We’re living through difficult times, there’s no doubt about it. From pandemics and global crises to the work- and general life-related stresses we were already feeling, there’s a lot of tension and difficulty in the air that we’re all dealing with. Some find relief in being able to find an acupuncture clinic in North Fitzroy where alternative medicine can do wonders for mental health. Some might visit health spas, go on long vacations, or even hire a professional counsellor to help them through everything.
What if these options aren’t all open to you? Are there simpler things one can do? Perhaps more budget-friendly things? Here are some ideas:
1. Exercise and Outdoor Activities
It may seem a bit cliche when people suggest that you should “get a bit of fresh air” when you’re feeling stressed, but there’s denying the reality of its power to rejuvenate and relax. Before you think that de-stressing exercise means you have to go and join a gym, think again. We mean exercise in its broadest and most encompassing sense.
Do any kind of physical activity that makes you feel excited and willing to do it: hiking, rock climbing, kayaking, swimming, jogging, yoga…the list goes on. If you do love the gym or the pilates studio, then head there if you want. It’s all the same basic effect that you’re going for: the release of tension and generation of stress-reducing endorphins.
2. Avoiding Isolation
There may be rare occasions when having an entire evening to yourself is indeed very de-stressing and blissful, but you should never be working to make a habit of it. More often than not, greater isolation will actually contribute further to your stress levels than the other way around. You might think you’re helping yourself by avoiding a social gathering, skipping an after-work party, and so on, but you’re not.
Find every opportunity you can to spend time with friends and family. It’s not about quantity, so even if you have just a handful of very close friends and family members around you, bring them in closer and spend that time with them.
3. Cooking and Eating Well
Increasing consumption of junk food and processed food is another factor that is actually contributing to our increasing stress levels. We tend to think of junk food as comforting, right? We think we’re treating ourselves, so it will feel great to eat it. In fact, the stress that’s causing us to eat more produces cortisol, which in turn triggers our body into hanging onto more fat than usual, which then makes those fatty, sugary junk foods even worse for us. It’s a vicious cycle.
So, getting back into the kitchen to produce healthy, organic and nutritious meals is a much better way for us to reduce our stress levels. The vitamins and minerals boost our energy levels, but also help us to sleep better and process what we eat more healthily. The vicious cycle turns positive.
4. Steering Clear of Alcohol and Drugs
On top of eating well and getting in that kind of general health kick. It’s also a good idea to steer clear of the vices such as alcohol and drugs, including tobacco. These may give us moments of escape, but they act in the longer term as depressants.
5. Improve Sleep Patterns
Finally, you should do everything you can to improve the quality and amount of sleep that you get. Not everyone necessarily needs 8 hours of sleep a night, but you need good, protracted periods of deep sleep to rest, organise and process the day’s information in your mind, and energise yourself for the day and tasks ahead.