Though the holiday season should be the time to relax, the flurry of activity can get out of hand. Need to reduce the stress? Here are 7 easy ways! By Minot Pettinato-Little
Best 7 Easy Ways to Reduce Your Stress in the New Year
The holiday season can be one of the most stressful times of the year. While it should be a time of love and togetherness, it often turns into a headache. Worse, did you spend your holiday season alone and are now feeling the pangs of distress?
You may find yourself dwelling on the stress left over by the season of supposed “giving,” with family dinners, family fights, money troubles, anxiety over buying presents, holiday cooking and partying. And while you may have received plenty of time off for the holidays, you were frankly too busy to enjoy them!
How can you de-stress during the New Year?
So what do you do when life throws you a curve ball that lands right in your stress-meter? Lucky for you there are dozens of activities that you can do to combat life’s stressful antics, and they won’t cost you a penny!
#1 Play some music. Music affects the body and mind in a peculiar way. Music as a stress reliever is also convenient, as you can listen to it as you go about your daily activities. Start your day off as you shower and get ready in the morning with a pre-set playlist of songs that build you up. On the road to work? Skip the morning chat-shows and opt instead for calming or happy music that will put you in a good mood for the rest of the day.
While many may find relief by belting out their favorite pop tune, others may enjoy music specifically designed for stress relief such as the sound of rain or piano ballads. Sites like YouTube and apps like Spotify have music specifically designed for stress relief and meditation.
#2 Make a photo album. Printed photos may be a rarity these days, but believe it or not, stores actually do still print them. Compile a folder of all of your favorite photos of you and your besties – the ones that make you the happiest, and have them printed out in physical form. Then, put together a photo album complete with detailed memories or tidbits that go along with the photos written by you.
Focusing on good memories of times past may be just the thing you need to bring your stress down. For an even longer-lasting stress reliever, try hanging your favorite “feel-good” photo in your office or even in your car.
#3 Disconnect from social media. Social media has certainly made its mark on this generation. It connects you to photos, news, and friends. It can also be one stressful app. Disconnecting from social media and the Internet may be exactly what your body is craving. E-mails, likes, updates, comments and tweets can all add up when it comes to social stresses. Not only do people have the tendency to feel like they must keep up with the Joneses, but social media can be exhausting to our mental health.
While we already feel like our lives are bursting with to-do lists, hearing the buzz of another social media update on your phone may just be the last straw in your already stressful day. Do yourself a favor and unplug for a while.
#4 Get a little s*xy. Not only is it fun, s*x is also an easy way of reducing one’s stress level. In fact, many studies have found there are multiple health benefits that come from romping in the bedroom. Sexual intercourse actually lowers your blood pressure and lowers your risk of heart attack.
On top of these benefits, orgasm can actually be a pain blocker, especially in females. Though you may not be feeling too frisky while you’re stressed out, take a moment to breathe and relax, and remember the handful of benefits that will come from getting sensual with yourself or with your partner.
#5 Pay it forward. Sometimes, actually giving back is just the trick you need to help yourself feel better. Researchers have found that those who volunteer, regardless of their socioeconomic situation, are more likely to have a smile on than those who don’t.
There are several factors in why doing a good deed makes you feel better, just one of which is that your mind’s focus is being taken off of yourself and your life. While this may sound a little self-indulgent, seeing that your life isn’t the only one that matters may broaden your thinking and help you re-evaluate what’s good in your life, instead of focusing on what’s stressing you out.
The next time life has you over the edge, check out some volunteer work in your area that you could take part in, or search for charities online. Some online stores offer a percentage of their item cost to charity when you buy their clothing, while other websites will allow you to donate money to fund schools or provide meals or fresh water in different areas of the world. [Read: 5 ways volunteering can help you de-stress]
#6 Adopt a furry friend. Studies show that having a furry friend around may actually help reduce stress levels. Pets offer uncomplicated relationships and unconditional love that allow you the opportunity to simply enjoy their company. In one study, individuals were given stressful tasks to do, either with their pet, with their spouse, or alone – and all experienced the lowest amount of stress where they were alone with their pet. Pet owners in general experience lowered stress and anxiety when around their furry friends. [Read: Why having a pet is like being in a relationship]
#7 Get some sunshine. While this may seem like a novel idea in this day and age, going outside may actually help reduce stress and lift your sour mood. Those who spend their days “locked” in a windowless cubicle or stale office building may start to feel the moan of depression due to the lack of light.
Instead of eating lunch in the break room, try taking a stroll in the great outdoors and giving yourself some fresh air. Beyond simply taking a break outside, many find that outdoor activities such as hiking, biking and running actually help reduce stress and calm the mind. The next time you’re feeling stressed, try going for a run.
[Read: 14 super quick stress busters for any occasion]
Starting a New Year can be hard, especially if you weren’t where you expected to be at this point in your life. But don’t let the New Year stress you out – let it invigorate you! And if you start to feel the pangs of anxiety, don’t forget these 7 easy steps for a year filled with less stress!