Life can get very stressful.
Schedules, workload, missed meals, unpleasant people, personal life, finances. Any—or all—of these, can stress you out.
Personally, Dolores Umbridge stresses me out.
If you don’t know who she is, she’s that sadistic, truly evil, pink-loving Ministry of Magic official who first appeared in the fifth Harry Potter book, Order of the Phoenix. I got so annoyed with the way her character made it so much harder for Harry at school that I hurled the book against the wall the first time I read it. I’ve read the book about ten more times after that, though. (Sorry. Not sorry.)
Feeling stressed out and anxious is fairly common. In the US alone, 70% of adults admit they feel some level of stress on a daily basis.  So I thought it might help if today, we talk about 5 surefire ways to relieve stress.
Are you ready? Let’s go!
Stretch those muscles. Expend that energy. Exercise is probably one of the most effective (could even be one of the most fun) ways to combat stress.
By putting your body through physical stress, you effectively relieve mental strain. Get some regular activity going! You get more out of exercise when you do it regularly. Whether it’s running, doing the zumba, yoga, or dancing, physical exertion gives you an opportunity to let go of your thoughts and worries. It releases endorphins into the brain, improving your mood and working as natural painkillers. Consider physical fitness and warding off other health problems, as a result, an awesome bonus!
I know exercise isn’t for everyone, but if you try to find an activity that you could enjoy, it could grow on you!
2. Eat stress-busting foods
Not a lot of people realize that cleaning up your diet perks up your mood and provides you longer lasting energy to face each day’s challenges. Believe it or not, junk food can actually make you feel down (not to mention, messes up your weight). Healthy foods like whole grains and protein are especially effective stress-busters. Certain other foods can help you manage your stress levels. Try some of these foods the next time you feel stressed.
- Citrus. Oranges, grapefruit, and other citrusy fruits are packed with Vitamin C, which helps alleviate stress. Personally, I think the taste of the sweet-sour juice that oozes into your mouth as you bite into these fruits just makes you feel so refreshed that it instantly puts you in a great mood!
- Dark chocolate. If you’ve seen the Harry Potter movies or read the books, you’ll remember Harry being fed chocolates after an encounter with dementors (foul creatures that feed on human happiness). It’s supposed to help him recover from the encounter.
- Omega-3 fatty acids. Avocado and fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, sardines, and herring help reduce stress & anxiety. If you’re not into fish, try walnuts, flaxseeds or flaxseed oil, or chia seeds.
3. Get a Massage
Too much tension can lead to muscle stiffness and pain. One of the most enjoyable ways to banish stress is through a massage. Everybody loves a good massage! What’s not to love when it relaxes tense muscles, reduces pain, and improves circulation?
4. Sleep (Get some z’s!)
This is the most effective natural stress reducer ever! Not getting enough sleep leaves us feeling irritable, cranky, and on edge the next day. On the other hand, getting way too much sleep can leave us feeling sluggish and lacking in energy. I suppose too much of a good thing is not good at all!
Balance is the key. The right amount of sleep (7 hours) allows you to feel well rested and refreshed. Establish bedtime rituals that program your brain about sleep time, take a warm bath, and avoid exercise three hours before going to bed.
5. Try Supplements
*Certain supplements can have side effects or interact with medications, so you may want to consult your physician if you have a pre-existing medical condition.