The stress of life and living
Living in this century does not just bring in the comforts and conveniences of technology and fame but also the constant stress that is following you. The stress, tension and the constant need to stay above everyone else, perform better than anyone else and rest less than anyone else. As humans, the need for more engulfs us so much sometimes that we forget to take rest and unwind. As this builds up, there comes a volcano of emotions that bursts all of a sudden leaving us with feelings of overwhelm and anxiety.
Thus, if you are the type of person who forgot the last time you took a break and are riddled with stress, here we list a few things that can help you unwind.
Start connecting with yourself
Being connected with yourself, in simple words hints to meditation and mindfulness. Meditating is an old practice that has helped countless saints and sages to connect more with themselves and the Divine. But, you don’t need to reach that level just yet! All you need to do is practice some meditation, concentrate on yourself, play some soothing music and try to shut off all the distracting voices in your head. Sit down, calm your nerves and focus not on the world and its worries but rather your breathing that shows you that you are alive and thriving. It helps reduce stress by promoting relaxation, reducing negative emotions and enhances self-awareness.
Physical activity, be it in the form of a brisk walk, some yoga, pilates or a full blown HIIT session, can help your body release endorphins that act as natural stress relievers. Exercise helps reduce cortisol, the stress hormone and promotes the production of dopamine and serotonin, which helps reduce stress, tensions and lift your mood. Plus, regular exercise aids in better sleep, further reducing stress levels and ensuring you start a new day with a fresh and rested mind.
An old saying goes, ‘Good food, good mood’. While this is now interpreted as having heavy meals for flavour satisfaction, we now have enough knowledge to see it for what it actually is! Good food, in the form of a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains is essential for stress reduction, weight management and managing your hormones. Certain foods like dark chocolate, avocados and nuts contain stress-reducing nutrients such as magnesium and antioxidants. Avoiding excess caffeine, sugar and processed foods can also help keep your energy levels stable, reducing stress-inducing fluctuations.
Deep breathing techniques
Practicing deep breathing exercises, such as diaphragmatic breathing, lion’s breath or the 4-7-8 technique, helps activate the body’s relaxation response. Deep breathing slows down the heart rate, lowers blood pressure and increases oxygen flow to the brain, promoting a sense of calmness and reducing stress levels. Regular deep breathing coupled with meditation can help you stay calm during stressful situations and maintain your cool in certain situations.
Don’t lose your hobbies
Doing activities that you enjoy, be it painting, gardening, playing the guitar, reading or even something as little as sleeping when you wish to provide an outlet for stress relief. Hobbies divert your attention from things that lead to stress and anxiety and these little activities allow the mind to relax and unwind. Immersing oneself in enjoyable activities promotes a sense of accomplishment and happiness, reducing stress levels.
A rather underrated way to care for yourself is through self-care! And remind you, self care is not just about expensive beauty creams and snail mucin, but also about setting boundaries in personal and professional life. Self care is much more than gua sha, 5 minutes a day and does extend to just being with yourself for those 5 minutes. So, do the self-care activity that pleases you. Make an elaborate skincare routine, or a hair care routine, make an Instagram page and dance your heart out or write poetry about what happened during the day. Whatever you do, make sure you are happy, for happiness is the biggest enemy of stressors.
Having an active social life
Staying connected with your friends and family gives you the opportunity to socialize and unwind on the weekends or by attending the gatherings and parties. This can significantly reduce stress as when you come together, you share feelings, sorrow, worries, happiness and come out stronger by listening to others. Seeking some advice or just normally spending time with someone fosters a sense of belonging and security. Social support also helps in releasing oxytocin, a hormone that reduces stress and promotes relaxation.