Feeling a little anxious? Learn my 10 favorite ways to de-stress and chill out. These are tips you can incorporate into your everyday life that will provide almost instant relief!
Last week was pretty darn crazy for me and by the time Friday rolled around, I felt myself getting more and more anxious, feeling more stressed and overwhelmed. You know that feeling where your heart is beating quickly, there's a tightness in your chest, knots in your stomach, and you realize…
I need to take a pause.
For me, it was while I was walking Trevi in the park on Friday and even though it was the end of the work week, I still had that feeling gripping me inside.
In that moment I had to stop myself. I wasn't in a rush. I didn't have anything urgent or pressing to do. My life wasn't crazy or overwhelming. Work wasn't pulling in a million directions. At that exact moment, I was walking in the park with my furry little friend in the sunshine. Life was pretty freaking great!
Coming back to the present and taking some time to slow down is SO IMPORTANT. We spend so much time racing from task to task, crossing things off our to-do lists, that sometimes we forget to breathe. We forget to look around. We forget to give ourselves a break.
So in today's Self Care Sunday post, we're talking about ways to de-stress and chill out. As I was doing some reading on the topic, I wanted to share the definition of “de-stress”. Merriam-Webster defines de-stress as, “to release bodily or mental tension.”
And that's what we're going to do! These are techniques you can use anywhere and hopefully they'll help you take a step back and breathe. I'm also you have some of your own strategies, so I'd love for you to share some of yours in the comments below!
1. Go for a walk
Getting outside (without your phone!) and moving your body is an amazing way to de-stress. Walking not only helps you clear your head but you also physically release endorphins while you're moving, which reduce stress hormones and helps with that feeling of anxiety. There have also been many studies done about the benefits of being in nature on your stress levels and it's now been scientifically proven that people who spend time in nature (or even outside) each day have lower levels of stress.
2. Practice deep breathing
If you've ever taken a yoga class before, then I'm sure you know how much they focus on the breath. Breathwork is something we can all practice, anywhere anytime, and it has an almost instant effect on our stress levels. Deep breathing stimulates our parasympathetic nervous system which helps us calm down and relax. What I love about deep breathing is that this is a stress relieving tool you always have with you, so next time you're feeling stressed or overwhelmed, take a pause, close your eyes and take 10 deep breaths. I like to inhale to the count of five and exhale to the count of five.
Surprisingly, one of the largest stressors for our modern day society is actually in the palm of our hand. Your smartphone. At this point, smartphone usage (and reliance) have been studied and shown to increase stress and anxiety. And it makes total sense. When we're connected, we're constantly absorbing information. Whether that's the string of work emails coming in, or scrolling through social media and feeling bad about what you “don't have”, being plugged in all the time will make you feel more agitated. Carve out time each day to unplug. Put your phone in another room, put it on airplane mode or just turn it off completely. You will notice how much better you feel with a little digital detox.
4. Take a bath
When it comes to self-care, I think one of the most popular practices is taking a bath. It's calming, it's relaxing, it feels good on your body, it's comforting and cozy. It's a great way to reconnect with yourself and take a mental break. It's generally just a really easy way to chill out! For your next soak, try making my lavender bath salt, light some candles, turn on some music and just relax.
5. Do a craft/creative project
Tap into your creativity next time you're feeling a little overwhelmed! That could be knitting, painting, scrapbooking, etc. What makes craft projects so great for de-stressing is two-fold: first, you're letting your mind let and second, the repetitive motions of many crafts can soothe anxiety.
6. Sweat it out
How do you feel after a good workout? Sure, you might feel tired/physically exhausted, but you also will likely notice that you feel happy, optimistic and in a better mood. Exercise in almost any form can act as a stress reliever, and that's because it pumps up your endorphins (feel-good neurotransmitters), which are directly related to decreasing stress and anxiety. Here's the thing to remember though: too much intense exercise can cause the reverse effects. So when it comes to exercise, you want to make sure that you're also taking time to properly rest and are incorporating gentle movement like yoga, stretching and walking.
7. Turn on some music & dance
Music makes you feel good and dancing makes you feel great! Turning on some music that you love floods your body with neurochemicals like dopamine. Dancing, of course, is another form of movement which again makes our body feel good. And when our body feels good, our mind feels good! Plus, dancing is fun, it's creative, it's a way to express yourself and it makes you feel happy!
8. Netflix & chill
There's nothing like cozying up on the couch with a warm cup of tea (or glass of wine) and watching a good movie. While less screen time is a way to relieve stress, chilling out with a movie or TV show on is also relaxing. The best kind? Something funny. Watching something that makes you laugh, again increases the endorphins that are released in your brain. So don't feel bad about staying in on a Friday night, or curling up on a Sunday afternoon. Take that time to just chill out!
9. Meet up with your BFF
Friendships are so important and spending some time with your best friend is a great way to de-stress. Good friends make you feel happy, they make you laugh, they show you love and they're fun. Just last weekend I had my best friend in the world come to stay with me and after she left I felt noticeably happier, I wasn't stressed and I just felt so full of love and gratitude!
We've talked a bit about meditation on the blog before, but this is an amazing way to de-stress. I think meditation can sometimes feel a little scary or out of reach for some people, which I totally understand, so know that we will be taking a separate post about how to get started. BUT meditation has been studied extensively and there are so many amazing benefits of meditation on the brain. I set a goal for 2018 of meditating daily, for just 5 minutes, and while I haven't done it every single day, I have felt a difference. On the days that I start with my meditation, I find I'm more productive, I'm more focused, less stressed and happier.
Again, we'll be taking an entire post to chat about meditation and how to get started, so make sure to say tuned for that!! (hoping to have it up in the next few weeks)
How do you de-stress?
Share some of your favorite ways to relax and chill out in the comments below! And if there's any topic above that you want to learn more about, or dig deeper into, let me know! ♡