Easy Self-care Ideas to Break Free From Stress this Month!
September is National Self Care Awareness Month. If you tend to put yourself at the very end of your priority list when you are under a lot of pressure (easy done and you are not alone), then you are not only neglecting yourself but also everyone who relies on you. You can't pour from an empty cup, even though many have tried!
If you are under a lot of pressure, and most of us are these days, then it is easy for stress to build up as you probably feel you can't afford the time to take a break. This is when you need to be aware of your own self-care. If you don't take action to reduce or control your stress it can seriously impact your health and well-being. Try the following easy tips to help you reduce stress and put some calm back into your life!
Take a mental health break.
If something is causing you a lot of stress try to take a step back if possible for a while and allow yourself time to re-set and re-focus. Even a few minutes break can help you gain a better perspective.
Breathe away stress!
If you are feeling anxious focus on taking slower, deeper breaths. This will help take you out of the stress response state, reduce cortisol levels (stress hormone) and make you feel calmer.
Reduce your caffeine intake.
A little caffeine can be good for you and give you a boost but too much can increase feelings of stress and anxiety so if you are reaching for more than usual to keep yourself going then just be aware of the adverse affects of too much!
Sit outside in the fresh air.
If you feel stress building up, go and sit outside for a few minutes and watch the clouds floating by. Nothing else, just sit and give your mind a break. The world won't stop turning. You owe yourself this much at least, you only have one life. Don't be a slave to stress!
Go for a walk in nature.
This is good for your health and well-being in many ways and great for reducing stress levels. Find a green space, park or woodland and walk yourself back to calm. The Japanese often refer to this as 'Shinrin Yoku' or 'Forest Bathing' and it is sometimes prescribed by doctors instead of medication for stress, anxiety and even depression, with positive results!
Try Mind, Body Spirit practices.
Do some Yoga, Qi gong or Tai Chi. These ancient practices have so many benefits. As you focus on the breath and slow flowing movements your stress and anxiety will be reduced and you will feel more calm and grounded. Alternatively try a 20 minute stretching session as stress can also cause muscle tension.
Meditate to find the calm within!
Try meditating for at least 10 minutes and connect back to yourself. Meditation has become much more popular these day and is one of the best practices for reducing stress. It has been proven to lower cortisol levels and blood pressure and to promote mental well-being.
Try mindfulness to reduce stress.
Allow yourself to be in the present moment for a few minutes, paying attention with all of your 5 senses. You can try this when you are performing a simple task like having a shower, getting dressed, eating a meal or just walking. If your mind wanders, which it will, just accept and bring yourself back to the present moment. This sounds simple but does take practice but well worth it as it gives your thinking mind a break from constant worries.
Give yourself permission to read a book or a magazine!
Taking some time out to read a book or magazine might sound like a luxury if you are busy but allow yourself to rest and have a break. As you put your attention on something different it gives your worrying mind a break and you are likely to feel more fresh and able to tackle problems with clearer mind.
Grab a pet for a stress busting cuddle!
Snuggle a pet if you have one around - really! Pet therapy is becoming more popular. They are non judgemental and are great for making you feel less stressed and anxious. Cuddling also releases the 'feel good' hormones oxytocin, dopamine, and serotonin making you feel happier and more relaxed. Plus your pet will love you for it too!
De-clutter to reduce stress!
This really does work. Even if it is just that untidy drawer, or desk, it will give you back some feeling of control and a sense of achievement when you have finished! Plus if you are tidying your desk you will also feel a lot more organised!
Write a to-do list
Writing down the most urgent tasks weighing you down will allow you to get them out of your head and gives you chance to prioritise them one at a time. By taking stock of the most urgent issues, instead of including all the the smaller stuff, will help you to avoid becoming overwhelmed with a lengthy list.
Have a relaxing soak
At the end of the day treat yourself to a relaxing soak in a bubble bath, complete with natural aromatherapy candles and calming music to allow you to unwind.
Have a dinner treat.
If the thoughts of cooking is causing you more stress then order in dinner as a treat if you can, especially if you are exhausted and short on time. Obviously try to go for the healthy choice as too much processed food can negatively impact your health and well-being as well as your waste line!
Alternatively try the healing power of cooking to take your mind away from your worries for a while as you focus on the task of creating something special to eat (hopefully!)
Watch the sun rise or set.
Watch the sun rise or set without posting the pictures on social media – just allow yourself to be in the moment and truly experience it for all it is worth! Give yourself credit for making it through another day or celebrate the fact that you are awake and alive and able to experience another day!
Have a Social Media edit.
It is so easy to let time run away with you on social media which can lead to more stress, on top of the things you are reading! If you can't have a social media detox then at least edit who you follow and ditch anyone who doesn't make you feel happy and inspired to avoid wasting time.
Just say "No"!
Learn to say “no” to someone if it is not in your best interest and will increase your stress levels. This is not always easy, I know, but you have to take care of your own well-being!
Write a gratitude list.
At the end of every day write down at least 5 things that you are grateful for. This puts you in a better frame of mind for sleep as you are not dwelling on everything that went wrong during the day!
Star gaze to reduce stress.
Look up at the stars and feel connected to the bigger picture. We are all a small part of the same universe. Everything in life changes and nothing will remain the same forever, including your stress levels!
Learn to be good to yourself
Be good to yourself and give yourself permission to rest, nobody will do it for you and ultimately it is you who is responsible for your own health and well-being. Self care is not selfish, it is essential. If you need help reducing stress and anxiety then visit www.Lincsholisticwellness.com for more information and free guides on sleep and mindfulness meditation!
Holistic Health and Wellness Coach