Stress can be a great motivator in many aspects of life and can even help keep us safe when we are in danger, but feeling an overwhelming sense of stress from day to day can have a lot of negative impacts on your health. Stress can cause many issues such as; headaches, high blood pressure, GI upset, chest pain, and can disrupt sleep (read about the importance of sleep here).

It is important to learn how your body responds to stress and how to relax during stressful times. Here are some things you can do to help relieve stress. Some of them are “quick fixes” and some of them will require a little more time and planning.

Step away from the situation
If there is something at work or at home (screaming kids maybe?) that is causing stress, get away from the situation. This doesn’t mean you take off for hours at a time, just take a short break to think through things and clear your head. Go lock yourself in the bathroom and read a short article about something that makes you happy, listen to your favorite song, or just sit there and take deep breaths. If you feel like you need to get rid of some pent up energy, go sit in your car or put your head in your pillow and let out a good scream. I tried this once and it just made me laugh at myself which put me in a better mood, haha.

Plan a night out
I know this is not always an easy one. When dealing with a tricky schedule or having kids at home, it can be hard to get away, but sometimes it is well worth the effort. This can be a night out with friends, with your significant other, or even by yourself. Go relax and have fun. 

Treat yourself to something relaxing
Plan a time to go get a massage or a pedicure. Go buy a new book to read or find some new music to listen to. Many people find that it helps them relax when they write down what is going on. It can help you think through the situation and get it out of your mind.

Take a bath
I am normally not a bath lover, but sometimes, it is so nice to sit and soak in the warm water. If you have a hard time sitting and enjoying the silence, read a book or bring your laptop in and turn on your favorite movie while you relax.

Do some yoga
Yoga is all about stretching, relaxing, and focusing your mind. If you do not have access to a yoga class or yoga video, pull up some yoga online and learn some of the moves. Even if you only have 5 minutes, doing a few stretching exercises can help ease stress and rejuvenate you.

Get it out
Talk to someone about what is going on. Find someone that you are able to talk to comfortably and that is a good listener. Sometimes all we need to do is vent before we move on. 

Do something that you love
It is so easy to lose yourself when you work a lot or are taking care of your kids. Remember that you have to take care of yourself too. It is hard to make other people happy when you are not happy. Take time to do hobbies that you love doing or take time to develop a new hobby.

Get some fresh air
Go for a short (or long) walk, run, bike ride, anything to get outside! Go enjoy the unique beauty around you and let your mind wander. I think it is easy to forget how good it feels to be out in the fresh air and there are too many days where the only time we are outside is to walk to and from our car. Breathing in fresh air can have profound effects on stress relief.

Getting your heart rate up and your body going is a great way to release stress and also can help you think through problems you are facing. It is amazing how exercise can heal so many physical and mental problems. Someone I am very close with was going through chemotherapy for breast cancer, but was determined to continue any type of exercise she could and as often as she could. It was very apparent in her situation that exercise was helping her and her body deal with this tremendous amount of stress. Even though exercising may be the last thing you want to do when you are stressed, it is one of the best things you can do. Exercise releases endorphin’s which are your bodies feel good hormones. Endorphin’s will give you a “runners high” (although you can get this from all types of exercise, not just running) and can help you forget about all those things that have been weighing on your mind.

I hope everyone can have a happy and stress free weekend!