by Nick Marshall
Stress courses through our body on a daily basis and in small doses it can be the motivation we need to accomplish goals that were otherwise out of reach (looking at you, fellow procrastinator). But it’s when we no longer have the time to give that stress an outlet that it can build into anxiety, depression, insomnia or constant exhaustion. The solution? Build these simple, fun exercises and habits into your daily routine to stay on top of your game.
Get Inspired with the Wim Hof Technique
Wim “The Iceman” Hof has devoted his life to putting his body under stress in order to rouse his nervous and immune system into action. As a result, he’s been able to take control of his stress response, and you can, too. Unlike The Iceman, you don’t have to immerse yourself in ice for almost two hours to feel the benefits. Follow his powerful breathing techniques for just a few minutes and the tension and stress will flow out of your body, replaced with a euphoric sensation of vitality and vigor.
Try Guided Meditation for Stress
Just a 10-minute walk will give you enough aerobic exercise to boost the circulation and soothe tense muscles and an anxious mind. If you don’t fancy working up a sweat, however, try meditation instead. It can be just as invigorating. There are plenty of apps that you can download onto the phone that let you set a timer and follow a stress-busting meditation cycle, emptying your mind, and rebalancing your chi. Combine it with yoga poses if you want to tone up and burn some calories at the same time.
Tap into Something Creative
One of the mantras of productivity evangelists is an obsession with always being busy. How many times have you been told that you should have every moment planned and filled in the day ahead? But we all know that that mindset can lead to burnout in no time at all. In fact, if you give your brain the time to unplug and “do nothing,” it will take the opportunity to recharge. Take a break and do some doodling, painting, or even just a little cooking. There may be no goal or purpose, but the creativity alone boosts your well-being and allows stress to escape.
Take Tidying Up to the Next Level
If the thought of tidying up fills you with anxiety, we won’t try to convince you that it’s “fun” in the conventional sense (though plugging into a podcast or some feel-good music can definitely help amp up the fun factor). But entertainment and reward are on offer with a quick power-tidy. There’s plenty of evidence that clutter and disorder make us stressed. You don’t need to set aside the whole day to fix the mess. Break the task down into a series of short two-minute assaults and treat it like a video game. Cushions plumped and aligned? Area clear. Trash can empty? Level up! Dishwasher stacked? Achievement unlocked.
Listen to Music to Clear the Mind
It’s one thing to have music on in the background while you’re busy. It’s another to stop everything else and concentrate your attention fully on a piece of music that touches your soul. Music takes a shortcut into our minds and emotions, putting us at ease and soothing anxiety. Give it the room to breathe, however. Too often we only listen to music when we’re already distracted. If you want to bust some stress with a few bars and beats, lie back, close your eyes and let the music wash over you — and if you find yourself belting out a verse or two, there’s no one to judge you!
Unleash the Power of Herbs
If you ever find yourself pounding away at the keyboard and slamming one energy drink after another to hit a deadline, you might feel like you’re being productive, but your body would argue otherwise. And it will let you know eventually. Try the Pomodoro Technique to get more done with less stress. Get up after 25 minutes, brew an herbal tea with stress-relieving chamomile, mint, or valerian and instead of staring at a screen, look out the window for five minutes. Add a few drops of minty CBD tincture to your tea and you’ll return to your task more focused and blissfully relaxed.
Stress creeps unnoticed into our lifestyle, but it can be eased out of our routine just as stealthily. Make any of these techniques a daily habit, and you’ll soon notice that you’re feeling lighter, fresher, and more energized.