Tag Archives: stress

5 Easy Ways to De-Stress

April is Stress Awareness Month, and that’s a very good thing indeed, because being aware of the constant stress modern life brings and doing something about it is one of the best things we can do to become healthier.

Never Ending Stress is Bad for Us

Modern life is filled with low-grade, unrelenting stress (deadlines to meet, bad traffic, difficult boss or coworkers, juggling work and family), while humans have evolved to cope with brief periods of intense stress (escaping a wild animal). This constant modern stress is very hard on us, and is the cause behind many modern ailments, including high blood pressure, insomnia, migraines and more.

How to Manage Stress

It’s extremely important that we learn to manage stress. It can literally save our lives. Here are five ways to de-stress:

1. Eliminate stressors. This is probably the best way to manage stress. Take a long, hard look at your life and assess what are the things that cause you stress. Then figure out which of those you can eliminate. Good examples are toxic friends, and volunteering for too many activities at your kids’ schools.

A daily commute and a stressful job are harder to eliminate, but if possible, see if you can telecommute once a week, and if your job is causing you a great deal of stress, it might be a good idea to at least interview and see if you can find something better.

2. Breathe Deeply. Cortisol is a hormone produced in the adrenal glands in response to stress. When your body is under chronic stress, your cortisol levels are constantly high, which makes you susceptible to disease. A short session of slowly, deeply inhaling and exhaling has been shown to lower cortisol levels AND blood pressure.

3. Exercise. Exercise boosts endorphins, helps you forget your troubles (even if just for a short while) and relieves stress. Combine exercise with music, also a proven relaxer, for an even greater impact. One of us here at VOSKOS loves her daily walks – 30 blissful minutes of walking in the sun, listening to music and NOT thinking about work!

4. Go outside. Speaking of the sun, sunlight is a great stress reliever. We’ve been taught to avoid the sun at all costs, but 20 minutes of sun exposure per day are actually very good for us. Sun exposure decreases melatonin, the sleep hormone, and increases serotonin, which promotes feelings of happiness. Think about how good it is to feel the warmth of the sun on your skin – just thinking about it is relaxing!

5. Take a Nap. If you can incorporate a short, 20-minute nap into your early afternoon, go for it. Just like deep breathing, napping reduces cortisol levels. It can provide a very welcome reboot to a stressful day. Just make sure you keep your nap short, so it doesn’t interfere with a good night’s sleep.

There are many more ways to relax, including meditation, massage, and adopting a pet. Find what works for you, and incorporate it into your day.