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9 Ways to Relax & Manage Stress

Life is stressful, from tackling household chores to traveling here and there for your children’s after-school activities. Regardless of your lifestyle, job, daily routine, encountering stressors is inevitable. However, you don’t have to let them completely overwhelm you. There are several ways of dealing with stress to get you to the ultimate state of relaxation and calm.

The good news is our cleaning professionals at Merry Maids® are here to help you find your happy, Zen state of mind so that your home goes back to being that serene sanctuary it’s meant to be.

The Effects of Stress on Your Body

Have you ever been late for an important dinner? Underprepared for an upcoming presentation at work? Or were you simply stuck in traffic?

You’ve likely experienced at least one of these situations before, and the stress it put on you felt never-ending. But, at the time, you probably weren’t fully aware of the physical, mental, and emotional symptoms your body was going through.

Let us break it down.

How Does Stress Affect You Mentally & Emotionally?

While everyone experiences stress in their lives, it’s usually nothing to be concerned about. However, prolonged stress can be the trigger for some serious mental and emotional health issues, including:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Substance abuse

Not only can long-term stress play a significant role in your mental well-being, but it can also alter your mood and behavior. Stress can invoke mood swings and cause you to go from happy to irritable in seconds. In fact, a study in 2015 suggests that psychological stress may cause people to develop depression.

How Does Stress Affect You Physically?

Everyone experiences stress differently. Therefore, the physical symptoms of stress can vary from person to person. The American Psychological Association deduces that chronic stress can affect several body systems causing a multitude of ailments, including:

  • Heartburn
  • Increased heart rate
  • Muscle tension
  • Headaches
  • High blood pressure

The good news is there are some relaxing things to do to deal with stress healthily so that when demanding situations happen, you’ll be fully prepared.

9 Tips to Alleviate Stress & Relax

Everyone wants to know how to relax. But, truthfully, relaxation looks different for everyone. One of the most amazing things about our bodies is that they’re equipped to deal with stress—in small doses. Believe it or not, stress can sometimes be beneficial, according to researchers at Stanford University. When you find yourself on the “bad” side of stress, try some of these relaxation tips to help minimize or eliminate the effects.

1. Unplug from Social Media

In 2021, Pew Research Center found that approximately 7 in 10 Americans use social media, and, on average, over 2 hours is spent on a social media platform. You may think that’s not a ton of time on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, but it’s definitely enough time to see distressing images or posts that elicit an emotional response. When social media stops being fun, put down your smart device and take a breather. Trust us, anything worth seeing will be there tomorrow.

2. Practice Body- & Mind-Based Relaxation Techniques

Mind-based strategies for relaxation are techniques used to promote peace and awareness of your own body and mind during stressful situations. It’s vital to be able to engage in coping methods in the midst of stress. Some of these techniques include:

  • Meditation
  • Slow, rhythmic breathing
  • Massage
  • Soaking in a hot tub or bathtub

The best part about these techniques is you can mix and match as you see fit. For example, do some breathing exercises while soaking in the bath or meditate during a massage. The way to relaxation is completely up to you.

3. Engage in Regular Light Exercise/Physical Activity

Physical activity or any kind of light exercise like walking can help reduce feelings of stress. The practice of yoga has been a well-documented and established stress-reducing activity. With a series of strength moves, stretches, and breathing, you can benefit both physically and mentally. Now is the perfect time to take a break and take a walk, do some stretching in your backyard, or go for a leisurely bike ride to destress.

4. Spend Time with Loved Ones

A 2017 study published in Oxford Academic’s Innovation in Aging concluded that healthy family relationships are linked to overall well-being. Spending time with your loved ones has a profound effect on how you deal with stress. In fact, a Carnegie Mellon University study found that many individuals use their families and friends as buffers for anxiety, talking through issues instead of using unhealthy coping mechanisms.

Make sure you take a few minutes out of your day to spend time with your loved ones to manage stress. It can be as simple as discussing the day’s events with your family members at dinner time.

5. Listen to Music

Who doesn’t love cranking up their favorite song and getting lost in the rhythm, lyrics, and melody of a crooning ballad or bouncy pop song? Not only can music get you going, but it can also help you reduce stress. In 2006, researchers at Stanford University suggested that music may change brain function and can potentially treat various neurological conditions, including ADD (attention deficit disorder) and depression. Scholars affirm that most music combines unique frequencies, resulting in complex brain reactions. However, specific pieces of music could positively influence concentration or promote relaxation.

To easily combat stress, we encourage you to turn on your favorite playlist (or use the one we’ve lovingly created for you) and let all the world’s problems fall away.

6. Maintain a Sense of Humor

Laughing to help relieve stress is definitely not a joke. It’s a real coping mechanism that scientists attest to. A studyconducted in 2002 on undergraduate college students found that individuals with a high sense of humor were cognitively prone to have less stress. Researchers concluded that humor positively affects the assessment of stressful events and is linked to stress-coping strategies, including distancing from stress, confronting and dealing with stress, and resolving the stress-causing catalyst.

Simply put, have some “pun” times with people who can make you laugh and help you alleviate the day’s tension.

7. Remember to Take Care of Yourself

You wear many hats in your life: parent, coworker, friend, sister/brother, son/daughter, and so many more. And while you’re successfully fulfilling all of your roles in life, are you remembering to take some time out for yourself? Self-care is crucial in eliminating stress and promoting relaxation. You can create an effective and personalized self-care plan using California State University of Northridge’s assessment.

8. Remember that Not All Stress is Bad

We all experience that “fight or flight” response when in an uncomfortable or dangerous situation. Chemicals like dopamine, adrenaline, and norepinephrine trigger this stress-related reaction in the brain to help keep you out of harm’s way or push you beyond your mental limitations. Short-term stress, in these cases, can be a good thing, prompting and motivating you to manage or overcome a tense event. As a result, you can find personal and professional growth and prepare your brain for improved daily performance, according to a 2013 study at UC Berkeley.

9. Rely On Others for Assistance

When life gets overwhelming—and it definitely will at some point—have people you can trust to lean on. Even if you can do it all, you shouldn’t have to when you have loved ones willing to offer their support to help you manage things successfully.

Our cleaning experts at Merry Maids also want to help you unwind after a long and stressful day. Call us at (888) 490-4227 and discover how we can transform your space into the relaxing home you deserve.