It seems like stress is inevitable these days. Between juggling work, family, and trying to squeeze in some time for yourself, stress is most likely a part of your daily life.
But it’s important to take note of how much time you spend stressing and ensure your mind and body are getting a break, as handling an overwhelming amount of stress can result in some not-so-pleasant symptoms. Common side effects include headaches, muscle pain, fatigue, overeating and undereating.1 These physical symptoms are a result of the body’s natural “fight or flight” response to stress. While this may have kept our prehistoric ancestors safe from danger, many of our modern stressors are more psychological than physical. Our current reactions to stress haven’t fully adapted to these changes, which sometimes leaves us with a literal pain in the neck.2
What’s more, over time, experiencing stress without appropriate treatments may lead to a variety of health complications including heart disease, diabetes or obesity.3 In addition, stress-induced weight gain can leave a lasting impact on your health and derail your weight loss goals.
But if you’re feeling overwhelmed, don’t fret! Although it might feel difficult to find ways to de-stress in our always-on world, there are ways to find your calm. Keep reading for eight of the best ways to de-stress—most of which are readily accessible and low-cost or free!
1. Enjoy a staycation at home
While most people will agree that going on a relaxing vacation is a great way to de-stress, sometimes work, finances or family can dominate your schedule. Get creative with a staycation and treat yourself to something nice in the comfort of your own home or backyard! Have a spa night and light relaxing candles. Make a homemade, delicious meal. Set up a tent and camp in your backyard. Take a hike on a new path. If you’re focused on enjoying new experiences, your mind is less likely to concentrate on potential stressors.4
2. Put your green thumb to work
Tap into your inner gardener by adding a few plants around your home. Plants aren’t just trendy home décor—research has shown that interacting with indoor plants may help to reduce physiological stress and anxiety.5 Try chamomile, lavender and jasmine for their wonderfully soothing aromas.6
3. Make time to laugh
Don’t be afraid to laugh out loud! Make time to do something that makes you laugh, and bask in the good vibes. Whether it’s playing with your kids without any distractions, watching cute puppy videos or seeing a stand-up comedy routine, laughter may help to reduce stress hormones.7
4. Reflect on positive experiences
Most tips for reducing stress in your life are centered around objects: bringing something into your life that makes you happy or eliminating something that’s upsetting. Instead, try taking note of what you already have. It can be easy to focus on all the things that aren’t going exactly right. To combat that natural impulse, start your morning by writing down one, or a few things, that you’re grateful for in your life. By beginning each day with gratitude, you’ll be amazed at how much you already have for which to be thankful.
5. Spend time with a four-legged friend
Animals have been shown to provide comfort and reduce stress in humans.8 In one study, researchers found that pets offered social support crucial for handling psychological responses to stress.9 If you don’t own a pet, try volunteering with a local animal shelter or rescue. You’ll de-stress while sharing some TLC with an animal in need–it’s a win-win!
6. Try a new hobby
Practicing a calming hobby like crafting is a great way to reduce stress. Try something creative such as macramé or knitting.10 You might even decide to make a homemade gift for someone. Giving to others helps you to feel good in return!
7. Prepare a delicious, nutritious meal
Activities that require focus and completely engage your mind may be beneficial for reducing stress. Break out a recipe you’ve bookmarked and give it a shot! Following a set of instructions, paired with repetitive actions like chopping and stirring may help keep your mind occupied and focused on the task at hand, delivering delicious results. In need of some inspiration? Check out our Simply Inspired recipes.
8. Schedule regular breaks
If your calendar is constantly packed with back-to-back meetings and tasks, you probably aren’t allowing your mind any time to wander, relax, and recharge. To combat this, schedule small blocks of time on your calendar to get a coffee, take a few minutes to sit silently, or go for a short walk. Taking a few minutes to decompress works wonders!
We hope you found these ways to de-stress useful. Remember, it’s important to take the time to unwind, no matter how busy life may be—for your health and your happiness.
To learn more about a weight loss program that can help you focus on bettering your health, contact Jenny Craig for a free appointment today.
Stephanie Eng-Aponte is a copywriter for Jenny Craig, based in Carlsbad, CA. They’ve focused on writing within the health and wellness space for the last several years, but have dabbled in the tech and environmental industries. Stephanie graduated from Rutgers University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Media Studies. Stephanie employs a “eat first, write later” approach to food blogging and enjoys the occasional Oxford comma. Outside of writing, you can find them photographing a muttley crew of rescue pups, brewing kombucha, or exploring San Diego.
Favorite healthy snack: green apple slices with sunflower butter
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