Stress is something we all deal with at work and school and within our family and friendships. Sometimes, it feels overwhelming and like we just can’t get away. That’s why I created a list of my top five ways to help deal with stress.

1. Take Some Time to Yourself

Okay, this one is a little obvious. Sometimes, the best way to deal with a long, stressful day is to chill out on the couch and binge-watch Netflix (personally, I recommend New Girl). Taking time to yourself is super beneficial when dealing with stress. It allows our bodies and minds to decompress and just relax. 

When I’m not feeling Netflix, I usually turn to baths. They’re super relaxing, and you can always make them more fun by adding a bath bomb. Beware: It will leave behind a stain depending on the color of the bomb, but it’s easy to clean off the tub, so no added stress there. My favorite bath bombs come from Lush, but they can be found almost anywhere, including CVS, Walgreens and Ulta. 

Finally, the last way I like to de-stress by myself is to turn on some of my favorite music and dance. Have fun and let loose. Practice all your dance moves with no need to worry about judgment from others. I’m sure all your dance moves are a perfect 10 anyway. Dancing gives your mind a break and is also a form of physical activity, which is my next tip!

2. Get Physical

Ever seen Legally Blonde? Even if you haven’t, you might have heard one of the most well-known lines: “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy.” This true fact not only helped Elle Woods solve the case, but it can also help you deal with stress. When you exercise, the body releases a chemical called endorphins that give you a positive feeling. A lot of people avoid working out because they don’t have the time, space or equipment, but working out doesn’t have a one-size-fits-all definition. 

Working out could be as simple as yoga for five minutes or as complex as a full-body CrossFit workout. The important thing to remember is to listen to your body. The more you do it, the better you will get and the more you will de-stress. If you’re up for it, joining a gym or taking some workout classes can help you meet new people and make new friends — another way to de-stress.

3. Talk It Out

Talking it out, or venting, is a great way to de-stress. I add a warning to this: Be careful who you vent to. Make sure it’s a good friend or family member you trust. As long as you are wise in who you vent to, you will experience several benefits from venting. This includes helping you discharge negative emotions — talking to someone can help you express these emotions and even give you some validation to them. 

Venting also helps you restore your equilibrium. When something happens that is very stressful and emotional, you can become rattled and fail to think clearly. Talking through these emotions can help you see the situation with a clearer perspective. Venting also helps with your physical and mental health. Bottling up your emotions isn’t healthy; holding them in for too long could also cause an outburst at an inappropriate time or place. The consequences of this could be losing your job or a relationship. If you’re careful with where, when and who you vent with, it’s a great way to de-stress and see things in a clearer way.

4. Get Some Fresh Air

My next tip to help deal with stress is to get outside. Being outside has many benefits, including getting fresh air and sunlight. Sunlight actually triggers the release of a hormone called serotonin in the brain. This hormone is known to boost mood by making a person feel calmer and more focused. 

If you’re someone who sits in an office or classroom all day, there’s a chance your serotonin levels are low, causing more stress and anxiety. Personally, I work in a secured office for nine hours a day. To help keep my serotonin levels up, I take two to three mini 10-minute breaks throughout the day and go sit outside (weather permitting). I also try to sit outside on the weekends to get some extra sun. Some ways you can get some extra sun are eating breakfast outside, going on a walk, working out outside and going to the beach, pool or even the park!

5. Unplug

My final tip to help de-stress is to unplug. Today, everyone is so connected to their phones, either texting, checking emails or getting on one of the many social media platforms. While technology has allowed for great access to information and allows us to connect with those we might not see on a regular basis, it can also cause stress, physical ailments, loneliness and sleep deprivation. Technology can cause stress because it requires your brain to be constantly running. After a long day of work or school, it’s important to give your mind and body a break. When you are constantly scrolling on your phone, your mind isn’t getting that well-deserved break it needs. 

Other than helping you relax, there are some other benefits of unplugging. This includes finding more time — more time to take your dog for a longer walk or really connect with your neighbor. Unplugging can also help with your physical and mental health. When we’re on our phones or computers, we tend to hunch over and strain our necks and wrists. Also, the blue light from the screen is known to cause strain on the eyes. This puts stress on our physical body but can be avoided or relieved by unplugging for a couple hours a day. Technology, specifically social media, can affect our mental health due to comparing ourselves to what others have. When you unplug, you can focus on being grateful for what you have. This will boost your mood and help reduce stress.

These are the top five ways I de-stress, and I hope the next time you find yourself stressed, you try some of these tips!

Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.

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