Stress Management Activities to Try at Home
Activities to Cure the Sources of Stress
Make a few minor changes to your home environment, like these ones, in order to reduce the likelihood of stress occurring. For example:
- Prepare meals in advance so that you don’t have to cook every night. Make use of your freezer for batch-cooking.
- Set a routine for your children. Ensure they eat, bath and go to bed at the same time every day so that you can arrange other things around them. This will help to prevent you from running out of time.
- Set a routine for yourself to keep on track on everything that you have to do.
- Take time out of your schedule to relax, have a bath or do something else that you enjoy. Relaxation is the key to eliminating stress.
- Tidy up your house; an organised home is must less stressful than a messy one.
- Keep a calendar or to-do list handy and every time you come across something extra, write it down. This will stop you forgetting things, you can physically see what you need to do and when and you get the satisfying feeling of crossing things off as they are completed.
Activities to Help Manage Stress
Relax Your Muscles
When you’re stressed, your muscles contract and become tense, leading to neck pain, headaches, back ache and cramps. It is therefore essential that you learn to relax and release tension.
Try this quick activity to help relax your muscles:
- Find somewhere you can sit or lay down comfortably and without distraction.
- Scan your body for muscle tension. Start at your head and move down to your toes.
- Practice relaxing each part of your body that you have identified as being tense.
- Alternatively, tense each part of your body for a few seconds and then relax it. As you let the tension go you will notice the sensations of relaxation.
- You can then practise and adapt this technique so that you are able to relax individual parts of your body at any time you feel stressed.
Other stress management activities for relaxing your body and your muscles include:
- Having a bath.
- Sitting quietly.
Relax Your Breathing
When you’re stressed your breathing becomes fast and shallow and, as a result of not much oxygen reaching your bloodstream or your brain, your heart rate and blood pressure also increase and you feel a bit light-headed and shaky. Practising relaxation techniques will help you regain control and bring your breathing back down to its normal, slow and regular state.
Try this stress management activity to relax your breathing in a stressful situation:
- Take a deep breath in through your nose.
- Hold the breath for 5-6 seconds.
- Breath out slowly through your mouth.
- Repeat this 2-3 times and then continue the task you were doing.
Relax Your Mind
If your mind is racing, you can’t stop worrying, you can’t sleep and you find concentrating is difficult, then the aim needs to be to try and calm your mind and distract yourself from the stressful thoughts.
Try this activity to relax your mind:
- Close your eyes and imagine your favourite place or memory.
- Imagine all the sights, sounds, feelings and smells.
- Allow your body to become fully immersed in the scenery and distract your thoughts from the stress.
- Keep yourself involved, or associated, in the memory until you feel completely relaxed and at ease.
Other stress management relaxation techniques include:
- Finding a piece of music that relaxes you and takes your mind off things.
- Using aromatherapy.
- Meditating to clear your mind and relax your body.
Take Some Time Out
Taking some time out of your daily routine is essential if you are going to relax your mind and body fully. People often think that it’s important to keep busy, fill their time with activities and not stop in case they fall behind. However this shouldn’t be the case, as taking some time for yourself is just as important as dedicating it to others.
Consider activities such as:
- Having a bath.
- Yoga or meditation.
- An exercise class.
- Attending an evening class.
- Doing a hobby.
- Spending time with your family and friends.
- Going for a meal out of the house or office.
Get a Good Night’s Sleep
Sleep is essential to your wellbeing so you should aim to get a full night’s sleep every night. Most people need around 7-8 hours’ sleep a night, though some people can manage on 6. Try these tips to get a good night’s sleep:
- Set a routine: go to bed and get up at the same time every day to stabilise your body clock.
- Use your bedroom only for sleeping; avoid using electrical devices (especially your phone and computer) whilst in bed.
- Do something relaxing before you go to sleep.
- Don’t drink caffeine or alcohol in the hours before bedtime.
- Ensure your bedroom is sufficiently dark and quiet.
- If you find yourself unable to sleep after half an hour, get up and walk around then get back into bed and try again. If you have worries or thoughts, write them down on a notepad by your bed.
Build Your Self-Esteem
Building your self-worth by taking up a new activity can do you the world of good. If you’re stressed, finding something else to concentrate and fill your time can be a great cure. Helping others can also reduce stress as it gives you chance to forget your own worries and look after those of someone else. It can help you to put your own concerns into perspective and give you a much more positive outlook.
Why not try:
- Joining a sports club
- Fundraising for charity
- Teaching a skill to children or other adults
Without a balanced diet your body is susceptible to stress-related illnesses, so it is vital that you continue to eat healthily when you are feeling stressed. Always eat breakfast and keep hydrated throughout the day to stop yourself running out of energy and feeling tired.
Eating foods from the 5 key food groups at every meal, comprising of a large amount of fruit, vegetables and starchy foods, a moderate amount of protein and dairy and a small amount of fats and sugars, will keep you happy and healthy.
Try to cut out as many saturated high-calories foods as possible, such as pies, pastry, cakes, biscuits, crisps and sauces, as these can make you feel sluggish and will only be detrimental to your mood.
Take Up Exercise
Exercise is a great cure for stress and anxiety and a good way to release tension. Whichever fitness activity you choose to do, even if it’s just for 20 minutes a day, it will help to decrease blood pressure and lower your heart rate: two of the worst physical symptoms of stress.
Exercise can also help to change your mood as, when you exercise, endorphins are released in your body (as opposed to the adrenaline and cortisol released when you are stressed) which help to produce feelings of well-being and calmness.
- Join a sports club or gym.
- Go for a walk on your lunch break or after work.
- Get off the bus one stop early and walk the rest of the way.
- Do some stretches whilst at your desk or when watching TV.
- Cycle to work.
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