We all know prolonged stress can lead to frustration, anxiety, and burnout if left unchecked. It can impair your memory, concentration, and other cognitive abilities, too, while also affecting your physical health. From high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, insomnia, and a range of other ailments – now more than ever, it’s crucial to adopt stress-relieving activities to counteract the ravages of stress.
Yet, stress is inevitable in modern-day life; it’s bound to creep into your life at some point. Therefore, effective techniques to relieve stress are essential for preventing it from escalating into a debilitating state. With this in mind, we’re sharing some surefire stress-relieving activities you can practice at home.
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Research confirms a direct link between physical activity and stress relief. Exercising lowers adrenaline, cortisol, and other stress hormones and increases the production of endorphins—the feel-good chemical that could boost your mood and help you relax.
It can also alleviate common outcomes of chronic stress, including anxiety and depression. Not only that, a good workout allows you to refocus your attention on physical activities and take your mind off stress-causing events.
But what type of exercise should you pursue? Just about anything would do—from jogging, running, cycling, and swimming to aerobics and Pilates. These are all excellent options to include in your daily routine. They could even be helpful when you find yourself in a situation with elevated stress and want a quick remedy to relax.
And if you don’t usually exercise much, start small and progress with incremental steps. Spend 20 minutes in the morning each day and gradually increase your workout routine.
Getting enough sleep is crucial for both your mind and body to rest and recover from stress. Most body functions—from heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing to temperature—slow down or reduce during your slumber. The production of stress hormones is also found to decrease during this time.
So, after a good night’s sleep, you will feel refreshed and calmer. You can focus better on the task at hand with sharper cognitive abilities. Even a short mid-day nap can yield a significant improvement in these areas.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that individuals aged 18 and above get at least seven or more hours of sleep for optimal health.
And what happens if you don’t get enough shut-eye on a regular basis? It could lead to irritability, impaired memory, inability to focus and make decisions, and eventually stress.
To ensure you enjoy high-quality sleep, making time for it is vital, no matter how busy you are. Ensure your bedroom is noise-proof, close the blinds, eliminate any light-related disturbances, and set the thermostat to a comfortable level.
Keep electronic devices—including your phone, laptop, and television—away from the room, and avoid them at least one hour before you retire for the day. Have a light dinner, drink less water closer to bedtime, and dress appropriately so you don’t feel overly cold or warm during the night.
If you are continuously having trouble sleeping, get help from a medical professional. You can speak to your doctor or find a sleep therapist near you on Leadar.
This is another effective activity to build into your daily routine to achieve relaxation. Meditation enables you to take a step back and understand the flow of thoughts that disturbs your state of mind and gain better clarity in thinking.
Guided and breath meditations are ideal if you are new to this practice. They can help you achieve instant relaxation, both mentally and physically. For instance, deep breathing brings more oxygen into your blood flow, slowing your heart rate, and helping your body and mind relax.
You can practice meditation anywhere, anytime. However, assigning a few minutes for it early morning is always better to start the day with a calmer and more optimistic outlook.
Prepare a quiet place in your house or apartment for meditation. It could even be an outdoor space where you can sit undisturbed. Free it from clutter and light an incense stick or scented candle to create a serene environment. And download Insight Timer, Calm, or a similar meditation app to guide you.
Do Something That Makes You Happy
When you experience elevated stress, taking your attention away from its causes is important for minimizing its influence on your mental and physical well-being. Focusing on an activity that brings you joy is an excellent option to achieve this.
You may enjoy dancing, painting, baking, or listening to music. Any one of these activities could significantly impact reducing your stress levels.
Group activities, in particular, have a notable effect on many people. After all, human connection and support play an essential role in happiness and well-being. And when you are happy, you smile and laugh more—proven methods to reduce muscle tension and improve mood.
So, consider what brings you joy, even momentarily. It could be spending time with your kids or partner. If so, watch a movie together, plan a picnic, or go for a walk.
Spend Time With Nature
Studies suggest that getting outside and appreciating nature can reduce fatigue and stress, improve mood, and boost creativity, focus, and happiness. Horticultural therapy can also increase the sense of well-being for those with anxiety and depression.
Concepts such as ecotherapy and forest bathing (known as Shinrin-yoku) have grown in popularity recently for their proven mental health benefits, especially for individuals leading hectic urban lives.
Therefore, spend time outdoors—go for a stroll, tend to your garden, or just sit on your lawn and absorb your surroundings.
Even indoor greenery could make a difference. Researchers have found it to have therapeutic effects in reducing employees’ stress response at work.
Concluding Thoughts About Stress-Relieving Activities You Can Do From Home
Over time, stress can lead to debilitating repercussions, affecting your mental and physical well-being. Therefore, developing a plan for effectively managing it is critical when constantly juggling life’s many challenges and responsibilities.
Regular exercise, sufficient sleep, and meditation are proven stress-relieving techniques you can practice at home. Spending time with nature and engaging in activities that bring you joy are also essential.