If I’ve learned anything in recent years is that more people experience stress and anxiety than almost any other condition. The fast pace of our daily lives, and the pressure of our jobs and families can add up over time. I’ve spent a lot of time learning different ways to relieve my stress and anxiety. Many of these seem simple but all new habits take time to implement so give yourself a break, and try out one or two of these practical hacks for stress relief.
Keep cell phones out of the bedroom– I know this one is so hard!!! I am a total hypocrite for even writing this because I fall back into this habit all the time. I like to fall asleep to Gilmore Girls what can I say! It really does make a difference to take your phones out of the bedroom for many reasons. For one, blue light from screens has been known to disrupt melatonin in the brain which helps us wind down for sleep. This causes us to not only lose sleep but also lose quality sleep because our brains remain more active even when we are sleeping. They do make glasses that block blue light from screens like these (which I totally have by the way cuz I’m cool like that) that are supposed to help. I can honestly say that I have a harder time waking up in the morning after nights when I use my phone before falling asleep- and since Instagram stories became a thing it’s been a major problem in my life.
Exercise or Yoga– One word…Endorphins!!!! Movement releases stress-relieving hormones, duh. This is not breaking news people. But here’s where you can take it to the next level. Instead of just pushing through your workout, try turning down the volume on the workout video or stop watching f*cking CNN at the gym and listen to a motivational or personal development podcast while you workout. I seriously push myself so much harder when listening to this type of stuff. I get a better workout, and my mind gets a boost too! For a more calming type of stress relief give Yin Yoga a try!
Establish morning and evening routines– Stress relief is often cumulative. When you do stress reliving activities on a regular basis you experience far less stress than if you only engaged in stress relief when you were really stressed out. Therefore, establishing a regular morning and evening routine that you do every day will help maintain your happy relaxed state over the long term. A typical morning routine may include exercise, yoga, meditation/prayer, journaling, gratitude, and a quiet meal free of distractions.
Sleep Hygiene– Sleep hygiene refers to how well you take care of yourself and your environment in preparation for optimal sleep. Some of the fundamentals of sleep hygiene include a dark space and limiting noises and light from phones, tv’s, and digital alarm clocks. Maintaining an environment that promotes optimal sleep is key in sleep hygiene. Also very important are how we treat our bodies before bed. That includes limiting alcohol (oops, sipping wine as I write this no joke), caffeine, sugar, and any other stimulants several hours before bedtime, as well as turning off all screens at least an hour before turning in.
Guided Meditation or Deep Breathing- Yes I am a yoga instructor. Yes I tell people all the time how important the breath is. Does it ever get old? HELL to the NO! Breathing is LITERALLY something you do every second of your life, yet so many of us actually breathe wrong. Yes you read that correctly. There’s a good chance you’re breathing wrong right now. No need to freak out though! Guided meditations are everywhere these days, and most of the time you can find great ones for free on youtube and spotify.
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