While there are hundreds of ways to practice self-care on a daily basis, a large majority of them involve removing excess stress from your life. Stress negatively affects almost every system in your body, from head to toe. It’s impossible to have an effective self-care regimen without focusing on ridding yourself of harmful stress. Here are some of the easiest ways to reduce stress for optimal health.
Create a clutter-free home environment
You will find that messiness causes stress. You may not know that all the clutter in your home is causing you stress until it’s gone. As an act of self-care, take the time to declutter your home and replace that excess “stuff” with objects that enhance calm and serenity. This can start with getting rid of the stuff you don’t need anymore and adding touches like houseplants, candles, an essential oil diffuser, and more. But the decluttering process isn’t complete without a deep cleaning. Instead of doing this yourself, you can hire a cleaning service for between $121 and $243 in the San Jose, CA area.
Remove toxic substances from your daily routine
One of the most important ways you can care for yourself is to limit the amount of toxins and other unhealthy compounds you put in your stomach and lungs. When you abuse alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, or eat poorly (excess red meats, sugar, and processed carbs), you not only do long-term damage to your body, but also increase your risk of mental stress, anxiety, and depression. Consider the air you breathe as well. Studies reveal that air pollution can impact your stress level, so think about investing in an air purifier to improve your home’s air quality. Toxic substances raise stress levels, and then that excess stress becomes the most damaging toxin of them all.
Put yourself first more often
Most of us are yes people. When asked to do something by anyone — a friend, spouse, other family member, or coworker — we will say yes most of the time. Learning to say no sometimes will not only remove a ton of stress from your life, but is a vital act of overall self-care. It’s ok — and even recommended — to be “selfish” every once in a while. When it comes to letting others know what you want, learn to be assertive, not aggressive.
Max out your exercise time
Exercise is not a luxury for people who want 6-pack abs and giant biceps. Every human being needs at least 30 minutes of daily exercise or movement — no exceptions. Not only does exercise literally help reduce stress hormones in your body, it spurs the release of feel-good endorphins in the brain and helps keep you safeguarded from anxiety and depression. It’s an act of self-care to prioritize exercise time. You deserve it.
Take time to relax every single day
Every single day should include relaxation time. Not 5 minutes spent in the bathroom while your kids are in the other room. Not the 10-minute break you get at work. Not sitting on the couch stressing about all that you need to get done around the house. Stress-busting self-care requires true relaxation.
Think about taking time for yoga (classes generally cost $12 – $16), meditation, or a calming bath. Think about what chills you out. Maybe read a novel or work on some needlepoint. Have you tried coloring or alternate breathing technique? Don’t forget to actively relax your muscles. Physical relaxation is as necessary as mental relaxation.
In some environments, stress can be a good thing. It can serve as a motivator and can kick your body and mind into high gear, making you more effective at the task at hand. Stress is good in competitions and in some work scenarios. The fact is we all live with too much stress, however. Proper self-care includes a variety of things, but first and foremost, it means stress relief. Your health depends on knowing how to get rid of the excess stress in your life. What are the easiest ways for you to reduce stress?
Written by Brad Krause