The holidays are usually considered a time to relax, but life can get stressful during this time and easily feel overwhelming. Whether your stress stems from traveling, family, or work, there are easy and free solutions that can help you relieve stress at home and get a fresh start for the new year.
Create a stress-free environment
Decorate your home or bedroom with things that make you happy, like paintings and living plants. Light aromatic candles and diffuse essential oils to reduce stress levels. Aromatherapy has been proven to reduce perceptions of stress, increase contentment and lower cortisol levels. Decluttering can also contribute to your relaxation, as having a clean space without distractions can be calming. Overall, having a nice clean and organized space can be relaxing to the mind and make it easier to not dwell on stressors in your life.
Establish a daily routine
Routines give life structure, and structure reduces stress. Perhaps you can start each day by making the bed and end it with a face care regimen. In between, compartmentalize the parts of your daily life that allow for a regular routine. For example, create consistent blocks of time in your day to eat meals, take mental breaks, or spend time with loved ones, along with your typical morning and night routine. Having a regular routine allows you to have things to look forward to in the day and can eliminate the stress of the unknown. Making a routine is also an easy and free way to relieve stress at home.
Cut back on electronics
The use of electronics too close to bedtime can disturb sleep. Studies have shown that viewing blue light from screens can block melatonin production, making it harder to fall asleep and disrupting the circadian rhythm. Research has also proven that having less than 5 hours of undisturbed sleep has been related to physical manifestations of stress such as high blood pressure and to high cortisol levels. cortisol is the stress hormone, so elevated levels of it make it harder for the body to relax.
Social media can be a great source of entertainment and information, but it can also be addictive. If you find yourself looking at your phone or computer screen too often in the evening, try switching off devices at least 1 hour before bedtime. If you must use electronics before bed, consider wearing blue light blockers to minimize the adverse effects. This will help you relieve stress and unwind so you can sleep well through the night. A good night of sleep can also help reduce stress levels as well as improve physical and mental health. Sleep is something we do every night, and making sure you sleep well is an easy way to relieve stress at home.
Have an enjoyable day to yourself
If you have a day off, it’s important to ensure that you do not spend the entire time playing video games or watching TV. These activities are more likely to make you feel bored than relaxed. Instead of relying on these types of mindless distractions, try something new! Take up a new hobby, create something with your hands, or spend some time outdoors. Choose to do something that will keep your mind engaged in the present and help you to not focus on your stressors. Escaping a negative thinking spiral of worrying about what’s stressing you out by focusing on something new or physical can help you to relax.
Make music playlists
Music has been shown to reduce stress by causing the brain to synchronize with alpha brain waves, which are present when we are relaxed and conscious. Music can also serve as a distraction from stressors in your life by helping to silence the mind and give you something else to focus on.
You can create playlists of your favorite songs and listen to them when you’re feeling anxious. You can even create a playlist for each different mood; that is, choose songs to play when you are happy, sad, angry, reflective, or whatever other feelings you tend to experience. Consider making a sleep playlist to listen to before bedtime to improve your sleep quality. Creating and listening to playlists of music you enjoy can be a fun outlet and useful tool to help you calm down and process your emotions, which all help to relieve stress.
Write in a gratitude journal
Starting and/or finishing each day by noting three things you are grateful for may reduce stress, help you become more present, and allow you to recognize all the wonderful things that exist in your life on a daily basis. This can be done on paper or through a free gratitude smartphone app like Gratefulness or ThinkUp. The gratitude method is an easy way to relieve stress at home. Even just journaling a few positive things that happened during the day can contribute to a positive mindset. Having a good mindset and being more optimistic about the future can make it easier to cope with stressors and improve your well-being.
Get a massage
Massage therapy has many benefits beyond stress relief. It can help improve blood flow throughout the body, decrease inflammation, reduce discomfort and pain, and ease muscle tension. Massages have also been shown to relieve anxiety or depression by reducing neurotransmitter levels in the brain’s amygdala region, which is the part of the brain responsible for processing emotions.
Massages can also easily be performed at home and don’t necessarily need to be performed on the entire body. For example, you can watch videos on how to give yourself a relaxing facial massage or buy yourself a manual massage tool for ease of use. Taking time for self-care can help you to relax and relieve stress in your life. Giving yourself a massage is another easy and free way to relieve stress at home.
Meditation is a tried and true method to minimize anxiety. As little as 10 minutes a day of meditation has been shown to reduce stress and improve mental and physical health. Meditating can even combat symptoms of anxiety and depression. To meditate, you can play relaxing sounds and music or just sit silently and contemplate. The goal is to train your attention and awareness, achieve mental clarity, and achieve a calm and stable state. But keep in mind there is no wrong way to meditate. Making meditation part of your daily routine is a simple, free, and practical way to decompress and relieve stress at home.
One of the best ways to de-stress is to exercise. Physical activity releases endorphins, which are naturally produced chemicals in the brain that make you feel happy and less anxious. Exercise has been shown to help you sleep better by increasing core body temperature and reducing sleep onset, which is the time spent laying awake in bed before sleeping. Exercising can be as simple as a jog in the neighborhood or as intense as a weight-lifting session. Make it your goal to be physically active for at least 20 minutes a day. Whatever activity you choose, exercise is an easy and free way to decompress your mind and body.
This is just a small sample of the many ways you can de-stress before the new year. Remember, it’s all about finding what works best for you and your schedule. Being able to relax properly is an important part of your mental health. At E.R.E., the physical and mental wellness of both our readers and the communities we support is essential to us. We have a variety of blogs on these topics to help support our audiences. If you found this blog useful, we recommend you check out our blogs on Healthy Habits For Kids, Good Mental Attitude, and Benefits of Giving Back.