How to Reduce Stress | 4 Natural Stress Relief Options

How to Reduce Stress: 4 Natural Stress Relief Options

Everyone experiences stress. Taking steps to manage it is the key to a happier and healthier life. After all, research has shown that stress can manifest as physical and/or mental health conditions, as well as changes in your mood and behavioral patterns.

While it’s impossible to eliminate stressful feelings entirely, there are ways to keep them at bay so you don’t get too overwhelmed. Try these simple, natural techniques next time you’re going through mental battles. You may be surprised by how effective they can be!

Meditation

Meditation is a wonderful short and long-term solution to stress. Sometimes, all it takes to calm down is a quick meditation session. You don’t need to do anything fancy. Simply find a quiet place, close your eyes, and try to free your mind of whatever intrusive thoughts are stressing you out. Even just a quick 5-minute break can work wonders in soothing the mind.

The beauty of meditation is that it becomes more and more powerful the more you do it. Over time, you’ll learn to recognize and observe your thought processes. You can focus on what’s causing stress and then stop those intrusive thoughts before they become too intense. Regular meditation helps you to understand yourself better, empowering you to change.

How to Meditate

While a quick meditation session on your lunch break can help to reduce stress, you’re going to experience more relief if you do it right on a consistent schedule. There are many ways to meditate as a beginner. Here’s the simplest method to get you started:

  • First, find a comfortable position that allows you to relax without getting tired. Sitting cross-legged is the most common position, but some people prefer sitting upright in a comfortable chair. Either way, make sure you keep your posture upright. This helps to keep you feeling awake throughout the session while also preventing soreness during longer meditations.
  • Next, you want to relax your body and facial muscles. Allow your eyelids and jaw to droop. Gently close your eyes, but don’t squeeze them shut. Breathe in and out slowly and deeply, allowing your entire body to relax.
  • Now, your goal is to find inner silence. This is the part that takes some practice. When your inner monologue starts, gently shush it. Over time, you’ll be able to recognize an incoming thought and stop it intuitively. This can be quite difficult, so try not to get discouraged.

That’s it — you’re meditating! Start with a quick 5-10 minute session, and then try to go longer next time. You may want to set a timer to keep you on track. Eventually, you should start to notice that there’s more and more ‘silent’ space between thoughts. Eventually, you may want to look into other forms of meditation as you improve your technique.

Photo by Estée Janssens on Unsplash

Bullet Journaling

Stress is often caused by too many thoughts that lead to overwhelming feelings. Your mind is rushing with thoughts about a work project you need to finish, what’s for dinner, house repairs you need to make, and everything else under the sun. Journaling helps you to make sense of that jumble of thoughts, bringing clarity and introspection to your life.

Simply writing a to-do list can be quite effective, but many people are falling in love with bullet journaling. The system was started by Ryder Carroll, a designer from New York. According to him, the goal of bullet journaling is “to help you track the past, organize the present, and plan for the future.” In other words, it’s kind of like a to-do list, a planner, and a diary all-in-one.

How to Bullet Journal

Bullet journaling isn’t just effective — it’s also a whole lot of fun! The basic idea is that you use specific symbols that keep you on track, rather than just traditional bullet points. Here they are:

· A dot represents a to-do task

x An x means the task has been completed

< A less than sign signifies a task that has been scheduled

> A greater sign means that the task has been rescheduled and migrated to a new list

A dash is used for quick notes and minor tasks

O An open circle is for major events

The system may seem complicated on paper, but in practice, it’s quite easy. Once you get the right tools and learn how to bullet journal, it will become a fluid process that just makes sense. There are plenty of bullet journal themes that you can use to personalize your process, too.

For example, there are not-so-artsy layouts or minimal layouts for those who prefer simplicity. If your main goal is to reduce stress, you may find that using a layout to manage your mental health is the perfect solution. If you don’t have the time or resources to create your own bullet journal, you can always hire someone to make a bullet journal for you.

You can check out the listing below to view the various bullet journal options I offer!

Exercising

Exercise stops stress. Even a quick jog around the block can work wonders for your mental health. Have you ever heard of a “runner’s high?” When you’re active, your body produces endorphins that naturally boost your mood and stop stress in its tracks. Exercising also takes your mind off your worries as you focus on the single activity at hand.

Exercise is, of course, great for your physical health, which naturally manifests as a positive mindset. Working out helps you to feel more confident in your skin, which boosts your overall mood and demeanor. While you can use exercise as a tool as needed when you’re feeling stressed out, a better approach is to develop a consistent exercise routine.

Exercise Considerations

If it’s been a long time since you’ve been active, you may want to talk to your doctor before you dive in. In general, the best way to start is just to start. You don’t need to immediately start with an intense 10-mile run or anything crazy like that. Just getting your heart beating a little faster is the first step. Eventually, you can work your way into a more intense routine.

Exercise can be (and should be) fun. If you feel like you’re forcing yourself to be active, you’re just not doing the right exercises. Try to find a hobby that forces you to exercise. You could join a sports league, go to a rock climbing facility, or explore your local hiking paths. 

Once you start incorporating exercise into your hobbies, it becomes part of your overall lifestyle, rather than a one-off activity you force yourself to do from time to time. If possible, ask a friend to become your workout buddy. You can hold each other accountable, motivate each other, and just have a blast with it.

Photo by Volha Flaxeco on Unsplash

Cleaning

It may sound counterintuitive but cleaning is good for you. Your surroundings often dictate your mood. If you’ve ever gone on a major cleaning spree, you know that feeling of bliss when you get to sit down and relax in your newly revitalized environment. Too much clutter around you can be a major cause of stress, especially if it’s a big mess that feels so daunting to tackle.

Just like exercise, the key to maintaining a tidy house is to start small and turn cleaning into a habit. You can use your bullet journal to set small, attainable goals. Once your surroundings are clean, maintaining them is a breeze. Eventually, you’ll wonder how you ever lived in a messy space! The trick is to take it bit-by-bit, rather than overwhelming yourself with a massive project.

If you’re struggling to get started, you may want to look into Marie Kondo’s approach. Her Netflix series does a great job explaining how to get rid of clutter that doesn’t inspire joy. Her approach is fun and inspirational, and it may help you to improve your environment in a way that doesn’t add more stress to your life.

Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

Take Care of Yourself

Everyone is different. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to stress. These four natural methods will get you started, but it’s up to you to determine what works best. Sometimes all it takes is just taking a few moments out of your day to sip a cup of tea or read a chapter of a book. 

If you’re suffering from stress, little changes can lead to big results. When you embrace new, stress-relieving habits, your life is naturally transformed for the better. The goal is to be kind to yourself. Recognize that you deserve to feel good

Finally, try to understand that stress is going to happen. Stress is a necessity. It’s your mind telling you that there’s an issue that needs to be addressed. The trick is to acknowledge and accept that necessary stress without letting it take over. It’s not always easy, but facing your struggles head-on is the key to reducing their impact on your life.

Meet the Author

Tess DiNapoli is an artist, freelance writer, and content strategist. She has a passion for yoga and often writes about health and wellness, but also enjoys covering the fashion industry, collaborating with industry insiders and designers, getting insight on the latest trends.

4 Ways Cleaning Is Good for You

When Better Homes and Gardens asked its readers to rank their least favorite household chores, cleaning did not come out well. A whopping seven out of the top 10 were a cleaning activity, whether it be vacuuming, dusting, or cleaning the toilet. Most of us don’t enjoy cleaning and see it as something we have to do. Maybe if we understood how cleaning benefits our physical and mental health, we’d be less hard on it.

It Reduces Allergens

You’ll notice that dusting and vacuuming made it to that list, but do you understand why you put so much effort into getting rid of dust? It’s not just because it looks a bit gross (although it does). Household dust is harmful to our bodies in a variety of ways, and it can often contain allergens that make your home a nightmare for anyone sensitive to them.

And it’s not just dust. Cleaning your bathroom and kitchen regularly is one of the best ways to prevent mold, which is another dangerous contaminant. It is essential to know how to spot a mold problem and to know what products can get rid of it.

It Gets Rid of Toxins in the Home

To some extent, dust and mold are natural occurrences and are easy to spot and get rid of. However, you also need to watch out for the airborne chemicals and toxins that can contaminate your air and which are much harder to notice. VOCs (volatile organic compounds), pesticides, and phthalates are all common in American homes, and the best way to fight all of them is to keep your home clean and well-ventilated.

It’s Good Exercise

While it’s not likely to become an Olympic sport anytime soon, cleaning chores burn a surprising number of calories. A half-hour cleaning windows can burn about 167 calories, while a mere 15 minutes on the tub can burn a respectable 90 calories. It’s not enough for a complete body transformation, but a few hours of cleaning once a week can help you stay in shape without leaving the house — and in your comfiest clothes.

If you want to boost your exercise levels during your cleaning, there are a few simple ways to do that. From doing lunges while you vacuum to blasting loud music to keep you in rhythm, treating your chores as a workout can help make the whole process a lot more fun.

It Helps Us Relax

It may be hard to believe for someone who’s just spent their Sunday morning scrubbing a bathtub, but cleaning is a great stress reliever. Some people find the process itself relaxing — if this is the case for you, congrats! A study has found that you are likely to be 25 percent happier than those who hate it.

However, don’t worry if that’s not you. You can still benefit hugely from a clean home, even if you don’t enjoy it while you are doing it. A messy house is inherently stressful since it is a permanent visual reminder of all the things you still have to do. Once your home is tidy, you are likely to be in a much better mental state. Think about it — don’t you always feel great after a thorough spring clean?

Conclusion

It may be time to stop giving cleaning such a hard time. Sure, it’s not always the most fun way to spend a weekend, but it keeps us and our homes healthy. What’s more, there is a wonderful paradox to it: the more regularly you do it, the easier it will be to maintain everything and the less grueling and time-consuming it will become. In other words, the more you clean, the less you have to clean.

Spring Cleaning | A Guide to All the Little Places to Remember

It’s the season for cleaning! Around this time of year, everyone is cleaning out their homes, putting away winter clothes, planting their gardens. Spring cleaning can be a daunting task, and it is easy to forget to clean various little places. Read on for tips when you complete your spring cleaning. This post may contain affiliate links

Kitchen & Dining Room Cleaning

It’s relatively common to wipe down the dining room table and the kitchen counters, clean the moldy leftovers out of your fridge and call it good. However, there are a ton of other little places in these rooms that need to be attended to. Cleaning out appliances like the blender, microwave, toaster, and oven are essential more than once a year, but spring is the perfect excuse to do a deep clean of them. Wipe down all the food residue, empty the crumb trays, refresh batteries, clean out fans, etc.

In addition to the appliances in the kitchen, I highly recommend cleaning under the table, inside the cupboards, and under the countertops. These are places that don’t get much attention and like to collect spider webs.

Mental Health, Physical Health, and Your Home

Living & Family Room Cleaning

The living or family room of any home is generally the most used room in the house. Because of this more dust and debris is likely to collect here. Every spring move your furniture to clean the carpet or floor underneath. You might also try cleaning beneath and between the couch and chair cushions. Fluff the carpet under any tables or chairs. Additionally, I highly recommend doing a thorough carpet or rug vacuum and clean at least once a year—perfect for spring cleaning season! Getting your furniture professionally clean might also be a good idea. It would also go without saying that dusting all surfaces in the living room is essential regularly.

Bedroom Cleaning

You spend nearly every night in your bedroom, but it can often be the most neglected room in the house. Springtime is the perfect time to take care of your bedroom. Go through your clothes and donate all the clothes you have not worn in a long time, organize your closet and dresser drawers, donate or sell old jewelry. If you keep appliances such a dehumidifier, humidifier, or diffuser in your bedroom, you might also thoroughly clean them out.

The last spring cleaning item I recommend that might often be forgotten is to clean sheets. It’s good practice to toss old worn sheets and invest in a clean new set of sheets on a yearly basis. Not only should you change and wash sheets regularly, old sheets should be tossed once a year or so to keep your room clean and health intact.

Bathroom Cleaning

It is easy for dust to collect in the bathroom because cleaning supplies and other stored supplies don’t get touched regularly. I recommend going through all the supplies in your bathroom, throwing out expired products and dusting all the other ones off. Clean your mirrors, drawers, countertops. Scrub your shower curtain, all grout in your tiles and tubs, and toilet. Keep your bathroom clean this spring!

Other General Spring Cleaning

In addition to regular spring cleaning and the tips mentioned above, there are several other places that should be cleaned this spring. These other items include vents, windows, and storage closets. Getting a professional to clean your vents is the most ideal, however, if you are unable to do so, do your best to clean out the dust and debris that collect here. Removing the vent top is essential for a thorough clean.

Windows also need attending to. The corners and crevices or small hidden areas in windows collect dirt and grime and will need a deep scrubbing each spring.

Similar to the bathroom and bedroom closet cleaning mentioned above, all other storage and closets need to be dusted, organized and cleaned. Throw out anything expired, broken, or unused. Look in all storage boxes for signs of animals, bugs, dust, or mold and clean them out if need be.

Keeping your house clean has a huge influence on allergies and general health. Doing and deep and thoroughly clean each year can have a huge positive impact. Follow this guide when you are cleaning this spring to keep your home in tip-top shape.

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A Millennial’s Guide To A Clean Home

Cleaning your home is the easiest way to keep it nice and organized. Have you ever had a big clear out where you’ve cleaned your home from top to bottom and been amazed at how neater it looks? Well, you can get that amazing feeling more often if you clean your home regularly. Of course, I know why most of us don’t get into a strict cleaning regime. We’re part of a generation that lives a very busy life. We balance a work life with a social life, it’s rare we have time at home on our own during the week. When we do, we want to rest, not clean!

So, I’ve come up with a cleaning guide that’s directed at millennials like myself. In it, you’ll find solutions to keep your home tidy without exerting too much time and effort.

Declutter

It’s not uncommon for those of us who live a busy life to leave things lying around the house all the time. Not only does this make it messier and less organized, but it also makes it harder to clean as you spend extra time picking the stuff up. Mainly, I do this when I’m getting changed, and I just dump my clothes on the floor or bed. Likewise, I’ll come home and throw my coat anywhere. It’s the same with my mail too, I won’t open it right away, I’ll let it stockpile up on my kitchen table and rarely sort it.

What we need to do is put things away as soon as possible. Pick up your clothes from the floor and put them in the washing basket or cupboard. Organize your mail right away and stop letting stuff clutter your home. As a result, you’ll have less mess, making your house easier to clean. Check out this closet organization post to learn more about organizing your bedroom closet or this post on file organization to help you out!

Millennial's Guide to a Clean Home

Using Robots

Vacuuming your home is one of the longest tasks when cleaning. However, if you put it off, it makes the task so much harder and time-consuming. Thankfully, there is a genius solution to your woes; get a robotic vacuum. Yes, it’s nearly 2018 and robots are now your best friend in the home. A quick peek on The Smart Future website will show you a whole host of robotic vacuums with different features. Mainly, their task is to vacuum your floor and keep it clean. You can buy one, turn it on, and let it do the work while you put your feet up or do something else. If you really want to make life easier, you can get one with a mopping function too!

Millennial's Guide to a Clean Home

There’s an App for That

There’s an app for just about anything. and, surprise surprise, there’s an app to help you with your home cleaning too. In fact, if you have a look on Housekeep you’ll see there are multiple apps at your disposal. Each one is designed to help you structure and schedule your cleaning routine, prioritizing tasks and setting alerts to get you to clean. This can help you use your time better and clean a little per day, rather than having to dedicate one or two hours on a single day per week.

Follow this guide, and you can have a clean and organized home! Let me know what your cleaning hacks are in the comments!

This post was written in collaboration. This means that while I have added to this post and edited its content and formatting, I am not its original author. By posting this content on my blog, I receive financial compensation.

A Millennial’s Guide To A Clean Home