Welcome to the part of December that is a delightful combination of class finals, holiday prep, confusing transitional cold weather, and crazy shopping trips. The year is ending, so it feels like everybody and everything is doing the most. Of course you’re stressed! And how are you even supposed to stop feeling stressed when nothing else around you is slowing down? Not to mention that most of the tips out there on how stop feeling stressed are super corny. Meditating, chanting mantras, thinking positively… ugh. Before you reject all of the New Age-y ideas that are out there and settle for some unhealthy destress methods, like eating all of the pie and chips or doing some sort of illegal activity, read this. I’ve got some tips on getting rid of stress that will work without making you roll your eyes at yourself.
Taking care of your stress levels is an important part of self-care, even if thinking that feels cheesy. Too much stress can make it harder to sleep, focus, and enjoy yourself. On a more serious note, it can also cause anxiety, depression, and physical sickness. No needs any of that during what is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year – the holidays, obviously. Whatever’s got you down, there are ways to make the overwhelming feeling more manageable and less like something weighing you down. Here are a few tips on how to get rid of stress that aren’t corny as hell. I promise at least one of them will work for you!
Put On Something RidiculousI'm not kidding! If you're home, put on a silly Halloween-worthy costume to feel better instantly. If you plan on going out in public, ridiculous underwear will do the trick (AKA fun-derwear, you're welcome). Being consciously silly is destressing, because, if we're being real, can you possibly be worrying about impending doom with bunny ears on? Or a clown nose? Didn't think so. Also, looking at bright vibrant colors are shown to positively effect your body chemistry, and you'll constantly be looking at them if you combine all of your bright clothes into one ridiculous, flourescent outfit. Dress for the stress you want, so in this case, the exact opposite of how you're feeling..Source: iStock
Sing, Even If You Don't Sound GreatSinging releases endorphins, which will help relieve stress. Not to mention it can be a way to regulate and control your breathing, which is the benefit you're supposed to get from yoga and meditation. Most of us stop singing for fun when we realize we aren't pop stars. But guess what? Most of us aren't pop stars, so there's no need to have performance anxiety. The bar is set the lowest. If you're nervous about singing, wait until you're alone. But, even if it's bad, belt out your favorite song. It doesn't even need to be loud. Sing to yourself, but just sing. It will take your stress down a notch and help you feel better soon.Source: iStock
Go Swing On A SwingAccording to Nancy M. Watson of the University of Rochester School of nursing, rocking in a rocking chair improved happiness and reduced depression and anxiety in senior citizens with dementia. Since I doubt you are either a senior citizen or have dementia, it's worth noting this study was shown to benefit people of all ages, so take a more youthful approach to this: get on a swing. When's the last time you really swung on a swing like you were a kid? They're probably easier to find than a rocking chair anyway. Gentle, repetitive motion was what was shown to yield these benefits, so really rock it out on the swing and get your stress levels down, kid-style.Source: iStock
Kiss SomebodyKissing helps relieve stress, makes you feel more connected, and calms you down by releasing endorphins and cortisol. Doctor Laura Berman from Northwestern Medical School conducted a study that showed the health benefits of kissing, including getting rid of stress. So yeah, kissing and cuddling are actually good for your health, they don't just FEEL good. I'm not saying blow off dealing with your problems to go hook up instead, but there are definite benefits to getting some quality kiss-time incorporated into your daily routine. Pecks don't count, according to the study. They have to be on the longer side of things, but not necessarily arousing in a prelude-to-sex-why-did-we-stop-kissing-come-back sort of way.Source: iStock
Scream It OutStress bulids up because we don't let it all out. There's no better way to let it rip than by screaming at the top of your lungs. You might want to scream into a pillow or in your car if you don't want to scare the hell out of everyone around you. If you go to school somewhere there's music practice rooms, they're typically soundproof, so go for it! Screaming is cathartic and it feels primal. It gets everything out all at once and you don't need to express yourself with words, just screams. I'm fully convinced this is why people like rollercoasters so much - it's a safe space to scream as loud as you want without people judging you.Source: iStock
Chew Some GumProfessor Andrew Scholey from Swinburne University conducted a study wherein he found out that chewing gum helps reduce stress, improve performance, and relieves anxiety. Chewing gum causes a spike in Cortisol, which is your stress relieving hormone. The study also showed that the people who participated in it showed increased alertness. So, if you're staying up all night studying, you might want to switch your coffee for some gum to get going in a focused way with as little stress as possible.Source: iStock
Leave Your HouseYou don't have to go exercise or take a hike in the woods or something. Just get up from where you are and change the scenery. A lot of destressing advice advocates for exercise, but honestly, some of us are lazy indoor cats who need options, too. I'm not knocking exercise, it's definitely beneficial and I think everyone should be doing it, but in moments of stress, it could just feel like one *more* thing to worry about, like it's too much work to find a class, get ready, and go. Get up from the location of where you're stressing, and move your body somewhere else. It doesn't need to be significant - you don't have to drive an hour to the beach - but, maybe go to the library or a coffee shop near you. Even just taking a break to drive around or run an errand will feel like a welcome break and help reset your brain and reduce stress.Source: iStock
Laugh Really HardGet a group of your friends together or watch a really funny movie or mix them both together and really get laughing. Laughter lowers tension and improves blood flow. And according to My Science (aka a theory I made up that has no academic backing) repeating your favorite lines from movies is soothing since it's a repetitive action and your go-to movies are comforting. It's cheesy to say that laughter is the best medicine, but when it comes to being stressed out, it's actually true.Source: iStock
Try This Yoga Hand TrickThis Naam yoga hand trick relieves stress by activating a pressure point that triggers the nerves in your body that start calming you down. Take your thumb and press the inside of your middle finger's lower knuckle between where your middle finger and pointer finger meet. If you've found it, you'll see that it's a little tender, so press gently. The good thing about this trick is it's subtle enough to do in public without looking like you're doing accupressure on yourself. You can do it in the moment when you're feeling stressed and not have to wait until you get home or before you encounter a stressful situation. Source: iStock
Check Yourself Before You Wreck YourselfThis is what I do, so do with this information what you will. Check the reality of what's happening before you freak all the way out. Is this the biggest emergency? Are you dying? Are you in danger? No? Okay, then it's solvable. You will survive this feeling. A friend of mine tricks her brain into being bored by performance nerviousness, but I like to use it about stress, too. It doesn't matter if you believe it or not, but if your stress won't back down, just go "Wow, I'm stressed out by [whatever]. Isn't that boring? I'm so bored by it," then POOF! All of a sudden it becomes manageable. Before you lose your mind and wind up doing more harm than good, really take a reality check of what's really at stake. Chances are you'll be surprised by how much easier your stress becomes. Source: iStock
How do you destress? Are you stressed out a lot? Let us know in the comments!
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