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Little Things You Can Do To Reduce Stress

Life is full of challenges and we all get stressed from time to time. The moment you start doing little things to reduce stress you will feel the benefits almost instantly.

One of most common issues I help people address at work is how stressful life can be. We’re pulled in a lot of different directions as we balance the demands of life. The thing is, our bodies are designed to cope with short-term stress, but if it continues for weeks and months, it can cause physical, mental and emotional problems.

Long-term effects of stress:

  • Long-term high levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, depresses the immune system, so we’re more susceptible to getting sick.
  • Energy levels and moods are affected by fluctuating blood sugar levels.
  • Stress increases levels of cholesterol in the blood.
  • The digestive system becomes strained and has trouble absorbing the nutrients in our food.
  • Cortisol is linked to weight gain.
  • We don’t sleep well or get enough hours of sleep so our bodies never have time to recharge.
  • Stress affects hormones which can cause mood swings, anxiety and depression.

Of course, we need to look at the sources of our stress, but this may involve life changes that don’t happen overnight.

There are little things you can do and changes you can make that work almost instantly:

Promote restful sleep. Getting a good night’s sleep makes everything look better the next day and it’s essential for regulating hormones, balancing mood, and improving energy levels.

Reduce caffeine. Caffeine is a stimulant and produces many of the same effects on the body as stress hormones. Limit yourself to one or two cups of coffee a day and avoid caffeine in the evenings.

Don’t expect yourself to keep your regular routine. Temporarily let some thing(s) go or do less of. When life is unusually busy you’re probably adding to your to-do list so to keep the list doable take a few things off your list temporarily.

Keep the status quo. Don’t use a busy time in life to make big changes. If life is busy it might not be the best time to make big dietary changes, change jobs, start a new workout or start training for your first marathon.

Don’t should yourself. The things that HAVE to be done will be done. Don’t worry about the rest and don’t constantly remind your self what you SHOULD have done or SHOULD be doing.

Just breathe. It really is as simple as it sounds. As few as three deep breaths can help deactivate the physical symptoms of stress.

Try this: Sit comfortably in a chair or on the floor, shoulders relaxed, and eyes closed. Inhale through your nose to the count of 4 or 5, pause briefly at the top, then exhale to the same count. Repeat this pattern of breathing 3 times.

Remember the crazy busyness is temporary. Often the things that are making life so busy are temporary. Keep reminding yourself this isn’t going to last forever. Take care of yourself physically and mentally and you can get through this, not miss a moment of the joy in it all and, in the end, look back and smile.

Take advantage of car time. Listen to a podcast, audio book or relaxing music. Or, drive in silence and with your thoughts. It may be the only time during your day you can do this.

Make time to exercise. It might sound counterintuitive, but finding as little as 25 minutes to move your body will give you mental and physical benefits strength training and cardio workouts that makes it well worth the time. And, it just feels good!

Here’s 5 Total Body Workouts you can do in 30 minutes or less.

Aromatherapy in the shower. Drop about 10 drops of your favorite relaxing essential oils (lavender, chamomile or ylang ylang) on a sponge or washcloth then place it in the shower where the water can reach it but, not directly hit it. The combination of water and steam will create an aromatherapy experience while you shower.

Like this article? Then you’re going to love these:

I would love to chat.

What would you add to the list? Do you ever drive in silence? What’s your favorite essential oil to relax?

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45 Comments

  1. Rhewi Montemayor says:

    I loved your tips.. I will gonna apply it to myself… Thanks for sharing it will help for sure..

  2. Our Family World says:

    The aromatherapy would be the best! Also, please add AVOID NEGATIVE PEOPLE because they are really stressful. Haha Right?

  3. These are all so beneficial to reducing stress. I recently went through a great amount of stress and found the method that helped me the most was letting go of all the shoulds. It really did have a great impact and eventually everything I wanted to get done, got done!

  4. Thanks for sharing the great tips! Reducing caffeine intake is something that I need to work upon!

  5. These are some great tips! Letting things go is a big one for me!

  6. This re lovely ideas! I especially love the aromatherapy shower. Will try this out next time 🙂

    XX Nadine Cathleen | Karateandcaviar.com

  7. I still dream about less stress in my life so I need to check all your tips

  8. bianca nunez says:

    thank you for sharing! This is a lot of wonderful information!

  9. Great post. Love the car time and essential oils in shower part. I have essential oils going now to fight a cold.

  10. hahahah i totally take advantage of car time! in the morning i sleep lol and in the afternoons I continue whatever book i’m reading. Awesome tips and wisdom shared

  11. These are just simple things, but we often neglect to do. Thanks for the reminder.

  12. I needed this! Thank you! Such great suggestions. I need to do pretty much every single one of them! xx

  13. That should thing is so true – even if I pencil in time to just chill in front of the fire with a book, I’m constantly thinking I should be filling up my Tailwind queue or something. We are allowed time off!

  14. Oh i needed this!! I get so stressed out so easily. These are always good reminders to take it easy!

  15. Great advice! I definitely find when I’m stressed and short of sleep that it compounds the situation and makes things much worse. Better quality sleep definitely makes things feel much better and helps me to handle the stress in a better manner.

  16. These are great ideas. I love the Don’t Should Yourself. You can get so caught up in that negative thinking that really leaves you nowhere. Kickboxing is always a great stress reliever for me!

  17. Sleeping is so important! There was a time all I did was work late nights and slept maybe 2-4 hours, I started noticing a change in my attitude because I was just so stressed on the amount of work and the lack of sleep wasn’t helping at all.

  18. Yes, sometimes after a long day I find that driving in silence helps me ground myself back to reality, very calming in a sense !!

  19. i could do with less caffeine. it will probably make a world of difference.

  20. Love this! Only I’m not sure if I could reduce caffeine. Diet Coke is what keeps me friendly.

  21. I glad I popped by today! I so need to incorporate some of these. Second time I’ve read about essential oils/aromatherapy today…I think I’m going to invest in some.

  22. Obtaining enough sleep and deep breathing are my go-to stress relievers! So important for maintaining my mental health.

  23. Sleep is essential for me! and yes sometimes I drive with no noise and I always keep it quiet when I get an office day 🙂 Thanks for the oils in the shower trick- I will try that- I love lavender!

  24. I think I need the more peaceful sleep/ And yes to less caffeine. I am like a three cups of coffee drinker which is not so good but I love it. Change is good though! Maybe a new year’s resolution to stop drinking it.

  25. Such great tips as I’m working on this and it’s even harder this time of year. Getting in exercise is key to me and while I don’t get in as much as I want when things get crazy, busy, and stressful but I still get my 30 minutes a day 5-6 days a week. Limiting coffee is another big one for me.

  26. I think the one I am most guilty of on the list is expecting myself to keep a regular routine. I have recently noticed that I get super moody on days that I didn’t get everything I wanted to done. I have started to remind myself there will always be a tomorrow.

  27. I’m a huge stress ball. I love your tips. This year, I’ve been focusing on working out daily and I’ve noticed a huge improvement on my mood and stress levels. Thanks for a great post!

  28. Thank you for sharing these great tips! Simple yet very effective indeed in helping reduce stress. My favorite is not expecting to keep a regular routine. I tend to beat myself up when I don’t

  29. Girl… I have been super stressed lately…. I drink way too much caffeine, get no sleep, and recently haven’t found time to exercise! that could def be the culprit! thank you for the reminders

    THEFOREVERTEACHER

  30. Sonya Kolodziejska says:

    I needed to read this. I am going through a tough time and my street levels are high most days. I have never been a good sleep and i am struggling. My mum often tells me to take a break. So on Wednesday i am taking a day off and going to lunch with my mum, a little shopping and then as an extra treat, ill pick the kids up from school with my mum and we’ll all go out to dinner. So a read day off with no work in the kitchen either.

  31. A lot of people I know love their caffeine and are always complaining about lack of energy and are dependant on coffee. If only they read this article and many more on what really is making them stressed.

  32. So many wonderful tips! I admit, reducing stress is definitely something that I am constantly trying to improve on. I always tend to take on too much or place too much pressure on myself so letting go of the “should” is definitely something that I need to work on. Thanks for sharing!

  33. Gosh I so need this right now. Caring for my little ones has me feeling stressed a lot – especially trying to keep up with my blog! Exercise is my sanity. It gives my brain a rest and I feel SO much better afterwards – like more refreshed 🙂

  34. I definitely have to try out these tips. I usually stress out about small things that are not even important

  35. Loved this post! So insightful. I have always struggled with stress and so was amused to read this! Thanks for sharing

  36. When I’m extra-busy and stressed, I have such a hard time unwinding enough to get extra sleep and also a hard time limiting caffeine. I continue to work in both. I do love essential oils for aromatherapy. They can make a big difference.

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