10 Activities That Help Reduce Stress

On a scale of 1-10, how stressed are you? Whatever your answers are, here are the things you should do.

Women are more stressed than men – that is according to the data gathered by The Busy Lifestyle. Collecting stress-related information from 2009 up to 2016, the results are pretty staggering. If you're part of the Baby Boomer generation, which means from 35-54 years old, chances are you are subjected to a greater feeling of burnout.

Stress is a worldwide epidemic and there are many reasons behind it. It could be brought about by work, relationships, and current health condition, among others. Not only does it cause your mind and body fatigue; stress can also punch a hole in your pocket. In Europe alone, the annual bill for health care due to workplace stress is 20 billion euros! Now, that’s another thing to be stressed about.

According to HuffPost, when you're stressed, a chemical reaction happens in your body, leading to various increase and decrease of hormones. Thus, your body’s wall of defence weakens, such as its ability to regulate inflammation. This leads to weight gain and sickness. However, if you reduce those feelings of fatigue, your heart rate starts to calm, your brainwaves get back to organizing, and your mental and physical state returns to normal.

How to reduce stress? Try these activities.

Try out your green thumb

When life throws you lemons, catch it, and create something out of it – like planting seeds. According to the Journal of Health Psychology, gardening lowers the production of cortisol, the stress hormone, and improves your move compared to other leisure activities. Perhaps that's the beauty of going back to nature. Now pick some of your favourite herbs, get that trowel and plant that garden you have always dreamed of.

Read a book

A quiet corner, a cup of hot chocolate, and a book to keep you company. Just ten minutes of reading is enough to reduce stress, and much more, give you a new perspective about life. When you read, your heart calms down, relieving you of muscle tension and raised blood pressure. Use this activity to help yourself calm down whenever you feel burned-out.

Write in a journal

Alternatively, you can also write. Pull that journal and jot down things you have always wanted to achieve. Make a list. Draw some scribbles. Follow the lines of the pen and let it flow. Daily journaling helps reduce signs of stress, helping you get your own headspace and reflect on your feelings in a healthy light. The best part? There are no rules! Write out and around the lines if you must; be creative.

Listen to soft music

Slip into some music. A calming acoustic tune or an ambient noise can be used as a stress-reliever. Even Harvard Health itself said that 30 minutes of soft music daily can lower blood pressure and decrease feelings of anxiety! How about tuning your heart to a new sound today?

Dance the stress away

And since there's music, how about tapping your toes, swaying your hips and waving your hands to dance? One might think it cheesy, but dancing is a great activity to improve your cardiovascular system. It boosts your endorphins and makes you happier. Reach out to your partner and wrap yourselves with each other in a waltz.

Jog, hike, run

If you're not into dancing, then maybe you're into running. A breath of fresh air can instantly change your mood as you sprint down the street for a morning jog. Not only does this help you stay fit, but you also get back to work in a brighter mood. If the weather's gloomy, a jaunt in the treadmill can do the trick.

Weave those threads

If you think knitting is just for the elderly, think again. According to Psychology Today, knitting (and other similar forms of leisure) helps bring one into the moment, thanks to its repetitive movement. Consider it as a meditation. It helps your body to release serotonin, a calming hormone. Knit a hat, a bolero, or a table runner. That's making productive things out of stress!

Cuddle your pets

Have a pet? Now is the right time to snuggle with them. These four-pawed friends help reduce your tension, increase immune responses and improves your mood. Their mere presence prevents feelings of social isolation, and who doesn't want to be cuddled by these cute creatures?

Hug someone

Since we're in the topic of cuddling, why not ask a hug from a loved one? A long, lingering hug helps you open up to vulnerability. And who doesn't like a word of encouragement or two? Our tip: if you can't get a warm hug now, maybe it's time to go for a massage, as it similarly releases anti-stress chemicals innate in the body.

Take a hot bath

Bath tub, bath bombs, and a whiff of some aromatic candles around you could help end your day on a bright note. Showers in the morning may not be as enjoyable as your night-time dips. Soak in warm water; this calms out body and relaxes our vessels, killing out those spurts of emotions brought by stress. Close your eyes and revel in the fragrance. And when you're done, slip into your pyjamas, sleep tight, and get ready to face another day.

Stress is all around us, but the good news is, you don’t have to be stressed. Use these short, pleasurable activities to cope up with the negative feelings of burnout and get back on track with a happier, brighter mood.

Nele Köstler

Co-Founder at RADICE

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