No one can say that this year hasn’t been a bit rough. We’ve all been witness to global political upheaval, natural disasters and a local economic downturn.
It’s little wonder that people are starting to feel a bit cranky as the year draws to a close. Here are some scientifically proven ways to reduce your stress levels.
Take a walk
Going for a 10-minute walk boosts endorphins, which reduces stress hormones. It also helps you clear your mind and gives you some time to reset your thought patterns so you can focus better.
Most of us don’t breathe properly, especially when we’re hunched over our desks. Take slow deep breaths with your stomach, allowing your stomach to expand and not just your chest. This increases the flow of oxygen to your brain and vital organs.
Have a laugh
A good belly laugh really is the best medicine. Studies have shown that laughing reduces artery inflammation and can decrease stress hormones. Just watching a funny video on YouTube or sharing a laugh with a friend can make you instantly more relaxed.
Buy a plant
Being around plants has a calming effect on people, in offices and at home. Plants also help purify the air.
Lavender is said to be the most relaxing, even helping people get to sleep.
Get up earlier
This one isn’t easy for the night owls, but having more time in the morning can positively affect your whole day.
Not having to rush, giving yourself enough time to wake up properly and taking a moment to focus on what you need to do for the day can help you manage any stress triggers later on.
Far from being practised only by hippies, meditation has been proven to reduce high blood pressure. Simply clearing your mind in a calm and quiet environment for a few minutes a day is an excellent way to recharge.
Reduce computer use
You know how a slow Internet connection can send people into a rage? Computers and smartphones can be very frustrating to use, and their "constantly connected" nature means you're never completely safe from new work or personal demands. They also add to eye, neck and shoulder strain.
Unplugging for a while can greatly improve your mood and reduce stress.
Hug a friend
Researchers have found that hugs can protect you from stress and even help with infection. Regular hugs from someone you’re comfortable with can also release serotonin, the so-called happiness hormone.
Eat a banana
Bananas contain potassium, which helps regulate your blood pressure. High blood pressure is a common side-effect of high stress levels.
Sing and shout
Singing, yelling or even sighing deeply are all good ways to release pent-up stress and energy. They also help get rid of tension in the upper body.
Listening to your favourite song can also release endorphins.
We all know a snack can make us feel better. Stress eating is a very real thing.
As long as you don’t go overboard, treating yourself can make you feel a lot better. Dark chocolate, in particular, has been credited for an overall reduction of stress.
A 2008 study found that chewing gum can reduce production of the stress hormone cortisol by up to 16%. Perhaps all that vigorous chewing has something to do with it.
De-clutter and organise
Trying to work with a cluttered, messy desk is distracting and stressful. Take a moment to de-clutter, organise and pack things away. This can greatly improve your mood and productivity, leading to an overall reduction in your stress levels.
If you need to clear some space but don’t have anywhere to store your excess files, folders, papers or books, Spacebox has got you covered. We offer valet storage in major cities across the country.
You don't have to come to us – we'll come right to your door, and even drop off sturdy, sealable plastic containers if you need them. Then we'll pick up and store your stuff securely, and drop it off when you need it again.