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Top 5 stress-busters
by Jessica |  Sep 6, 2013

If you're like most city girls, you battle a variety of different stressors on a daily basis. Between work responsibilities, a social life, family-related issues, keeping up with your apartment and trying to squeeze in some exercise now and then, no wonder you're overwhelmed.

While it's totally normal to feel that way, you don't necessarily have to let it eat away at your happiness - or your well-being. Stress is a natural part of life, but there are certain tactics that can help to minimize the impact it has on your mental, emotional and even physical health.

Prep for your day
Facing your day is a lot more manageable when you prepare for it the night before. Think of things that take a lot of time in the morning and lead to unnecessary stress. If you tend to take your sweet time packing lunch or are indecisive about your ensemble, packing your lunch or picking out your outfit ahead of time can take a load off and help you to start you day more relaxed. If there's something you absolutely can't forget to do tomorrow, make yourself a note and leave it on your door or somewhere you won't miss it, that way you won't toss and turn worrying that it'll slip your mind.

Get moving
Especially if you have a job that requires you to sit at a desk all day, it's crucial to get moving to help blood flow to the brain. Although I recommend a more intensive workout to release a lot of built-up stress, you might not have time for a gym session. In that case, take a brisk walk on your lunch break or on your way back from work.  If your job is such that you deal with intense pressure, consider kickboxing classes- a great way to vent frustrations, whether they're directed at your boss or your boyfriend.

Write it down
You don't have to have a full-fledged diary, but jotting down some quick notes about your day is a top stress-busting strategy. According to studies published in the Academy of Management Journal, workers reported having reduced stress levels at the end of the day after they spent just a few minutes writing down positive things that happened, such as work accomplishments or praise from a manager. These evening reflections don't have to be about work, either. A compliment from the cute guy on the subway or a healthy, delicious lunch you brought are enough to highlight your positive qualities, thus making it a whole lot easier to deal with any negative emotions or events.

Re-connect with nature
Even if you're not an outdoorsy type, connecting with nature is a key way to alleviate tension and promote an overall sense of calm. In fact, a study by the University of Washington discovered that participants who only had access to a plasma TV screen that displayed real-time nature scenery didn't experience the same decrease in heart rate after being exposed to a minor stressor as the people who had an authentic view of nature. If your job or home office doesn't offer this, find time to be outdoors whenever you can. Bring your lunch to a nearby park, or take a night walk after dinner.

Munch away your madness
Snacking might be a natural instinct for you when you're frustrated or anxious, but that doesn't give you permission to reach for the tub of ice cream or bag of chips. In fact, unhealthy snacking decisions could just lead to guilt, not to mention lower energy levels, which will only fuel a never-ending stress cycle. Instead, try noshing on foods that have been shown to help you with these feelings. Research by The College of Health and Human Development at Penn State found that walnuts, which are rich in polyunsaturated fats, may reduce inflammation, lower blood pressure and help the body to deal with stress more effectively.

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