendly!) Tips to Instantly Reduce StressJan 11, 2021
What is stress?
Stress may be defined differently by each person but the body’s reaction is always the same — an increase in cortisol and other hormones leads to an overactive nervous system. This leaves us feeling wired, tired, and generally overwhelmed. Many think of being “stressed out” as having too much to do and too much to think about. This can be true but we must also consider how this state affects our body, behaviors, relationships, and mood. The following quick tips can lead to an instant reduction in your body’s stress response and thus leave you feeling better prepared to tackle your day.
Whether you consider yourself “outdoorsy” or not you cannot argue this — our bodies respond to being outside. Whether it’s the quick hit of vitamin D from the sun or a jolt from the cold wind and rain, changing your environment changes your mood and your body. It works to break the cycle of thought and if nothing else, gives you a minute to breathe. Do it as often as you can.
OR look for reassurance on social media OR engage in any unproductive conversations about your current stressor. Giving your stress attention through any of these means gives it power and makes it bigger. Instead, engage in something constructive to help reduce your overwhelm around the issue or give yourself something completely separate (and external) to focus on — exercise, writing, TV, and reading are all great options.
Do something creative
No reason to go crazy with the paint here (unless you want to!) but engaging the more creative parts of your brain can do wonders for your frame of mind. Whether it’s writing a few sentences or coloring a page from a coloring book, do something to change your brain and take a break.
Make a plan
Managing stressful moments cannot always be about escaping or forgetting. Often what you need is a plan to help you feel a bit more in control. This could be as simple as writing down what you need to do for the day. The momentum will often build from there and put you into action mode.
Reach out and connect
Think of a few consistent supports that are helpful in pulling you out of a funk. Friends and family are great if they are supportive (not always the case) but so are professionals and the “right” online groups. Look for people who are striving to be their best and talking about what is right in the world instead of the other way around. Reach out to them for help making a plan, chat about wins, or discuss something completely off-topic from your stress.
And that’s it. Our suggestions are not earth-shattering but they do work. We often forget about the mind-body connection when stressed and how changing your body can change your mind (and vice versa). Stress is often a result of a combination of habits that no longer serve you — implement one of the above five tips to start changing your habits now.