It’s been an extremely stressful year for millions of people around the globe as they have been forced to respond to the effects of a global pandemic, social distancing regulations, and economic hardship. Many individuals have also had to dramatically alter their lifestyle to adapt to remote work policies introduced by the companies they work for. These pressing global issues and the social changes they’ve presented have many people feeling anxious and uncertain about their futures.
As a result, it’s more important than ever to explore methods to ease stress, especially when spending more time at home while working remotely. It can be difficult to know where to turn when seeking out safe ways to relax and destress while still remaining productive. So, let’s explore five things you can do at home to ease stress in these chaotic times.
1. Adopt Soothing Daily Rituals
Routines and habits that have a calming effect on the mind can be a subtle but powerful method for easing stress. These habits could range from a calming cup of tea to a short jog through the park. It’s best to choose habits that have a positive impact on physical health as well.
Many people find smoking cigarettes relaxing, but that probably isn’t a daily habit you want to adopt. Instead, choose habits that benefit your physical health as well as help to manage stress. A daily ritual can have a centering effect that gives people the chance to regroup and return to a state of equilibrium every day.
It’s best to think about healthy habits that you already find relaxing and simply committing to introduce them into your daily routine. This can be an easier process than coming up with new habits to adopt.
Creating social pressure by telling friends and family about your new commitment can be a great way to solidify the behaviour. Make sure to make your new habit extremely achievable and natural. Don’t get too ambitious by setting goals that are unrealistic, and instead make them rituals that you already enjoy and find soothing.
2. Commit to a Meditation Practice
Meditation has been proven to be effective in relieving stress and anxiety in several studies. What’s more, many of these studies also show that meditation can actually play a role in altering the architecture of the brain. The fact that meditation can so directly influence our physical biology goes to show how powerful it can be to alter moods and mental states.
If you’re not familiar with meditation, you may be wondering where to start. Mindfulness meditation is among the most thoroughly studied by researchers, so you can be sure that you’ll derive mood-enhancing and anxiety-reducing benefits if you stick with it. You will also benefit from improved concentration as a result of practising mindfulness meditation.
However, for some individuals that are brand new to meditation and find their minds racing with anxious thoughts when they sit down to meditate, a guided meditation might be a better choice. There are numerous meditation apps like Waking Up, Calm, and Headspace, that offer guided meditations from the convenience of your smartphone. These meditation apps could be a great gateway practice for adopting mindfulness meditation in the future.
Meditation is more important than ever with the many stressful global events that we read about every day in the world news.
3. Improve your Diet
Many people don’t realize how much their diet impacts their mood. When feeling stressed out and anxious, it can be hard to take a beat and focus on making a healthy and wholesome lunch or dinner. However, neglecting to do so and instead opting for fast food is likely to make you even more prone to mood swings and emotional turbulence, resulting in a downward spiral towards unhappiness.
The connection between diet and a person’s mental state is well established and has even given rise to the field of nutritional psychiatry, as explained in this piece by the New York Times. Nutritional psychiatrists often recommend diets high in vitamin B12 which some research shows benefits brain health. They also recommend patients get high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, the deficiencies of which have been linked to suicide and depression.
While many diets can be successful in positively impacting one’s mood and lowering stress levels, many nutritional psychiatrists recommend a Mediterranean diet. Consisting of whole grains, legumes, leafy greens, and seafood, the Mediterranean diet has been shown to be successful in reducing stress levels and improving brain function in several studies.
4. Consume CBD and other Anxiety Reducing Supplements
After improving your diet, it can be helpful to introduce supplements into your daily routine specifically for the purpose of easing stress and enhancing your mood. CBD, or cannabidiol oil, is a particularly attractive option, as it’s been shown to reduce anxiety and promote a sense of whole-body calm, as noted in this article from Kyro.
Several studies suggest that CBD could be helpful in alleviating symptoms caused by a social anxiety disorder, some forms of post-traumatic stress disorder, and anxiety-induced insomnia.
CBD could also have benefits for individuals suffering from a range of other conditions, ranging from epilepsy, to Parkinson’s, to Cardiovascular disease, as explored in this piece by Daily CBD Mag. CBD is also anti-inflammatory, and some research suggests it could be helpful in alleviating pain caused by arthritis and other conditions.
CBD and other anxiety-reducing supplements are a powerful way to ease stress safely and naturally in these hectic and unpredictable times.
There is substantial evidence to indicate that regular exercise can have a mood-enhancing effect, and even help to treat conditions like depression and anxiety. Gym rats get a mental lift from regular workouts that is hard to find anywhere else.
However, you don’t have to live in the gym to experience the rush of mood-enhancing endorphins that comes with a good workout. Both aerobic exercise such as walking, running and cycling, and strength training provide mood-enhancing properties that can be great for reducing stress.
Yoga has also been shown to be a form of exercise that is particularly effective in reducing stress and lifting practitioners’ spirits. In fact, Yoga has such a calming effect that there is even some evidence to suggest that it could play a role in preventing heart disease in the future, as explored in this article by the BBC.
Finding a form of exercise that you find fun and relaxing can be a phenomenal way to ease stress and boost your mood.