We all experience stress from time to time, but it can become a serious issue for our physical and mental health when it happens more regularly. Over time it can lead to illness and even premature death, so it is certainly not an inevitable part of life to put up with. While it is not always easy to avoid stress, especially when our lives are so busy and there are so many demands on our time and attention, but there are steps we can take to ease the symptoms. Whether you have had a rough day at work, a busy day with the kids, or you are feeling generally overwhelmed with life, here are 6 ways to unwind after a stressful day.
- Drink green tea
Many people turn to a glass or more of wine at the end of a hard day, but this can have health implications and can actually worsen our mental health. Instead, consider trying herbal tea in the evening that will refresh your mind and reduce feelings of stress and anxiety. This is because L-Theanine is found in green tea, which has been found to relax the mind in as little as 30 minutes.
- Breathe deeply
Deep breathing can help to relax the mind and body almost instantly. When we are wound up, we take shallow breaths that deprive our body of the oxygen it needs, and taking a deep breath from the diaphragm provides quick relief. Breathing exercises can also reduce blood pressure and stress hormones like cortisol.
Exercise is a well-known antidote to stress because it triggers the release of mood-boosting endorphins and reduces the production of stress hormones. Consider joining a gym that you can go to after work to burn off excess energy (which can worsen anxiety), take your mind off your worries, and reduce your stress levels. If the gym does not appeal, an online exercise class that you can complete at home or a brisk walk, jog, or run outside will also do the trick.
- Spend time in nature
Spending time outside and reconnecting with the natural world has been proven to reduce anxiety and stress for many people, especially when exercise is involved, as it combines the benefits of physical activity, sunshine, and fresh air. Take a walk in a park or forest where you can listen to the birds, the breeze in the trees, and smell some flowers.
- Explore aromatherapy
The theory of aromatherapy is that certain scents can alleviate stress and anxiety, and there has been research into the connection between scents and improved mental and physical health. Popular scents include lavender, citrus, rosemary, jasmine, and cinnamon. Try lighting a scented candle or taking a hot bath with scented bath essence to relax your mind and body.
- Listen to calming music
Put on your headphones or find a quiet room where you can play calming music. Of course, what one person finds calming may differ from what another person finds calming, but classical music or sounds from nature have been found to have a relaxing effect, even triggering the release of dopamine in some cases.