Habits and stress go hand in hand. Both can lead to the other. Poor habits can cause more stress, and more stress may lead to poor habits. Let’s give ourselves a break!
We want to live life to the fullest. And with the help of technology, we’ve become super efficient in doing the things that need to be done much faster. It helps us save time….to do even more! Nowadays our everyday lives include a full-packed agenda: at work, at home, and socially. Plus we’re living in an era with an overload of stressors and impulses that we need to digest throughout the day: information, traffic, e-mails, phone, social media, meetings, projects, appointments, household, family, friends, clubs … the list goes on. We’ve changed more and more from humanBEINGs to humanDOINGs.
Brains constantly switched-on
Altogether it means our brains are in the “switched-on” modus from waking up in the morning until going back to sleep at night. And although watching a movie after a full day might seem like a relaxing activity while laying down on the couch, it still is a stressor to our brains.
Many of us find ourselves under continuous stress. Stress in itself is not inherently bad. In the right dose, it can actually help us perform at our best. The problems start to arise when the stress becomes long-standing because negative habits are easily built on the back of stress.
Chronic stress is the new norm
Chronic stress has become our current way of life, and we cease to recognize it. It has become a new norm. The truth is that many of us are contributing to poor habits by being oblivious to how increased stress is affecting our daily lives. We often deal with stress by comfort eating, convenient fast food, drinking more caffeine and alcohol, and staying up too late, which affects our energy and mood. If this continues for a too long period of time, it may result in more serious issues, like insomnia, depression, high blood pressure, weight gain…
How to reduce stress in less than 15 minutes?
There are a few things, that won’t take a lot of effort, that we can do to lower our stress during the day. Here are five simple ways to reduce stress in 15 minutes or less:
1. Breathing Exercises
There are several breathing techniques you can use to slow your heart rate and lower your stress level. Allow yourself a few minutes of “break” in between all of your activities. Shift focus to your breathing. My favorite is the ‘Paused Nasal Breathing Exercise‘. It can be done anytime, anywhere. Repeat this simple exercise for just a few minutes and you’ll feel instantly more relaxed afterward.
2. Active Outdoor lunch break
If you spend your entire day at a computer screen, why not make sure you get outside every lunchtime by going for a 10-15 minute walk? Get out of the chair, out of the office building, move your body a bit, breathe fresh air, and keep your mobile phone switched off.
Avoid a mid-afternoon slump by taking your own, healthy lunch box. The energy from caffeine and sugars isn’t long-lasting, so avoid a quick coffee to-go and fast food snacks along the route. Drink water and choose food items that are rich in healthy fats and proteins. Such as vegetables, or a wholemeal sandwich with avocado, egg, fatty fish, or chicken fillet. Or have unsweetened Greek-style yogurt, with some nuts, seeds, and fruit. These options will keep you energized much longer!
MoreFun2Run offers Mindful Walk/Run workshops and courses where you can learn how to combine mindfulness and breathing with walking. These techniques would give your brain a real break! A mindful lunch walk would be the best energy booster for a more productive afternoon in a good mood. Please contact us if you’d like to learn more about it: E-MAIL
3. Set a Morning Routine
Instead of scrolling on social media, spend the first 15 minutes of your day doing something that puts you in a good mood. If you love coffee, make some, first thing in the morning, and be mindful about smelling and tasting it while you drink it! You could also read a few pages of a book, or write something in your journal. Or you could start the day with some yoga, stretching, or breathing exercises. Whatever it is as long as it is a mood booster.
4. Do What Makes You Happy
We can’t escape all stress, but we can become more resilient to it by doing at least one thing we love every day. Even if it’s just for ten or fifteen minutes. That happy moment at one point during the day is an instant stress reliever. It could be cooking, playing a game with your kids, reading a book, singing, or a mini-workout.
Sports and exercise are perfect stress relievers, but a full physical workout usually takes longer than 15 minutes. To move your body a little more during the workday, there are many apps that help you with short daily desk-friendly exercises, that you could easily do at the office in between two meetings.
5. No screens 1 hour before bed-time
A regular bedtime that ensures an adequate amount of rest is essential for healthy sleep. Tempting as it might be to watch TV or to use your laptop or phone, just before bed, the blue light of these devices has a lot of negative health effects. It has a huge impact on stress and it can interfere with sleep. Decide what time is your bedtime moment for 7-8 hours of sleep, and set a reminder or an alarm to switch off all screens at least one hour before. Use the last 15 minutes before going to sleep to really wind off. Only do relaxing activities that don’t involve screens. You could take already set the breakfast table ready for the next day, take a nice warm shower, read a bit, meditate, or do a relaxing breathing exercise. A quiet end of your day will certainly improve the quality of your sleep.
I hope you think this article will help you to create more balance between daily stressors and relaxation. Keep on living life to the fullest and stay healthy and happy! I’d be happy if you’d share it on your social media. 😉 Thank you! If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me. You may also leave any comments below.