The fall season is wonderful. Kids are going back to school, sports are starting back up, holidays are just around the corner. It’s energizing! And, it’s stressful. When you feel pulled in a million directions, the last thing you want to do is come up with ways to take care of your mental health. Luckily, staying on top of stress doesn’t have to be huge time-commitment. We’ve gathered some easy, yet effective, ways to relieve a little of that stress.
Move Your Body. You can go for a walk, practice some yoga, go for a run, dance to music. Whatever it is, get that blood flowing. Movement is scientifically proven to relieve stress and anxiety. If you don’t believe us, check out this article from Mayo Clinic about what happens when you move.
Try meditation. Honestly, you don’t need a full thirty minutes to meditate because you can do it with any amount of time, but meditation can be energizing and extremely helpful. If you do have the extra time, definitely give it a shot. We recommend starting with smaller time intervals and working your way up. It’s so hard for us to quiet our minds because we are constantly stimulated by technology and life. If you need help, check out the Headspace app. It’s a great starting point.
Journal. Many of us don’t take the time to work through all the craziness happening in our heads. Writing is a great way to help us work through those thoughts and emotions. Sometimes we don’t even know how much we need to get out until we write it down. Don’t hold yourself to just writing words. You can also doodle. Anything to get those thoughts and feelings out.
Call a friend. Just hearing a familiar voice and catching up with someone you care about can really take you down a level. When we are stressed or overwhelmed, we often turn into ourselves. When we do that, we don’t allow others to help us carry those burdens and it can be lonely. Taking time to chat with a friend can remind us that we are not alone and there are people out there ready to take on the day with us.
Get outside. Researchers are finding more and more evidence that spending time in nature can improve mental health. Our bodies need Vitamin D and many people don’t get enough sun. That’s why people struggle with Seasonal Affective Disorder in the winter. We spend too much time in unnatural light that doesn’t give our bodies what it needs to thrive. In addition to Vitamin D, people need to be in a natural environment — around plants and trees and animals. In fact, this article from WebMD explains several different kinds of nature therapies (not all of which are in the sun). In an article from American Psychology Association, researches explain that just bringing nature indoors has health benefits. If all of this is true, then taking a few minutes to connect with nature and get a little sunlight can definitely do wonders when you need to calm down and recharge.
Breathe. In today’s society, we are constantly stressed out. Most of us don’t take full breaths when we breathe. Instead, our breath is short and shallow and does not engage our diaphragm so we don’t fill our lungs all the way. This disrupts the airflow in our body and puts everything out of balance.
To counter those stressful breaths, try this breathing technique. Breathe in through your nose for four seconds. Try to fill your lungs all the way. Hold that breath for seven seconds. Then, release your breathe through your mouth for eight seconds. Repeat. This allows you to focus on your breath and calm down your anxiety.
Go on a mental vacation. Close your eyes and picture yourself somewhere you find calming. It can be the beach with the waves lapping against the shore. Or, you could be in the mountains feeling the cool breeze on your face. Maybe it’s sitting in a cozy coffee shop by a fire. Wherever you define your happy place, pretend you’re there. Then focus on the different senses. How does it look? Smell? Feel? Sound? Taste? Fully immerse yourself in that space for a couple minutes.
Life is crazy. Our schedules are way too full and we tend to hold in stress rather than release it. When it comes to juggling all the things, note the minutes in between. Those are the times you can commit to yourself. Don’t think of it as an extra to-do; instead, look at as a get-to-do. You’ll recharge and be ready to take on the world.