Are you looking for easy ways to reduce stress naturally?
You’re not alone!
Did you know, according to the American Psychological Association, almost half of all women surveyed reported that they feel more stress than now than they did five years ago?
That’s a lot of women and a lot of stress!!
I don’t know about you, but I believe it. In fact, I’ve seen it first hand!
Almost every female massage client I have seen has said that she was feeling a lot of stress. It is very common to see stress-related issues when they come in for an appointment.
If you’re looking for easy ways to reduce stress naturally, keep reading!
What Causes Stress?
We experience stress as a response to everyday events in life. Sometimes this can be a good thing and helps to motivate us, but other times it’s not and we can start experiencing negative health effects.
Common Causes Of Stress
- Living an unbalanced life
- Poor diet
- Emotional stress (trauma, feeling chronically overwhelmed)
- Physical stress (lack of sleep, injury, physical ailment)
So, as you can see stress can come from anything in life.
Experts estimate that at least 75% of doctors visits can be attributed to a stress-related cause!
Stress really is a killer!!
That’s why we need easy ways to reduce stress!
Stay with me, we’re almost there 😉
Symptoms Of Stress And Its Effect On Women’s Health
If you’re running from a lion, grabbing your toddler before they run out in the road, or putting 100% into a work project, stress is usually short term and helpful.
Even if stress is helpful in some situations, you may still find yourself experiencing common symptoms.
Symptoms can include:
- trouble sleeping
- eating too much or too little
- mood swings
- poor concentration
- stomach problems
- using alcohol or drugs to cope
If stress becomes chronic, your body can become overtaxed, depleted, and health will start to deteriorate.
Symptoms Of Chronic Stress
- Depression and anxiety– Anyone can experience depression and anxiety, but women experience higher rates of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and Panic Disorders than men
- Hormone and menstrual problems– Chronic stress can raise adrenaline and cortisol which then disrupts all other hormones in the body causing sleep disturbances, adrenal fatigue, infertility, menstrual problems, PMS, and more
- Increase in headaches– This can include migraines!
- Weight gain– Changing hormones, increased feelings of hunger, eating for comfort, and lack of exercise because of stress or lack of time can all cause weight gain
- Heart problems– Stress can increase blood pressure and heart rate
- Autoimmune disorders– There are many causes related to autoimmune disease (and each person is different) but stress is known to be a possible trigger
- Addiction– If you’re using alcohol or drugs to cope with stress there is a real risk of becoming addicted
8 Easy Ways To Reduce Stress
Reducing stress is not always as easy, especially if you can’t change your situation right now, have been dealing with it for a long time, or are just plain exhausted.
Don’t worry though, this is definitely one of those times where small changes will have huge rewards!!
These 8 tips are sure to help you feel less stress and more balance.
1. Eat Healthy Nourishing Food
Ok, if you’ve read any of my other posts this suggestion is almost always number one. That’s because it is that important!!
If you are facing any kind of health issue, including stress, it is essential that you eat a nutrient-dense diet.
When you’re stressed your body uses vitamins and minerals much more quickly and levels can become depleted.
If depletion occurs you are much more likely to start having additional symptoms or worsening of the symptoms you are experiencing already.
What Does A Nutrient-Dense Diet Look Like?
Depending on your personal dietary needs a healthy, nourishing diet may include foods like
- Free-range eggs
- Grass-fed beef
- Wild-caught fish
- Green leafy vegetables
- Healthy fats like coconut oil, avocado oil, and olive oil
Foods To Avoid
These foods do not add to health in any way and should be avoided, especially if you’re dealing with a health issue.
- Packaged foods- These foods may seem easier or quicker to make, but can lend to an increase in inflammation and poor gut health
- High sugar foods-Foods with high levels of sugar can cause blood sugar fluctuations that can make anxiety and fatigue worse
- Foods with artificial sweeteners– Artificial sweeteners are terrible for your body and cause additional stress
- Too much alcohol or caffeine– These can dehydrate you, cause blood sugar imbalance, and stress your adrenals and other hormones
Exercise is a great stress reliever! It also works well to lessen anxiety.
When you exercise your body releases endorphins which are the chemicals that help relieve pain and lift your mood.
Exercise also helps regulate blood sugar, boost the immune system, and help with hormone balance.
If you’re stressed you may not feel like exercising, but this is an example of how just a little goes a long way!
*(An exception to this would be if you are dealing with the later stages of adrenal fatigue. If that is where you’re at, please just take time to rest!!)
You don’t have to go to the gym for an hour and sweat it out. A 10-minute walk outside, a short resistance band workout on YouTube, or some yoga at home are all great options.
Want to add to the benefits of exercise? Include happy or uplifting music!
In addition to many other benefits, music has been found to reduce stress, lower cortisol levels, and improve immune function.
So next time you’re stressed, get your music ready, take a 10-minute walk outside and enjoy that fresh air and sunshine.
Your body (and mind) will thank you!
Prayer and meditation have both been proven to reduce stress, increase feelings of well-being, and improve the mind-body connection.
If you don’t have a practice of prayer and/or meditation yet, don’t worry- it’s pretty easy to start.
You don’t need any fancy equipment or even a big time commitment. Like exercise, a little goes a long way!
You could spend 10-15 minutes reading a devotional or bible, listen to a guided meditation, pray, or do some deep breathing exercises while repeating a mantra or phrase.
Any of these options will help you reduce stress and anxiety, and bring mindfulness.
4. Keep A Journal
A journal can be a good way to stay organized, keep track of appointments or other important tasks, and lessen stress.
But, you could also use a journal as a mind dump. Sometimes when we’re really stressed our minds are a jumble of thoughts, our feelings are all over the place, and we are as confused as we are overwhelmed.
A journal can help with that too!
Don’t like to write? No problem! Start a video journal.
You could do it right on your phone.
The point is to get those feelings out. By doing so, you will be able to notice areas that are causing stress, triggers, and make any necessary changes to help lessen the stress you are experiencing.
5. Prioritize Sleep
Getting enough quality sleep is so important, especially if you’re stressed.
The problem is that sleep is sometimes elusive.
It’s not always easy to get good quality sleep under normal circumstances, but when stress is involved, many have trouble catching their 40 winks.
A lack of sleep only adds to stress and anxiety, and nobody wants that, so here are a few tips that may help:
- Start a calming bedtime routine- Take a warm shower or bath, have some relaxing tea (no caffeine!), read, do a bedtime yoga routine, or pray/meditate
- Make your bedroom sleep-friendly– Make sure your bedroom is dark and cool
- Go to bed early– Aim to be in bed by 10 pm
- Don’t take your phone to bed– This isn’t always possible, but if you can, leave your phone in another room or at least put it on airplane mode and have it across the room while you sleep
If you are having trouble sleeping after 30 minutes or more, don’t just lay there and hope to drift off.
Get up and do something relaxing. Reading, meditation, and journaling are my favorite activities when I can’t fall asleep.
You could also try taking a natural or homeopathic remedy for sleep.
This homeopathic remedy is on my nightstand for those times when I have trouble settling down to sleep.
It has really been a huge help when I needed it most!
6. Just Say No
I’m not talking about saying no to drugs (although you definitely should!), I’m talking about saying no to more commitments.
It may even mean cutting down on the commitments you have right now.
A time of stress isn’t a good time to be super busy.
When stress hits, it’s essential to have time to care for yourself.
One of the ways to make this time is to prioritize what is absolutely necessary, say no to new commitments, and cut out what you can.
It may seem difficult at first, especially if you’re used to going full steam ahead, but I promise if you prioritize and eliminate all but the essential commitments, you will see how important this is to help you find a life with more balance, self-care, and less stress.
7. Consider Supplements
Natural supplements can be really helpful in supporting your body while you work on reducing stress.
Herbal and homeopathic remedies, along with essential oils are all great options to consider when you are feeling stressed.
For many people, these remedies provide safe and effective support without the side effects of conventional medicine.
Favorite Calming Herbs
- Ashwagandha– This herb is considered an adaptogen, meaning it helps support the body during times of stress. It is often suggested to help with stress, anxiety, adrenal fatigue, and depression.
- Holy Basil- This is another herb that is considered an adaptogen. Many who take it report feeling calmer and a sense of well-being.
- Chamomile– Commonly used to relieve stress, anxiety, and is known to improve mood. Chamomile can be a wonderful choice for warm tea.
Helpful Homeopathic Remedies
- Kali Phos– This homeopathic remedy should be considered if you have worry, stress, fatigue, headaches due to stress, and sleeplessness.
- Ignatia Amara– Ignatia is a remedy commonly used when stress is due to grief. If there is a lot of sadness and crying along with mental and physical exhaustion, reach for Ignatia.
- Natrum Mur– If stress is leading to depression, consider this remedy. Other symptoms would include crying, a feeling of loneliness, not wanting to work, and hair loss.
Essential Oils For Stress Relief
- Lavender- A great oil for calming nerves, improving sleep, and all-over relaxation.
- Vanilla- Helpful for the feelings of grief, depression, and is known for helping to balance mood. This oil is often thought to promote comfort and serenity.
- Clary Sage– This oil is known to reduce stress and anxiety and promote relaxation in both mind and body.
8. Talk It Out
When stressful things in life happen it is good to have a few people to lean on, ask advice, or be able to call just to talk.
If you’re struggling, don’t feel bad reaching out to a trusted friend or family member. Sometimes just talking about what is happening and feeling the love and support from another person can help you feel like a weight has been lifted.
If you don’t have someone you trust or don’t feel comfortable talking about what is going on, you could always seek counseling.
Many people find that counseling helps to give them a safe place to talk about issues they’re dealing with while also learning new coping skills to help them now and in the future.
*One thing to remember- be mindful of your thoughts and how you talk to yourself.
If you’re constantly having negative, scary, or anxious thoughts try reframing what you tell yourself. Negative thoughts only add to the stress.
Next time you notice a negative thought or feeling, be sure to acknowledge it, but then reframe that thought to include something more positive.
For example- I have pretty bad social anxiety at times and very often end up being really nervous before we go to an outing or event.
Sometimes the feelings of anxiety get so bad I end up sitting in the car crying or in the bathroom trying to have a minute of quiet and deep breathing.
I used to tell myself how stupid I was and how ridiculous I acted. I really had some mean (and totally unhelpful) thoughts.
Until one day, it hit me, I wouldn’t talk to a friend like that, so why was I doing that to myself?
After that, I decided that when I felt that stress and anxiety I would do whatever I needed to regroup, and instead of thinking about how scary the whole situation was or how stupid I was for not being able to deal with life, I would find something positive and focus on that.
Sometimes the positive thought is as simple as saying, even though I had a panic attack and ended up in the bathroom for a while, I got myself together and went back out.
Whatever situation you’re in- please make sure that your thoughts and self-talk are positive. It really does make a difference!
Final Thoughts On Easy Ways To Reduce Stress…
While stress is an unavoidable part of life, long-term or chronic stress can really have a negative effect on your mental and physical health.
That’s why it’s so important to find healthy, easy ways to reduce stress!
With the stress-relieving strategies outlined above, you will have some ideas to turn to that can help you have a more positive outlook, a more balanced life, and be able to deal with any stress that may come your way.