Stress impacts everyone. It’s an unavoidable issue as you go through your daily life. And while not all stress is a bad thing, too much of it can lead to mental health conditions like anxiety. It can also manifest itself with physical problems, including high blood pressure and heart conditions.
Due to the recent COVID-19 pandemic, stress levels are higher than ever for so many people across the globe. Maybe you have lost someone to the virus or know someone who has had to recover from it. Maybe you lost your job or you’ve had to make the switch to remote working. Or, maybe you’re a college student wanting to head back to class only to find out that you’ll be learning virtually this semester.
There are so many ways in which this virus has uprooted a sense of normalcy, and that isn’t always easy to deal with on a daily basis. So, it’s important to find ways to decompress and relax, while still keeping your commitment to a sustainable lifestyle.
Thankfully, it’s easier than you might think to reduce your stress levels in healthy, environmentally-friendly ways. Let’s look at a few ways on how to relieve stress, help you to unwind and feel more at peace during these uncertain times.
How to Lower Your Stress Levels
While this pandemic has impacted almost everyone in some way, there are particular groups who are feeling more overwhelmed than others right now. Thousands of kids, teenagers, college students and parents across the country are trying to navigate what this school year will look like.
Some schools are trying to hold classes in-person, while others have decided to go completely remote. No matter what your local schools or universities are doing, things are bound to look different. The CDC has suggested that children and teenagers are already at a greater risk of responding strongly to stressful situations and may have a hard time coping. So, if you’re dealing with school in any capacity or trying to help someone who is, what can you do to safely lower your stress levels?
Thankfully, there are plenty of natural, sustainable ways to reduce stress and find some peace in times of uncertainty. Some of the best ways to combat stress include:
- Identifying the underlying cause(s)
- Spending time with loved ones
- Taking a break
- Getting professional help or support
Everyone is dealing with this pandemic in their own way. If you’re trying to navigate school this year in any capacity, it’s important to focus on healthy ways to reduce your stress levels, or you could increase your risk of developing conditions like anxiety, or even depression.
Take Care of Your Mind and Body
One of the best ways to decompress and relax is to practice self-care. Think about your daily routine and habits, and what you could do to make them better for yourself and the world around you.
A good place to start is to look at what you eat each day. While you might want to reach for comfort foods right now, pre-packaged, convenience meals are often laden with preservatives and chemicals, and have to go through production facilities that can be damaging to the environment. Instead, take this opportunity to stroll through your local farmers’ markets. Now, more than ever, local businesses and growers need your support. Most farmers’ markets are held outside, so you can walk through them safely to purchase fresh produce, baked goods, and more. It’s a relaxing way to spend your time, and you can feel good about the food you’re putting in your body.
Exercising is another great way to alleviate stress and relax. You can even boost your energy levels if you choose to get some exercise outside. Walking, hiking, and cycling are all eco-friendly ways to get in a great workout and experience health benefits like:
- Improved heart rate
- Improved posture
- Better coordination
- Increased cardiovascular fitness
Finally, take some time to fully relax both your mind and body by pampering yourself a bit. Taking a warm bath at home is a great way to alleviate sore muscles caused by tension and stress. Setting up the right environment in your bathroom with dimmed lighting, candles, and soft music can improve your mood and allow you to fully unwind.
Bath bombs and essential oils are great options to add to your bath, but make sure you choose products that use natural ingredients. Some bath bombs contain additives like glitter that can not only clog your drain, but aren’t great for the environment.
Make Your Home a Sustainable Sanctuary
We’ve all gotten used to spending more time at home lately. So, why not take advantage of that by turning your home into a stress-free, sustainable sanctuary that will help you to decompress each day?
If you’re not sure where to get started, try simply cleaning and organizing your space. Studies have shown that people with cleaner, less cluttered homes tend to be healthier. If you have a disorganized, chaotic space, it could feel overwhelming and add to your existing stress. Be sure to use eco-friendly cleaning products as you start to scrub. Not only are natural cleaning products better for the planet, but they are less harsh on your skin, less likely to trigger your allergies, and are often cheaper than cleaning products laden with chemicals.
Creating a calming space for yourself can be as simple as changing the paint colors of your walls. The practice of color psychology suggests that the most calming colors are shades of blue, green, gray, and violet. Add pieces of furniture that make you feel comfortable, and accents that create a cozy atmosphere.
You can even turn your backyard into a stress-reducing sanctuary by planting a beautiful flower or vegetable garden, using solar lights to save energy so you can enjoy it at night, and using terra cotta pots with your favorite flowers along your deck to bring you little bright spots of happiness.
As you can see, finding ways to relax doesn’t have to be difficult, or harmful to the environment. It’s important to get through these trying times in healthy ways for your own sake, but also for the sake of your children, friends, family, and the future of the planet. Keep some of these solutions in mind the next time you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed, and you can use them to find relaxation and peace throughout your day.