If you’re reading this, chances are you’re stressed. Feeling pressure and anxiety is such a common part of daily life that you probably don’t even think about it. Don’t worry — you’re not alone. While you can’t always escape stress, there are several things you can do to minimize how it impacts you. Try these tips below to see if they can help you find your zen.
1. Make Your Money Mobile
Forget about rushing to the bank before it closes to make a deposit or grab some cash. Navigating traffic is a hassle, and getting there too late could put you in a financial bind.
Consider mobile banking instead. Smartphone apps make it easy to keep track of your deposits and how much you’re spending. Fee-free debit cards and round-up savings features mean you get to keep more money and build your nest egg. Plus, you don’t have to leave home to do it. All that adds up to less stress for today and tomorrow.
2. Put a Dent in Your Debt
Owing money, such as a student loan, can be a heavy weight to carry. It doesn’t matter if it’s a little or a lot. You can eliminate this monthly monetary headache if you try to pay it off as quickly as possible.
Look into side jobs or freelance work to make some extra cash you can add to your monthly payments. Or find some extras you can cut so you can put that money toward your loan. It takes dedication to get out from under debt early. Doing it, though, saves you years of stress — and you’ll pay less interest!
3. Stress Over Less Mess
No, this doesn’t mean becoming a minimalist. You just need to keep your things tidy and throw away what you’re not using. In fact, your body produces less cortisol, the stress hormone, if you have less clutter lying around.
Take a few days and spend 20-30 minutes going through each room. Sift out what you don’t need or want, and find the best places for things you want to keep. Once you declutter, you’ll have a more peaceful, less stressful home.
4. Plan Your Meals
Frequently, your toughest daily decision is, “What am I eating for dinner tonight?” It can be nerve-wracking to decide in the moment. Once you do, you could find yourself frantically throwing things together in the kitchen or ordering pizza yet again.
Pre-planning takes that stress off your dinner plate. Set aside a day or two a week to cook and freeze all your meals. Sunday and Wednesday are good options to cut the work in half. Meal preparation helps you sidestep the urge to order take-out (dollars saved!). It also makes it easier for you to have healthier meals on hand.
5. Give Lavender a Try
While the flower is pretty, having the scent of lavender in the air can help lower your stress level. Research shows lavender essential oil can reduce anxiety, restlessness, agitation, and nervousness. It can also help you sleep better and relieve some depressive symptoms.
Adding lavender to a relaxing shower or bath can make that time even more soothing. Consider lavender soap, shampoo, and conditioner. Looking for something a little simpler? Light a lavender-scented candle or oil diffuser. They’re both great ways to get the smell of lavender circulating through the air quickly.
6. Set an Earlier Bedtime
Getting up early to tackle the day sounds great. If you’re also going to bed late, though, it’s tempting to hit that snooze button, potentially putting yourself behind schedule. Then you’re already stressed, and the day hasn’t even started.
If you can, shoot for eight hours of sleep a night. You’re more likely to wake up naturally instead of being jolted awake by a harsh, beeping alarm. Plus, if you’re well-rested, you can get more done and manage your daily stresses better.
7. Get in the Zone
Claiming a relaxation zone just for yourself can be an effective way to handle stress. Whether you’re overwhelmed or want to avoid anxious feelings, having a location to mentally escape can have a positive impact.
Choose a sunny bay window, your favorite chair, or an entire room to be your chill-out spot. Just make sure it’s a place where you can be alone if you want to. Throw in a blanket, a candle, some soft lighting — whatever helps you relax — and take time to decompress.
8. Reserve a Landing Space
How much time do you spend looking for your keys or wallet when you’re already in a time crunch? Not being able to find items you need quickly can create a whirlwind of anxiety.
You can eliminate this stress altogether with a dedicated landing space. It can be a hook, a basket, or even a reserved spot on the table. Set aside that location as the place where you always put your keys, wallet, mask, and sunglasses. You’ll be surprised how much time and worry it saves.
9. Add in Supplements
Using the right supplements can help lower your anxiety and stress levels. Check with your doctor before taking them, though, because they can interact with your medications.
If you get the green light, there are several common supplements available. For example, research shows increasing your Omega-3 fatty acid intake can lower anxiety symptoms by 20 percent. Lemon balm, green tea, and the herb Ashwagandha can also reduce anxiety and stress. Just be sure you’re using any supplements as directed on their packaging.
10. Get Physical
Yes, exercise is great. Running or pumping iron can alleviate your frustrations. But Olivia Newton John had it right. Getting physical in other ways can be equally as effective and more fun!
Kissing, cuddling, hugging, and having sex can be great stress relievers. They release oxytocin (frequently called the “love hormone”) and lower cortisol levels. Additionally, physical contact plays a role in reducing two stress symptoms: blood pressure and heart rate.
11. Log Off
It’s no secret that today’s world is stress-filled, and social media amplifies our feelings. Spending too much time focused on news, crime, or the drama down the street can put you on pins and needles.
As much as you can, step away. If you must engage, carefully choose what you follow and whom you talk to. You’ll see less negative information and waste less time online, and both will decrease your tension.
Stress is an unavoidable fact of life and having some can be good. When it starts to make you feel bad, though, it’s time to control your stressors. Figure out what’s affecting you the most, take steps for change, and you’ll be on track to finding your zen.