7 Tips to Help Relax & Reduce Stress

 

 

There is no doubt about it, 2020 was a challenging year. Bushfires, pandemics, lockdowns, travel bans and new ways to work and school. If one word defined most people’s 2020 it was “stress”. According to Eric Chan, Head of Pharmacy at Blooms The Chemist, while stress is a normal part of our everyday, it’s known that small amounts of stress can be beneficial as it enables us to perform at an optimal capacity when we need to [1]. However, too much stress can begin to take control of our life. Because of this, it becomes important for people to understand how to control and reduce their stress levels to ensure it doesn’t end up governing their everyday.

 

Eric says “when our bodies begin to feel stressed, problems within the body can begin to arise including both physical and emotional, or mental which can be detrimental to our health. [2] Physical impacts include increased heart rate and breathing rate, muscle tension and the production of adrenaline, thereby increasing cortisol levels in the body, otherwise known as the stress hormone. [3] The long-term effects of our stress hormones being engaged begins to put people at risk of the following health conditions:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Digestive problems
  • Headaches
  • Sleeping problems
  • Weight gain
  • Memory and concentration impairment [4]

 

As a result, it is critical to learn how to deal with stress to ensure our long-term health is not affected”.

 

Thank you Eric. To help you reduce stress, and the negative health impacts, we have 7 simple tips to help reduce stress over the short and long term, for a happier, healthier you.

Yoga

 

 

By helping to clear our minds, and moderating our breathing, yoga can help to reduce stress and anxiety. Clearing our minds helps our body to relax, reducing muscle tension, and allowing us to think clearer thoughts. Moderating your breathing, breathing more deeply helps to deliver more oxygen to your brain, helping to promote clearer thoughts, and stopping the shallow breathing you sometimes experience when stressed (you can practice this breathing even when you’re not doing yoga). The connection of mind and body helps to being you back into balance and focus, and the improvement in flexibility and strength doesn’t hurt either.

 

Walking

 

 

Walking is a great activity – it’s free, you can do it almost anywhere, and all ages can participate. Walking encourages you to breathe more deeply, which oxygenates your brain, leading to clearer thinking. And while you walk, it’s a good opportunity to free your thoughts and find solutions to problems that are causing you stress. Why not walk with a friend, and catch up at the same time?

 

Reading

 

 

Reading is another great hobby you can do almost anywhere and any time – and it needn’t be expensive – join your local library and enjoy discovering new authors (you can then buy some of their other books) and genres. I love taking 15-20 minutes with a good book, just to clear my mind, and often pick up a new train of thought. If you find reading too solitary, join a book club, and meet like-minded people for a regular chat.

 

Gardening

 

 

I love gardening – the feeling of the earth in my hands, and growing healthy, organic food. Gardening can be enjoyed year round, and you can grow either beautiful, cheery flowers, or fruits and vegetables to eat. Gardening grounds (no pun intended) us, and helps us to appreciate the beauty of nature, and having healthy seasonal food is an added bonus. Even if you don’t have space for a full garden – perhaps you live in an apartment, many plants can easily grow in pots, and provide greenery. Why not add an indoor plant, for some added oxygen to your home.

 

Play with Animals

 

 

Who hasn’t felt their blood pressure recede as they’ve stopped to talk to, or play with an animal? Studies have shown the therapeutic benefits of patting and talking to animals, and they really do help calm us (I’m fairly sure by the looks on their faces, they enjoy it too). If you don’t or can’t have pets of your own, why not visit a friend, or your local animal shelter – there are always gorgeous fur babies who would love some attention and affection.

 

Catch up with Friends & Family

 

 

There is nothing like seeing friends and family to improve your mood and feel your cares float away. Friends are our sounding boards – the people we turn to when we need advice or share secrets, and they are great for lifting us up when we are down. Seeing family can give us (and them) a needed mood boost, and with lockdowns and border closures in 2020, we frequently didn’t see enough of our families last year. Let’s make up for lost time this year (safely of course).

 

Herbal Supplements

 

 

There are many herbs that have been shown to help with stress, and taking these as part of your regular diet may help calm mind and body. One I have found, which suits my stage of life is Ionix Supreme, which contains adaptogens, antioxidants, and other nutrients which helps strengthen our body’s ability to fight the effects of stress, promoting better focus and overall energy (so I can still exercise and play competitive sport). The formula contains Wolfberry to help nourish the liver, kidney and eyes helping protect the body from oxidative stress, Eleuthro Root, used in North-eastern Asia for more than 2,000 years as a natural remedy for reducing fatigue, Rhodiola to help increase physical endurance, and improve energy levels, Ashwagandha, lused for its restorative benefits to help support healthy brain and immune function, Bacopa used in traditional Indian medicine to help memory enhancement and to promote longevity, and Schizandra known as the “five flavour berry”, to help nourish the kidneys and heart. Look for herbs or supplements that suit your particular stress needs, and always consult your health care practitioner before starting any new supplements or remedies to make sure they are suitable for you.

 

 

We hope these tips have given you 1 or 2 ideas on how you can reduce stress, and live a calmer life. Do you do any of these already? Do you do something else? Let us know in the comments below.

 

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Article references:

 

[1] https://www.health.com/condition/stress/5-weird-ways-stress-can-actually-be-good-for-you

[2] https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/stress/art-20046037

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid

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