During April, Stress Awareness Month is observed. The last thing we want to do is celebrate Stress Awareness Month by creating more stress, so we put together a list of some activities you can do to combat stress.
Stress can take many forms and not everybody experiences stress in the same way. HelpGuide.org reminds us that stress can creep up very easily, that you can easily get used to it and it can start to feel familiar, even normal. You may not notice how much it is affecting you.
Some health problems caused or exacerbated by stress:
Luckily, there are some easy activities you can do to prevent and manage stress. Here are some ideas we borrowed from The American Institute of Stress:
Do a quick exercise
Quick bursts of movement are great if stress is making you feel jittery or like your heart is racing. You can try exercises as simple as a set of jumping jacks, push-ups, sit-ups or running in place. These small bursts of activity help activate neurotransmitters that can enhance your mood and help with anxiety and stress.
Do something tactile
To get out of your head and engage your senses, try doing something tactile like popping bubble wrap or sorting out your change jar. You can also try a quick exercise where you ask yourself: What is one thing I can smell, one thing I can taste, one thing I can touch, etc.?
Point your brain at a problem
Problems sound counterintuitive to combating stress, but doing things like organizing shoes or working on a word puzzle can help satisfy your anxious brain’s urge to solve problems. Giving yourself a task to focus on can help you feel calmer and better equipped to deal with what is actually stressing you out.
Something as simple as pressing play on your favorite playlist and letting loose is not only a good exercise, but also a great stress-reliever! It can also make you feel joyful and inspired as well as trigger positive memories.
“Stressed” spelled backwards is “desserts”. So, what better way to turn your stress around than by baking something? Baking checks several stress-reduction boxes – it can be a sensory experience, a project that requires planning, concentration and mindfulness and it’s fun. If you’re not into sweets, you can try baking something savory like a healthy pizza.