Throughout our lives, we experience two types of stress.
“Eustress,” or the stress you experience when going on a date, or competing for a promotion, is your body’s normal reaction to help you meet your daily challenges and motivate you to achieve your goals.
It’s when pressure comes from negative circumstances such as the loss of a job, death of a close one, divorce, or health issues, that you’re exposed to bad, or acute stress.
If this stress is consistent and gets left untreated, it can overwhelm you and take a toll on your well-being.
The good news is, there are plenty of stress relief tips you can use to take control and minimize the effects that negative stress has on your mental health.
These stress relief tips are exactly what this article covers.
Read along for:
- 11 Tips to Effectively Reduce Your Stress
- 4 Stress Relief Tips for Students
- 3 Stress Relief Tips for Parents
- 3 Stress Relief Tips for the Workplace
11 Tips to Effectively Reduce Your Stress
While you can’t entirely avoid stress and all the situations that may cause it, several stress relief tips can help you handle it healthily.
Here are 11 tips to effectively reduce your stress:
Stress Relief Tip #1: Practice Relaxation Techniques
When you’re stressed out, your body’s adrenaline and blood pressure increase, the heart pounds faster, muscles tighten, and breath quickens. This reaction allows you to better respond to threats and challenges.
It’s when it becomes a common occurrence, that stress turns into an issue. Experiencing ongoing stress highly damages the immune system and leads to serious issues such as adrenal fatigue, high blood pressure, heart disease, and vulnerability to mental health issues.
This is where relaxation techniques come in handy. These exercises have a “reversal effect” on your body’s stress response. They help you relax by lowering your blood pressure and heart rate.
Some relaxation techniques you can try out include:
- Breath focus. In this exercise, you take long, slow, deep breaths through your nose, and exhale through your mouth for 10 to 20 minutes daily.
- Body scan meditation. In this meditation, you focus your attention on various parts of your body and slowly relax each muscle group.
- Visualization. This technique focuses on forming mental images that take you through a visual journey in a peaceful, calming place or situation of your choosing.
Stress Relief Tip #2: Exercise Regularly
Any form of exercise can act as a stress relief. You can go for a brisk walk or run, dance, swim, hit the gym, climb up the stairs - any of these activities can boost your feel-good endorphins and help ease the stress from your daily worries.
Choose whatever form of exercise you love best and pencil it in your schedule so that it becomes a priority.
If you want to learn about other ways you can naturally boost your hormones, head over to our guide on how to balance your hormones naturally.
Stress Relief Tip #3: Listen to Music
When they go through stressful times, people tend to stop listening to music. It can feel like a waste of time and as though it doesn’t help solve anything.
And yet, listening to music is one of the most effective stress relief tips you can use.
Research shows that listening to music reduces the production of the stress hormone cortisol, absorbs our attention, and acts as a distraction from our stressors. This has a domino effect on our concentration levels, productivity, and the immune system’s effectiveness.
You can listen to whatever best suits your music taste on your way to work or school, during a shower, while exercising, before going to sleep, or during your free time.
Stress Relief Tip #4: Journalize
Did you keep a diary when you were a kid? If you did, chances are you already know how relieving it feels to have a place to “confess” your struggles and fears without judgment.
And though most of us stop writing in a diary as we grow old, its benefits remain the same. Journaling helps us manage and reduce anxiety, process emotions, recognize triggers and prioritize problems and challenges.
Try to set aside 15 to 30 minutes each day, find a soothing place, take your favorite snack or drink with you, and write down whatever you think and feel.
Stress Relief Tip #5: Maintain a Well-Balanced Diet
When you eat nutritiously, you strengthen your immune system and build a good defense against your stress.
Here are some tips you can follow to help you establish and maintain a well-balanced diet:
- Eat foods rich in Vitamin C. Studies suggest that vitamin C helps reduce levels of stress hormones while strengthening your immune system. Oranges, broccoli, potatoes, red bell peppers are among the many sources of vitamin C.
- Consume fatty fish. They’re filled with Omega-3 fatty acids, which prevent surges of stress hormones.
- Sip on hormone-balancing drinks. Green tea, water, warm milk, and fruit juices balance your stress levels and take the edge off stress and anxiety.
- Avoid or limit coffee consumption. Caffeine can stimulate your “fight or flight” response, which makes your stress feel worse, and can even trigger an anxiety attack.
Stress Relief Tip #6: Take Natural Supplements
While keeping a well-balanced diet is a great stress relief tip, sometimes you need extra support from natural vitamins and supplements to help combat stress.
Here are our top 3 picks for the best stress relief vitamins and supplements:
- Organic Ashwagandha is a powerful adaptogen that supports your adrenal health and fatigue. This herb has been used for thousands of years. It normalizes your cortisol levels, relieves stress, and boosts the immune system.
- Be Grounded is great if you’ve been experiencing sudden stress and anxiety. The formula provides a fast-acting relief that alleviates your mental and physical stressors when you need it the most.
- Namastay to Bed is made out of a curated collection of herbs that help you fall asleep. So, if you have trouble sleeping due to your high-stress levels, the supplement resists these stressors and eases your brain into a good night’s sleep.
Stress Relief Tip #7: Stay in the Sun
Sun exposure increases the brain’s release of serotonin, which makes you feel happier, calmer, and more concentrated.
Try to get at least 15 minutes of sun a day to benefit from these mood-boosting effects. But don’t forget to protect yourself while doing so by wearing sunscreen of (at least) 15 SPF.
For more information on the link between sunshine and stress relief, read our guide on vitamin D & hormone balance.
Stress Relief Tip #8: Seek Social Support
Having a strong social support system in times of crisis helps reduce distress, promotes lifelong good mental health, enhances our self-confidence, and boosts our emotional well-being.
Your social support system could be anyone, starting from your parents, siblings, relatives, friends, partner, and spouse, all the way to your counselor, or healthcare provider.
Stress Relief Tip #9: Improve Sleep Quality
Sleep is a vital human function. It recharges your brain and rests your body. Hence, even the slightest sleep deprivation can affect your mood, memory, concentration, and stress levels.
According to an APA study, adults who sleep less than 8 hours per night report higher levels of stress than those who get a full 8-hour of night’s sleep.
Here are some tips you can follow to get a better night’s sleep:
- Reduce blue light exposure during the evening by reducing your screen time.
- Don’t consume coffee after 2 pm.
- Avoid alcohol and energy drinks before sleep.
- Take a melatonin supplement.
- Drink a glass of grape juice to regulate your insulin levels.
- Take a hot relaxing bath.
- Meditate, or practice any other relaxation technique for a few minutes to calm down your nervous system.
Stress Relief Tip #10: Light a Scented Candle
The fragrance of a scented candle enhances memory and mood area of your brain. That’s why its healing benefits can have positive psychological effects, such as a boost of energy, stress reduction, and improved mental clarity.
Choose a scented candle that appeals to your preferences and light it 1-2 times a day, for 20-30 minutes.
Stress Relief Tip #11: Eat Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate is full of flavonols, such as epicatechin and catechin, that act as antioxidants. It’s been shown to improve memory, concentration and reduce stress levels. Eat at around 30 to 60 grams (around 2 blocks) whenever you’re feeling too stressed out.
4 Stress-Relief Tips for Students
Exams, academic papers, and project deadlines can cause a lot of academic pressure for students.
Here are 4 easy and convenient stress relief tips for students:
Stress Relief Tip #1: Stay Organized
Knowing how to organize your schoolwork is crucial if you want to make the most of your education and prevent work from piling up and becoming overwhelming.
Start by writing down your to-dos—homework assignments, project due dates, test dates, paper topics.
Then, create a tentative weekly schedule outlining when and for how many hours you’ll study for each subject and task.
When you’re actually studying, break down each big assignment into smaller bits and tasks so that each piece of work feels more manageable and less stressful.
Stress Relief Tip #2: Create a Soothing Study Environment
Where you study is just as important as how you study. Numerous studies have shown that your surroundings affect your concentration, comfort, productivity, and how well you’ll recall information.
Find a room or area and create your study place, so that whenever you enter that space, your brain automatically goes on study mode. Listen to ambient music to increase focus and turn off your phone’s notifications so that you’re not distracted.
Stress Relief Tip #3: Adopt Anti-Procrastination Strategies
Procrastination is an unhealthy trap that many of us fall into. And while the occasional procrastination doesn’t create problems in the long term, constant procrastination is destructive for your mental health, causing chronic stress, anxiety, and hypertension.
Here are some anti-procrastination strategies you can use to ease these symptoms:
- Promise yourself a reward if you complete a task, such as a slice of your favorite cake or a night out at your favorite bar.
- Minimize distractions. Turn off your notifications on your phone and stay away from the TV.
- Keep a to-do list to prevent yourself from “conveniently” forgetting about important and impending tasks.
- Create a study place, preferably close to natural light.
Stress Relief Tip #4: Find a Stress Outlet
45% of college students say that they experience "above average stress”, and 87% of them express feeling overwhelmed by the work they’re given.
That’s why it’s crucial to find outlets to release stress healthily.
Here are some options:
- Getting active, e.g: playing your favorite sport.
- Talking it out or journaling your feelings.
- Chewing gum.
- Squeezing a stress ball.
- Playing with a pet.
3 Stress-Relief Tips for Parents
Being a parent surely isn’t easy—at times, it can make you feel ill, stressed, angry, or tired. This harms your well-being, and may even negatively affect your parent-child relationship.
Follow these 3 stress-relief tips to help manage parental stress:
Stress Relief Tip #1: Create a Support System
Being part of a parent support system allows you to get help in a time of crisis, as well as share experiences and parenting methods.
Your spouse, friends, and family can be the first people to turn to for a word of advice, a listening ear, or a helping hand in a stressful situation.
However, not everyone has access to this type of support. You could be a single parent, and your friends and family won’t always be there to pick up the phone or hang out.
So, consider other alternatives such as joining community groups, online forums, or calling your national parenting hotline for any needed advice and emotional support.
Stress Relief Tip #2: Get a Massage
Parenting can be extremely overwhelming, to the point where you may neglect your own well-being and self-care to meet your children’s needs. This can lead to increased levels of stress, chronic fatigue, irritability, and loss of patience.
So, as a parent, it’s crucial that you take a break—not only to relieve some stress but also to continue raising your child to the best of your abilities.
One great way to do this is by getting a massage or spending a few hours at your favorite spa. This form of self-care helps decrease stress by lowering the heart rate, relaxing muscle soreness, and releasing endorphins.
Stress Relief Tip #3: Read Parent Guidance Books
Do you have self-doubts about your parenting and find yourself constantly reevaluating everything you’re doing?
Let us tell you—the feeling is absolutely normal. At some point, every parent feels as though they’re not doing a good enough job being a parent.
To help ease this pressure and help you regain confidence in your parenting, consider reading books on child psychology, child development, breastfeeding, and parent guidance.
3 Stress-Relief Tips for the Workplace
Whether we like it or not, work is where we spend most of our day as adults.
But if our work routine consists entirely of heavy workloads, tight deadlines, conflict in the workplace, or other stress-inducing factors, it’s easy to get burnout and experience high levels of anxiety.
Here are 3 stress relief tips for the workplace:
Stress Relief Tip #1: Establish Boundaries
When you take on more responsibilities than you can handle, burnout negatively affects your stress levels and health. You’ll experience emotional exhaustion, high anxiety, difficulty concentrating, decreased productivity, and overall job dissatisfaction.
That’s why it’s important to establish boundaries, as well as address heavy workloads and any unrealistic job expectations.
Here are some tips on how to set healthy boundaries:
- Learn how to say no. For example, it’s okay to say no to extra work that you don’t have time or energy to complete.
- Take a vacation and mental health days. Don’t be afraid to take a break from your responsibilities to recharge.
- Only answer emails and phone calls during work hours.
- Don’t skip breaks. If a meeting is scheduled during your break, set boundaries by asking for a chance to reschedule or push it back.
Stress Relief Tip #2: Prioritize and Organize
The greatest way to deal with overwhelming work is through organization and prioritization. Sit down and set clear work objectives, focus on 2-3 main tasks a week, make a to-do list, set realistic deadlines, and plan everything in an online calendar (why not by also setting up reminders?).
Stress Relief Tip #3: Avoid Conflict
Conflict, disagreements, and disputes are an inevitable part of daily work life. According to research, 85% of employees have to deal with conflict at some point.
If left unresolved, they can lead to frustration, loss of sleep, and a lot of stress and irritability.
Now, although there’s no way to avoid disagreements, you can learn how to manage and limit them through different tactics:
- Stay positive. A cheerful attitude makes it difficult for others to act badly around you and reduces the chance of getting into a serious dispute.
- Be respectful. Treat people as you’d like to be treated. Try to cooperate, say thank you, and keep your body language open and friendly.
- Don’t gossip and discourage gossipers. Talking about people is a waste of time—it decreases productivity, destroys trust levels, and increases anxiety and confusion among colleagues.
The best protector against stress is a strong immune system, which you can build by regularly exercising, eating healthy food, taking natural supplements, staying in the sun, and getting enough hours of sleep at night.
Having a healthy support system that can help you get through a time of crisis is another essential stress relief tip that promotes lifelong good mental health.