Need to de-stress? Here are nine easy self-care activities almost anyone can do.
9 Self-Care Hacks to Help You De-Stress
1. Accept Your Feelings
Stress and negative emotions go hand in hand. When you’re stressed, it’s easy to feel upset, frustrated, angry, anxious, or more irritable.
Coping with stress becomes more difficult if you deny, suppress, or reject your feelings. Here are a few things you can do instead:
- Accept feelings without judging them or trying to change them.
- Cry them out if you need to.
- Write down your feelings in a journal.
Experiencing negative emotions isn’t a sign of weakness, so don’t be too hard on yourself. Once you accept your feelings, it’ll be easier to regulate them and move on.
2. Do Something Pleasurable
A simple self-care strategy is to do something that pleases you (even if it seems like it’s a waste of time amid all your stressors). Here are a few fun activities you can sneak in during a busy day:
- Treat yourself to your favorite restaurant.
- Go for a walk.
- Catch up on your favorite show or website.
- Listen to good music.
- Read a good book or magazine.
- Spend time with your kids or furbabies.
Everyone deserves (and needs) a break to help them regroup and recharge. So go ahead and treat yourself to something relaxing and enjoyable.
3. Stimulate Your Senses
If worrying is the main cause of your stress, then you may find sensory activities helpful. Centering your attention on your senses may help you stay in the present and give you a break from your stressors.
Here are a few ways you can relax by stimulating your senses:
- Sight – Go outside and gaze at the sky.
- Smell – Light up a scented candle or breathe in some essential oils.
- Hearing – Listen to nature sounds like running water.
- Touch – Get a massage or cuddle with your pet.
- Taste – Eat your favorite dessert or drink a cup of coffee.
Focusing on one of your five senses can help you calm down and clear your mind.
4. Take On a Fun Challenge
It may seem counterintuitive to take on another challenge when you’re already stressed out, but not all challenges exacerbate stress. Psychologists found that certain challenges could help enhance your well-being, especially if it leads to the experience of flow.
What is flow? This occurs when one’s skill level is perfectly matched with the challenge at hand. When this happens, the activity becomes so enjoyable that people often lose track of time.
Here are a few examples of activities that can lead to flow:
- Doing puzzles
- Playing an instrument
- Practicing a sport
- Playing video games
- Doing arts and crafts like painting or knitting
Keep in mind, everyone experiences flow differently. It’s difficult to replicate someone else’s experience because it’ll depend on your hobbies or interests.
5. Move Your Body
Studies show that regular exercise can help protect against stress. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends 150-300 minutes of moderate exercise each week to improve health and overall quality of life.
Here are a few 30-minute exercises you can squeeze in your day:
- Brisk walking
- Biking or cycling
- Aerobic dancing
6. Prioritize Sleep
That’s why it’s so important to get enough sleep. The CDC recommends seven or more hours of sleep each night.
Here are some things you can do to improve the quality and quantity of your sleep:
- Establish a sleep routine. Wake up and go to sleep at the same time each day.
- Cut down on screen time at night. Try not to use your smartphone, tablet, computer, or TV when you’re winding down for bed.
- Have a caffeine cut-off. Don’t drink coffee too late in the day.
- Take a power nap if you need to, but don’t overdo it. Long naps can throw off your sleep cycle.
- Create a peaceful sleep environment. Declutter your bedroom and figure out what temperature improves the quality of your sleep.
Getting the right amount of sleep doesn’t only help lower stress, but it also plays a vital role in your overall health, so try to make sleep a top priority.
7. Practice Your Spirituality
Studies show that spiritual practices can help reduce stress levels in adults. It also helps adults cope with negative emotions while enhancing positive emotions at the same time.
Here are a few examples of spiritual practices:
- Meditation exercises
- Attending religious gatherings or services
- Spending time in nature
- Reading inspirational quotes or poetry
- Writing in a gratitude journal
Remember, spirituality can mean different things for different people. At its core, spirituality is any activity that helps develop an inner awareness about one’s values in life.
8. Connect with Others
Research shows that people who rely on social support are more capable of coping with stress. A social support network usually comprises of your family, friends, and peers.
Even if they don’t directly help you with your stressors, it’s comforting to know that there are people who care about you and your well-being. People who don’t have a social support network are at a greater risk for psychological problems and poor physical health.
Here are simple ways to stay connected with your social support network:
- Schedule lunch dates with a family member or good friend.
- Regularly call, message, or email friends and family.
- Volunteer for a cause you’re passionate about.
- Join a neighborhood gym or club.
If you feel overwhelmed by your stress levels, it may help to talk to a health professional. They may be able to help you manage your stress, especially if you’re dealing with chronic stress.
9. Say No
One of the simplest self-care tips is to say no to things that trigger more stress in your life. It may be difficult at first, but saying no can also help free up your time for more self-care activities.
Self-care doesn’t have to be complicated, but you must make time for it. It’s a vital component of your well-being that helps you stay healthy, sharp, and motivated.
Do you have any other self-care strategies? Share them with us in the comments section below.
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