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Guest post by Anna Fox
As someone who suffers from anxiety myself, along with the frantic nature of ADHD mixed with just a dash of depression, I understand how constantly overwhelming things can get. Taking care of kids, keeping the household moving, working a job you hate but need to keep food on the table, or even trying to build your career.
It all can pile up and before you realize it, you’re trapped in a thought spiral, feeling like your heart is going to burst out of your chest if your skull doesn’t collapse in on itself first.
Car pools, bills, after school programs, housework, paid work, holidays, emergencies, morning commutes… life is full of little stresses that can really add up through the day. It is no wonder medications for anxiety and depression are more commonly prescribed now than ever before, with the amount of activity slammed into the average day.
If you are under some strain don’t tear out your hair just yet. There are some unconventional but useful ways that you can naturally trick the body in to releasing some of that tension. Some are as simple as doing something proven to improve stress levels and some are physical tips that can help you keep your cool.
Minimize Your Surroundings
I don’t mean shrink down the size of your apartment. I mean utilize some of that space by getting rid of things in your home you no longer need.
It may seem trite, but having a cleaner, more open space around you with less clutter will make you feel much less overwhelmed. Not to mention the positive feeling of donating your belongings or just cleaning up.
Put It All Off
You have a to-do list 10 pages long, all with items such as wash the car, mow the lawn, fix that drawer that has been rattling in the kitchen. But have you ever thought of taking a look at that list and then purposefully not doing any of it? Sometimes ignoring responsibilities can be good for us.
Remind Yourself of Positive Things
This guide on creating a weekly and monthly planner got me really inspired: Putting things like “What I was grateful for last week” as a reminder in the next week’s planner really encourages you to think about positive things. I’ve been trying to do that for a couple of weeks and feel much better already!
Massage Pressure Points
Have a tension headache? Try pressing the portion of your hand between you thumb and forefinger. Feeling a little depressed or overwhelmed? Try massaging behind your ear. Stressed of angry? Pinch the bridge of your nose. Little parts of the body can have a major effect on the brain by releasing endorphins and making you feel more like yourself.
Take a Few Minutes Out
Being flustered is never a good thing, and can actually keep you from thinking clearly and so set you further back. If you are finding yourself barely functioning then take some time to do something else. Have a bath, take a walk or just close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. Even pulling over to calm down in a moment of road rage can be helpful.
When was the last time you spent an entire weekend at home in your pajamas? Staycations are fantastic opportunities to unwind and just enjoy some time without stress. Whether you get a couple of books to read or go on a movie marathon, it is a great method of regrouping before work begins once again.
Make breaks part of your schedule
As mentioned above, breaks are important. But you should have two types: real breaks, and mini breaks. A real break is any time you get up from your work for a significant amount of time, from 15 – 60 minutes. A mini break lasts a couple of minutes, and should happen at least once every two hours. Though once an hour is preferable. Try a website like Calm.com for their mini breathing meditations that can help you to refuel.
Making sure to exercise regularly is a great way to release nervous energy and tensions, whilst increasing the production level of endorphins in your body for that added feel good factor. A vigorous exercise routine can help focus the mind on the task at hand, giving a much needed break from whatever worries were causing the stress in the first place.
There are no specific exercises for dealing with stress, instead the key is to find a routine that works well for you. People who have never exercised regularly before may find it difficult to get into the swing of things, but after a couple of weeks you’ll be amazed at just how different you feel and going to the gym something you actually look forward to.
None of this is a substitute for medication if you need it, but if you are suffering from the every day stresses of life you have options. Just take some time to calm yourself down, enjoy the things you love and take a few deep breaths. You don’t have to lose it, no matter how much there is going on.
Anna Fox is a blogger at Hire Bloggers, stay-at-home mom and a freelancer. Follow her on Twitter as @hireblogger
Final thoughts –
I think these are some really great tips for relieving stress and easing the tension that can build up in your body as a result. There are several in this list that are musts for me when I start feeling overwhelmed. Thank you so much Anna for sharing these!