Stress is a daily reality for all too many Americans. It can seem inescapable, but escape it we must — because, if we don’t, it will come for our physical and mental health. Stress can make us sick and even shorten our lives. That’s why you need to consider the things that you can do right now to lower your stress levels and improve your mental health. Start with the things on this simple list of stress reduction tips.
Break a sweat
Our physical bodies are connected to our mental health in all kinds of ways. Take exercise, for example. It’s more than just good for our bodies. It also releases endorphins and dopamine that make us feel better in both mind and body. Experts agree that exercise lowers stress.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed with stress, consider taking a break to go on a job or lift some weights. It may help you calm down in the short term, and healthy choices will certainly benefit your mind in the long term.
Go on vacation
All work and no play makes Jack a very stressed-out boy. Experts agree that time off can make us happier, healthier, and more productive. Vacations are good for our mental and physical health, and they can significantly lower our stress levels — not just while we’re traveling, but afterwards, too.
So go someplace wonderful like Hawaii. Plan cool events like Maui luaus. Relax on the beach. Get active with water sports. Go sightseeing in national parks and thriving cities. Whether you’re visiting beautiful Hawaii or any other wonderful vacation spot, you’ll likely find that traveling reduces your stress levels significantly. Even planning your vacation can be good for your mind: Studies say that anticipating and planning what to do in Maui will make you happier, even though you’re not actually on the trip yet.
Create work-free sanctuaries
Poor work-life balance can contribute to work-related stress. But how does this work, and what can you do about it?
Poor work-life balance often means working at times and places that should be your own. It messes with your head to be working all of the time, and — crucially — it changes your relationship with the places that you work. If you’re always working in your bedroom, how are you supposed to sleep well there? Do yourself a favor and ban work from certain specific times and places.
Upgrade your sleep space
Lack of sleep can be a huge factor in stress. Banning work from your bedroom is a great start, but you can still do more to make your sleeping space — and, through that, your sleep itself — better.
Improving your bed itself is a great place to start. A Memory Foam Mattress can make for more restful sleep. Make sure that you’re swapping out old mattresses when their time is up, and that you’re caring for your mattress in between changes by rotating it and flipping it when necessary.
You should also look for ways to make your bedroom darker, quieter, and more soothing. A white noise machine or blackout curtains could make all the difference for your mental health.
See a therapist
Cutting down on stress is something that you can do yourself, but caring for your mental health takes more than just self-care and best practices. Consider working with a mental health professional. Just as turning to a doctor for regular physical checkups is a good idea, so is relying on a mental health expert for regular care.