10 Unconventional Ways to De-Stress
How I survived 2020 and beyond
It was 2019 and many people were stressed. It’s now 2021 and most everyone is completely stressed. Whether you believe X, Y, or Z, this guy or that gal, you could probably use some simple ways to calm yourself in the global chaos.
With these tools, I’ve managed to adopt a calm demeanor (which is good for my daughter) and approach difficult conversations and situations with stable blood pressure.
I’ve also been able to slow my overthinking enough to still enjoy life. And, bonus, I lost the rest of my baby weight and then some from a few of these techniques.
This list is in no particular order.
1. Brain Dump
Before bed, grab a notebook and pen and jot down your worries, which relieves your brain of all those stressors. This will clear your mind for better sleep and can help you to fall asleep faster. Bonus: add some gratitude.
Looking at clutter releases cortisol, the stress hormone. If you’re home all day surrounded by messes, your cortisol levels increase throughout the day instead of decrease. The stress lingers in your body and can make it harder to sleep. Go slow: focus on one small space at a time.
3. Meal Stress Check-In
Check in with yourself before eating. What’s bothering you? Is there anything really stressing you out? Ask yourself how you can let go of this during the meal and allow your brain to focus solely on the task of nourishing your body (and anything else pleasant that you want to focus on).
4. Deep Breathe While Eating
Pause before your meal and take a few grounding deep breaths. This will let your body know it’s time to relax and will help you digest your food better. Deep breathing while eating helps your body burn the food more efficiently and leads to less fat storage and increased energy.
5. Honor Your Hunger
Overriding hunger leads to mood swings and irritability, along with unhealthy food choices by the time you’re finally so hungry that your meal plan goes out the window. When you first notice hunger, start planning your next meal- or, if your blood sugar is known to affect you dramatically and quickly, have a snack on hand.
6. Salt Bath or Shower
Sit in a bath with 2 cups of sea salt, or add some to your sponge and body wash in the shower. As you soak or scrub, imagine the stress washing off of your body. This is also great for people who tend to pick up and carry other people’s energy.
7. 10-Minute Meditation (or nap)
Enjoy an energy reset that you can do at any point in the day. If 10 minutes feels like too much, try two. Sit or lay with your eyes closed, focusing on your breath- if you don’t even have time for that, take a moment and do it with your coffee. It’s ok if your thoughts don’t leave- just intentionally breathe peace and calm into your life.
8. Power-Down Hour
Screens and light dramatically reduce melatonin production, which affects sleep and the immune system. You can take this time to do your brain dump or read a few pages of a book with a face mask on. “Hour” might only mean a few minutes for you, but every moment helps your brain slow down and prepare you for more restorative sleep.
9. Ditch The Morning Phone Check
Checking the news, social media, e-mail, and other information streams immediately upon waking can negatively set the day’s tone, and those activities often cause anxiety and stress. Try brushing your teeth or stretching before checking your notifications. Bonus if you can make it through breakfast without technology!
10. Tend To Your Emotional Health
Finding a trustworthy confidant who you can talk to (even if you don’t need advice) can help release pent-up stress. Talking through emotional blocks can be life changing. People love to help, and you’re worth it.
“The time to relax is when you don’t have time for it.” -Sydney J. Harris
Decreasing stress is perhaps the most beneficial thing you can do for yourself. Optimize your stress reduction by stacking the tools: Power Down Hour can include a salt bath and 10-minute guided YouTube meditation. You can brain dump during your dinner stress check-in while deep breathing. Mix it up as you like!
I challenge you to pick at least one of these tips to try for the next 3 days and see how it affects you.