How to De-Stress and Create Calm
Let’s measure our stress! On a scale from “one” (blissed out tropical vacation) to “ten” (absolute heart-pounding anxiety), how stressed do you feel, most days? A two? A five? Pretty darn close to a ten??
Yeah: me, too. The other day, a series of events conspired to strike my stress levels through the roof. My shoulders tightened. I felt shocked and bewildered. My breath quickened, and my heart rate increased.
And that’s how my morning began.
The rest of the day felt like one discouraging event after another. I could notice my stress levels creeping higher and higher. Level seven. Level nine. By dinnertime, my head was about to explode. I desperately needed to de-stress – and fast, or my night was going to be as frazzled and disjointed as my day.
So what’s a stressed-out gal to do? I turn to my go-tos: de-stressing tips and tricks from a lifetime of things that don’t go quite right. And trust me: if they can work for me, they can work for you!
When I need to calm down—fast—these are some of my favorite ways to do it:
Get Back to Nature I’ve written about the importance of putting away your phone and taking time to unplug. And ideally, you can manage to get this to happen outside, surrounded by fresh air and some greenery – or running water. Research confirms that when you spend time out in nature, your cortisol (stress hormone) levels drop, your blood pressure drops, and you feel calmer almost immediately.
In other words? Nature is powerful medicine. So, before you reach for a glass of Rosé or a chocolate-chip cookie (or your preferred substance of choice!), try a walk outside, flowing water, and the wind in the trees.
Meditate – However You Like Best Traditional meditation is powerful, but it’s not always for everyone. Yoga works. A run around the hood does the trick, too! But for me, when I need a quick way to zone out, I grab the cutting board and chop away! The rhythmic motion of chopping all those veggies instantly helps to relax my body and clear my mind. Bonus: A little unplanned meal prep!
Take in the Soothing Powers of Lavender Even the smell of these fragrant flowers is scientifically proven to restore a sense of calm. Try whipping up a chia pudding, a nourishing latte, or some cool ice cubes. Eating foods infused with lavender takes the healing properties to a whole new level!
Create Beauty For me, putting beautiful things into my life or out into the world is a form of stress-relief. Little projects, like making pretty ice cubes with edible flower petals inside, lighting candles around the house, fluffing pillows, or whipping up a colorful snack board, help me de-stress and feel so much more relaxed.
When you make something beautiful—especially when it involves using your hands—it helps you drop out of your anxious mind and back into your body.
Log Some Puppy Time I mean, just look at that face! It’s difficult to remember what stressed me out when I’ve got a big, golden, fluffy pup smiling back at me. Dogs are such wise teachers, too. Mine always remind me to savor my food, rest when I’m tired, keep things simple, and stay in the present moment.
Stress, as we all know, can contribute to major health issues. When you’re chronically stressed, it screws up your metabolism, your digestion, your sleep patterns, and your blood pressure. Your entire body is impacted! And while it’s not exactly breaking news that stress can take a negative toll on our overall health, many of us continue to ignore or try to power through our stress – and live too many of our days feeling, well, stressed out as a result!
The good news is, no matter how stressed you feel, there’s always something you can do to bring your stress levels from level ten back down to level three, two…or even one. (Ahhhhhh…) Start with a small step: just one deep breath, or a short walk around the block, and notice how your body responds.
It’s incredible how much better you feel just by giving yourself the tiniest bit of breathing room, space, and LOVE.
Now it’s your turn: What are your best ways to de-stress? Let’s support one another to feel a sense of calm.
P.S. If you want to learn more about the healing powers of adaptogens to help manage stress, this podcast episode will tell you everything you need to know!