Stress relief tips can help you figure out healthy ways to release tension in your life. Excessive stress on the body can cause factors that can increase heart risk including increased blood pressure and cholesterol levels. It's good to know how to relieve stress on a day-to-day basis, but you should also consider eliminating the stressful circumstances. Is your workplace stressful? The best time to look for new job is while you're still at the old one! Are you overscheduled with activities and responsibilities? It's okay to say "No" in order to reserve downtime for yourself. Try to remove yourself from the situations that make you feel stressed out – your heart and body will thank you. In the meantime, though, here are some stress relief tips for those moments when you can feel your blood pressure creeping up.
- Take a walk. Yes, even if it's raining or cold outside. Gear up and head out for a few blocks or several miles, it's your choice. Nature is one of the best forms of stress relief. Even if you live in the middle of a busy city, getting your body moving out in the open air and elements is a great way to blow off steam or gain perspective on whatever might be bothering you
- Work out regularly. We know it can be tough to stick with an exercise regime: you make that New Year's resolution and by April your gym membership just isn't enough to get you off the couch. That's why you have to keep experimenting until you find something that you love. It could be dance classes or martial arts or yoga or weightlifting – there are so many physical activities that can get you the exercise you need to relieve stress. Find one (or more!) that you love and reap the reward of that exercise-induced endorphin rush.
- Meditate. Even if you've never tried it before this can be a quick way to deal with stress in the moment. Practice deep breathing and clearing your mind. You can be sitting in a chair, laying down or in any comfortable position for this. And, today there are nifty apps that will time you and emit soothing sounds like recordings of singing bowls. Do a little research then try the meditation technique that feels best for you the next time you find yourself frazzled or upset.
- Prioritize sleep. There are a lot of reasons you might feel tired every day, but it's probably just that you're up too late. Eliminate distractions from your bedroom, including any and all screens. Get an old-fashioned alarm clock and leave your cell in the living room at night. If you have a TV in your bedroom consider removing it or implementing a strict "Off at 10" policy. If kids are keeping you up establish an earlier bedtime for the whole family so you can get things done after they go to bed and still get to bed on-time yourself. Some people have trouble turning their brain off and going to sleep – try meditating in bed and if you still can't drop off, consult a doctor about insomnia.
These are just a few stress relief tips, what have you found that works for you? Be sure to read up on our other heart healthy articles while you're here.