Stress is a condition that can be experienced by everyone. Especially during this Covid-19 pandemic when we have to stay at home more and limit our physical contact with other people. Stress can have both positive (to a certain degree) or negative impact, but it should not be allowed to drag on without taking proper relieve stress. Because, prolonged mental health problems can trigger various health problems and diseases. The reason is, when you are under stress, the body will release the hormone cortisol and adrenaline. It will make the heart work faster and make you tired easily. In addition, stress can also make the immune system will decrease and it will be difficult to fight viruses or bacteria, so you will be more susceptible to disease.
1. Express Complaints
Are you used to keeping your feelings to yourself and rarely sharing them with those closest to you? If so, this habit can make you vulnerable to stress. Trying to get used to expressing the complaints that are on your mind with those closest to you can make you feel much better and your mind becomes lighter. This simple method is very good for eliminating the burden of thoughts and stress that you are experiencing.
You can try calling your partner, closest friends, family members, or contacting a psychologist to discuss the problems you are facing. The presence of these people is very important when you are in a state of severe stress. Clearing your mind as well as listening to soothing sounds can help you think more calmly and clearly, as well as lift heavy burdens off yourself.
2. Exercise regularly, especially in the morning
Exercise has long been known as the best way to deal with stress. Plus, exercising can make the body healthier. Exercise will make our body muscles relax and divert your mind from things that trigger stress. So that it can improve your mood or bad mood. Exercise can also lower stress hormone levels and trigger the production of endorphins. Endorphins is a hormones that act as natural pain relievers that improve mood and make us happier.
3. Consumption of Healthy Food
A healthy diet can act as a good stress reliever. Of course, these foods do not include those that are high in sugar, fat, and caffeine, such as fast food, soft drinks, potato chips, and even red meat. These types of foods can indeed relieve stress in the short term, but these habits can actually exacerbate stress conditions in the long term. Because these foods will make blood sugar levels rise suddenly, and then drop suddenly and trigger stress and anxiety disorders.
Healthy food has health benefits, not only physically but also mentally. When stressed, the body actually only needs certain nutrients such as B vitamins, vitamin C, magnesium, and selenium.
4. Do Meditation
The next way to deal with stress is to do meditation which you can do as an alternative to activities at home. Meditation can reduce levels of the hormone cortisol which is a stress hormone, so you will be calmer. You can take 10-15 minutes a day to meditate, and do it at least 4-5 times a week to relieve stress. Try it with the following steps:
- Find a quiet and comfortable place
- You can add soothing sound effects with relaxing music
- Sit up straight on the carpet or the floor
- Then, close your eyes and start breathing slowly
- While breathing, you can say affirmations to yourself or be grateful for one thing
- You can chant the ‘mantra’ out loud or in your heart
- After that, place one hand on your stomach to match the rhythm of the words that come out according to the rhythm of your breath
- Slowly, you will also feel negative thoughts disappear from your mind
5. Keep a Personal Journal to Record Changes in Mood or Feelings
If you are a person who is not too comfortable expressing complaints to others, you can choose the option to write a journal or diary. Writing down your thoughts and feelings can be a great way to release emotions and relieve stress, especially those caused by serious things like family or work problems. You don’t have to think about what you’re going to write, write whatever comes to your mind and you don’t have to think about whether anyone will read it.
You can write in a notebook or use the notes feature on your phone. Once you’re done, you can keep it or throw it away. You can save the writing as a note of changes in mood or feelings every day, at least do this for 5 minutes. Apart from relieving stress, writing also provides other benefits such as organizing and understanding your thoughts. If you feel stressed because you are afraid of something, you can also write down whatever you are afraid of and can help find ways to get rid of this stress-causing fear.
6. Do Fun Activities
Doing fun activities can trigger the body to produce the natural happy hormone, namely dopamine. The dopamine hormone can make your body and mind more relaxed, as long as the activities you do are positive so they don’t cause new problems. Examples such as:
a. Drawing or Painting
You don’t need to be an expert to draw, but choosing to draw or paint can be an intermediary choice to express your thoughts. Any meaningless drawings or doodles on paper are effective for calming a cluttered mind when under stress and relieving nervousness. You only need a writing utensil and a piece of paper. You can do it anytime and anywhere whenever you feel stressed or anxious. Or, you can use a special book for coloring which can also help improve concentration and creativity.
Dancing is an excellent way to relieve stress, for both women and men. Dancing is a solution to rest mentally and physically and also saves a bad mood. You just have to play your favorite song and move your body to the rhythm of the music, you can also add singing. Your heart will be happier and your mind can be distracted for a moment to be clearer so that it is easy to find solutions to the problems you face.
You can use the free time you have by gardening as a way to relieve stress. Because gardening requires concentration which can help take your mind off stress. Patiently caring for plants from small shoots to flowering or producing fruit will bring a sense of satisfaction in your heart, and the results of plants that you take care of will refresh your eyes and make your mind clearer.
7. Find a New Hobby If Needed
Having a hobby is a great way to relieve stress. However, if you feel that your current hobby is not very helpful, you can look for a new hobby that is more fun and effective. It’s best if you don’t feel pressured to find something new that you can enjoy and eventually you are forced to do it. As a result, the stress you feel doesn’t go away, it just gets worse.
Set aside some free time first, then try some new, relaxing hobbies. For example, you can try knitting that you have never tried, knitting requires concentration and creativity so it is very good for relieving stress.
8. Focus on the present, not the past or worrying about the future
Most people feel stressed because of excessive worry about things that happened in the past or in the future. Try to focus on the things that are happening right now, don’t get too caught up in events that happened a long time ago, especially if they made you sad. Live in the moment and don’t worry about what will happen in the future. Living life with happy feelings and positive thoughts will have a good influence. This method is very good for dealing with stress, especially for teenagers who often worry about the future.
9. Apply a Healthy Lifestyle
The next way to relieve stress is to always apply a healthy lifestyle, namely by eating nutritious foods, getting enough sleep, not smoking, not consuming alcoholic beverages, or even not using illegal drugs. When stress hits, people tend to take the wrong steps to deal with it. But instead of relieving stress, these things can actually exacerbate stress and also health conditions both physically and mentally. Here are two keys to a healthy lifestyle that you can do:
a. Quit smoking
Nicotine in cigarettes is often considered a stress reliever, so it is not uncommon for people to choose to smoke when they are under stress. While it does provide a momentary sense of calm, nicotine actually puts a lot of stress on the body by slowing blood flow and also decreasing the ability to breathe properly.
b. Avoid Turning Stress into Alcohol Consumption
In addition to cigarettes, most also choose to divert their minds by drinking liquor or alcohol. The effects obtained after consuming alcohol are believed to be able to help forget the problems that cause stress for a while. But of course this cannot be a solution that will automatically solve the problem. Not only that, alcohol also has a bad impact on health.
10. Drink Low Caffeine Tea and Reduce Coffee
When stress comes, you can make warm tea which is efficacious to calm the mind. Examples include chamomile tea and green tea, which are high in antioxidants that can have a calming effect on the nervous system. Chamomile tea can replace coffee to help you fall asleep and sleep better. Because consuming too much coffee can make you anxious, difficult, sleepy, and have headaches because the caffeine in it is a natural stimulant that can make you more literate and active.
Choose teas that contain less caffeine or are caffeine-free, such as herbal teas. Most herbal teas are free of caffeine.
11. Consume Saffron
Another herbal ingredient that can help you calm down and relieve stress is saffron. Saffron is a spice that is widely used in the Middle East in their food and drink. Saffron is also available in supplement form, which is effective at relieving symptoms of mild to moderate depression. However, if you want to consume saffron, it should be consumed in a safe and balanced dose, which is no more than 5 grams, because it can cause toxins and should not be consumed by pregnant women.
12. Take Care of Pets
Pets can be a great way to relieve stress, because interacting with animals triggers the brain to release oxytocin, which increases feelings of pleasure. One of the reasons why pet care is a good way to deal with stress is that it can both fulfill a basic human need, which is to express love and guide us to learn to be more empathetic humans.
You can pet, hug, or touch a pet such as a dog or cat lovingly to increase serotonin and dopamine levels in the brain so that the mind and muscles will be calmer.
13. Choose Watches or Sources of Information that Don’t Cause Stress or Anxiety
Exposure to news or sources of information can be a trigger for stress, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic. Selecting the type of news you get each day can help reduce risk and also relieve stress. Some steps you can take are:
a. Avoiding trigger topics
If you come across news that contains topics that can trigger stress, you should avoid reading the news. You can turn off the television or mute trigger words on your social media platforms.
b. Limit news consumption
Reading news is now easier with the presence of mobile phones, you can be flooded with the amount of news every day and it can be difficult to avoid news that can trigger stress. Limit the consumption of certain news so that you are not obsessed with constantly reading news and sources of information that can harm mental health.
c. Use social media wisely
Social media can make you feel like you’re overloaded with information and news, because there’s always something new and fast popping up on your phone. Control your use of social media wisely, or take a break from using social media by deleting the app from your phone.
14. Gather or Communicate with Close People
In fact, humans are social creatures who need positive physical contact with other humans. Spending time with the people closest to you is one way to relieve stress, for example with your partner, friends and family. Gathering together can help trigger the release of oxytocin which is a natural stress reliever and gives a positive aura, you can even laugh and smile which naturally relieves stress. Get rid of thoughts that make you tend to isolate yourself when stressed. During the pandemic, you can stay connected with your family at home or call friends.
In addition, you can also help others if you have enough free time. Helping others will help us see a different perspective in life and make us more grateful. Our hearts will become happier and of course keep us from stress. There are many ways you can help others, start joining the community, donate to an orphanage, or even buy a friend’s merchandise.
15. Learn Breathing Exercises
Breathing turns out to have a certain impact and effect on our mood and brain performance. Changing the way we breathe or doing breathing exercises can be a good way to calm our minds so they don’t get stressed easily. Practicing breathing can reduce stress symptoms such as increased heart and breathing rates, and narrowed blood vessels.
Breathing exercises can be done anywhere and anytime. Simply stop all the activities you are doing, then take a deep breath through your nose, hold it and count to three and then exhale slowly through your mouth. Focus your mind only on your breathing and nothing else. As you take a breath, you can while imagining a quiet and pleasant place to take your mind off.
16. Set and Limit Patterns or Working Hours
One of the causes of stress can come from the office or where we work, making us prone to burn out. Some ways you can do to relieve stress caused by work. For example, setting and limiting work patterns or hours by coming and going home on time and not lingering overtime or arriving late, then taking time to take a short break from work by going out. from the room to change the atmosphere. You can take a short walk to relax your muscles and refresh your mind. Don’t forget to organize your work by prioritizing the important tasks first to make it more neat and organized.
17. Have Me Time or Time for Yourself
Don’t forget to always make time for yourself on the sidelines of your daily busy life. It’s best not to use the time off for overtime or even doing your job. Instead, do whatever it takes to please yourself, like take up a hobby, exercise, or even go outside. There’s nothing wrong with trying to stay or staycation alone on the weekend, you know.
Exposing yourself to the sun will trigger the happy hormone serotonin and a feeling of calm. Besides that, you can also do gadget fasting by staying away from gadgets for some time, being exposed to gadget use is known to cause excessive stress.
18. Know Your Stressors and Avoid These Stress Triggers
Stress triggers aka stressors can come from anywhere. So the simplest way to get rid of a stressful mind is to avoid these triggers. You can rest your eyes and ears from the gadget for a while. If you don’t know what triggers stress, you can calm yourself down for a moment when stress hits. Then, identify things that make your body respond negatively. By recognizing and managing stressors, you can avoid future stressors that will certainly harm you.
19. Take a Hot Bath or Bath
The next way is to take a shower or bath using warm water which is very good for relieving heavy stress due to accumulated thoughts. You can soak in warm water accompanied by aromatherapy candles and soft music. Or if you don’t want to take a shower or bath, you can just soak your feet in warm water with spice oil or aromatherapy added. Several aromatherapy oils have been shown to help relieve stress, for example lavender essential oil.
20. Do Massage Regularly
Stress makes muscles in the body tense up so that they become sore or sore. So, massaging the body on a regular basis can help to reduce the negative effects of stress. Massage on the body can relax those tense muscles and also calm your brain. You can start scheduling regular massages every month so that your body avoids stress and becomes healthier. Massage can take any form, ranging from regular massage, reflexology, or even massage with special techniques such as Thai massage.
21. Learn Sincerity and Forgiveness
In addition to being grateful, an attitude that can also help you get rid of stress is to learn to be sincere and forgive. Maybe the cause of your stress is family problems or fights with your partner. With sincerity and forgiveness, you will avoid stress and also get a clear mind so you can find solutions to solve problems. It is not easy to be sincere and forgiving. But there is nothing wrong with learning and keeping the intention to do it.
22. Chew Chewing Gum
Chewing gum turns out to have a pretty good effect on health. Not only freshening your breath and suppressing snacking habits, chewing gum can also reduce symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression. In a study revealed that someone who regularly chews gum can relieve stress, increase anxiety, increase alertness and even be able to multi-task. However, you should not chew gum too often because chewing gum also contains sugar which can be harmful to your teeth.
23. Get Enough Rest
Lack of sleep and rest can cause stress, and vice versa where stress can also make it difficult to sleep or insomnia because you usually think too much. Though sleep is the right time to rest the body and mind. Therefore, getting enough sleep and rest has a positive impact on mood, energy, concentration, and overall body function.
If you often have trouble sleeping, make your bedroom more comfortable. You can also get into the habit of going to bed and waking up at the same time. You can also take a nap time to improve brain work and reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol. It’s about a maximum of 20 minutes and not too long because it can interfere with your nighttime sleep.
Research shows that people who use their religion or spirituality more to deal with the hardships of life are shown to be better able to cope with stress and also experience increased health benefits. This is because worship gives you time to connect with God. Worship provides peace, relieves anxiety, and makes you more grateful because it builds positive energy.
A number of religions and beliefs have their own way of relieving stress. For example, according to Islam there are several things that the Prophet Muhammad SAW has suggested to relieve anxiety and anger. Namely by:
- Performing ablution, splashing cold water can help calm tense nerves
- Sunnah prayers, stretching the prayer movement is good for blood circulation and hormone production
- Alms, helping others can make you feel happier and calmer
- Istighfar, can be self-suggestion so that the brain will release stress-preventing hormones
- Listening to the chanting of scriptures can help calm a restless, angry, and negative mind.
25. Consult a Psychologist
If the stress symptoms you experience are too severe or occur too often. Then the last way you can do to deal with stress is to consult a psychologist or psychiatrist. Don’t be afraid of the stigma that is often attached to people who go to psychologists or psychiatrists. Because, these professionals can help you find the source of your stress and start dealing with it from there so its can root the problem.
You can go to a psychologist in person or consult online and get therapy. If your condition is already leading to symptoms of a mental disorder, you may be advised to see a psychiatrist to get the necessary medication.
By doing ways to relieve stress, surely our mental health will be more awake and also our physically stronger. Always believe in yourself and don’t delay getting help if the symptoms you experience are too severe and don’t get better, especially if they interfere with your daily routine.