Sometimes, after a long week—or even a long morning—the world can suddenly feel heavy. You’re either zooming or moving too slowly, overwhelmed or overburdened.
All at once, stress attacks.
We all know the long-term ways to balance stress—eat nutritiously, exercise often, sleep long and well.
But sometimes in those moments, what we need most is relief NOW. That's where we have you covered.
Here are 3 quick ways to beat stress quickly:
Take a Short Walk
An obvious one, we know. But when you’ve hit a wall, or what’s in front of you is leaving you spinning, the best medicine is often a short break.
A short walk gives you momentarily relief from what’s causing you stress, but it also affects the way you think when you return. Light exercise can immediately affect your mind for the better, improving memory function or how portions of your brain talk to each other.
After a walk, you’ll likely be better prepared to tackle what’s been causing you pain.
So, give yourself a minute, or 10. Stand up, get away from your stressful place and take a lap around your home, office, building, or a nearby park.
For a few minutes, allow your mind and body to be elsewhere.
Take a Cold Drink of Water
Sometimes all it takes to fend off a stressful afternoon is a nice drink of water.
Dehydration and stress tend to feed off each other; stress’ increased heart rate and heavy breathing cause you to lose fluid faster, and a stressed person is more likely to forget to eat and drink what they need. Dehydration, on the other hand, can increase your cortisol, or stress hormone, levels, leading to more distress.
Staying hydrated is an excellent way to fend off these problems before they take over, leaving you a little calmer and with a little more control.
On top of everything, a drink of cold water can be a quick, welcome shock to the system, a grounding exercise that brings you back to reality.
Focus on the chill running through your body and, for a moment, let everything else slip away.
If your mind is overwhelmed, it never hurts to turn your attention to your body.
The benefits of stretching regularly are paramount, improving blood circulation, range of motion, and posture. But a quick stretch can also do wonders for our stress levels.
When we’re stressed, our muscles tense up, settling again once the stress fades. But constantly high stress levels can lead to constantly tense muscles, sometimes causing migraines, lower back pain, and even increased likelihood of stress-related disorders.
A great way to break that cycle is quick, frequent stretches throughout the day.
Sitting or standing, give your upper body a shake down, stretching your neck, shoulders, arms, wrists, chest, and back. While seated, rest one ankle on the opposite knee and lean forward, loosening your hip flexors, or stand up for a quick quad stretch.
With each stretch, take five deep breaths, counting to five on each inhale and exhale.
Keep a List for Future Reference
Whichever stress relief tactics work best for you, keep them close. Jot down a list of your favorites on a post-it on your desk, or your notes app, or even your phone lock screen.
When stress sneaks up, you’ll be ready to beat it.