Every day, the world gets more stressful. With the pandemic, uncertain political situation around the globe and ecological crisis we’re all going through, it’s really hard to just relax and enjoy life. Many people try to bury themselves in work, but that just adds more stress to their shoulders. While there’s nothing much we can do to fix the world in an hour, we can all take one and practice some art of relaxation. Here are some great activities that will help you with quick stress relief.
Activate your senses
When stress gets you to overthink and panic, try to get out of your head by using your other senses, mostly touch. No matter what you take up, bubble wrap popping, sorting change, touching slime or knitting, it can bring you back into your body. Another great exercise to try is asking yourself to name five things you can see, four things you can touch, three things you can hear and so on, until you activate all your senses.
Give yourself a massage
You don’t need a partner for a quick massage. The skin has various sensory receptors that send messages to the brain whether it’s safe to relax or not. When you’re getting gently massaged, your brain will realize it can relax. Massages also make you more aware of your body and some crucial spots where you keep tension, so you can consciously work on relaxing them.
Take a bath
Run a quick bath to change the temperature of your body. This practice will provide you with a full-body sensory slowing down, like rebooting a computer. By emerging yourself in water, you will turn off all the stress and restart all your systems so they can work better. If you want, you can boost your water relaxation with other tools like chill music or fragrant bath bubbles.
While you can’t teleport to a local park every time you feel stressed at work, you can go outside the building or your house to cool off a little. Smokers usually state that that’s their favorite part of being into cigarettes—5 minutes alone, outside, in peace. But you should still try to give up smoking, or at least try to replace it with something less addictive, such as vaping. Grab a puff bar alternative, and you’ll see that they provide you with the same effect but with a lot less smell and other gross things. Once you give up smoking completely, don’t give up your 5-minute breaks to cool your head, catch your breath and unwind.
Try to meditate
This is a well-researched stress relief practice, but many people don’t even try it because they are sure they can’t pull it off. In reality, meditation is very simple and effective, even if you do it for only a few minutes. Don’t try to clear your mind, just focus on deep breaths that will calm your central nervous and cardiovascular systems. If you need some help with guidance, there are great meditation apps that will help you with your breathing exercises and help you relax.
Do some exercise
Exercise is great for stress relief, even if you don’t have time for a full 90-minute gym session. A routine of just 20 jumping jacks, 10 pushups and 30 seconds of jogging in place will get your heart rate up and activate neurotransmitters that produce dopamine and serotonin, hormones that boost mood and relieve emotional stress and anxiety.
To reap the benefits of this practice, you don’t need any tools. You don’t even have to be flexible! There’s a ton of research connected to yoga’s role in relaxation, but just taking 10 minutes to stretch in a way that feels good to you will also work wonders for stress reduction. You can combine your stretching exercises with yoga or just do them alone whenever you feel tense.
The key to stress relief is to find something that works for you, your lifestyle and your schedule. You might not be able to take a quick bath in the middle of your workday, but you can stretch in your chair or give yourself a massage. Whatever method suits you, give it a try whenever you feel overwhelmed and tense and you’ll soon start to reap many benefits.