No need to spend a bunch of money in order to chill out—save the cash that the government didn’t take and find a little stress relief with these free or inexpensive methods.
Practice good time management. Each day, make a list of tasks that need to get done. Avoid distractions such as social media and non-urgent emails on really busy days—delegate time for those things when you complete your necessary to-do list. A sense of accomplishment will put your mind at ease.
Eat well. Many people look to comfort foods when their stress level increases. But foods high in sugar, fat and caffeine actually increase the stress hormone cortisol. Instead of a bowl of ice cream, indulge in a piece of dark chocolate—one of the most potent endorphin-boosting foods on the planet. Eat a handful of nuts, which are packed with cortisol-busting magnesium. Look for foods rich in complex carbohydrates to increase serotonin levels.
Schedule a massage. A deep tissue massage can reduce blood pressure by up to seven points, and decreasing your blood pressure can add six years to your life. It also helps to relax muscles, lower your heart rate, increase endorphins and slow breathing—all of which decrease stress.
Get active. Go for a run, swim or just take a walk around your office building. According to the Mayo Clinic, just about any type of exercise acts as a stress reliever by pumping up endorphins, improving your mood and allowing you to sleep better.
Get the giggles. It’s been scientifically proven that laughter is both preventive and therapeutic. It decreases your stress hormone levels and boosts healthy hormones, like endorphins, strengthening your immune system. Plus, laughing with friends will take your mind of pent-up emotions or frustrations.
Enjoy Mother Nature. Science has proven time and time again how the psychological benefits of nature can calm the brain. Hospital patients have even been known to recover faster when they have a view of the outdoors from their window. So go for a hike, play at the park or relax on a blanket at the beach. The sun and fresh air will make you feel better.