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40 Simple And Brilliant Ways To Relax and De-stress

40 Simple And Brilliant Ways To Relax and De-stress

Today’s fast-paced society has our lives in its crushing grasp, and stress is an unwanted by-product. Well folks, that’s all about to change. Below are 40 easy– and some slightly unconventional– ways to relaxAfter all, you deserve it.

1. Get Moving

I know, I know– you just want a break, and perhaps tiring yourself out even more is the last thing on your mind. But trust me, this is gold. Exercise triggers the brain to release feel-good hormones called endorphins, which will– erhm– make you feel good. Yeah, it really is that simple.

2. Drink Tea

…Green Tea, especially. They are a rich source of L-Theanine, a chemical that is proven to reduce stress and anger.

3. Visualize

This is a nice technique that tricks the brain and subsequently calms you down. Imagine yourself at your favorite spot– on the beach? The more imagery, the better.

4. Return to Nature

Henry David Thoreau once said, “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life…and not, when I came to die, [to] discover that I had not lived.” Deep. But seriously, greenery is much more relaxing than the pixels on the screen, and as a result you’ll feel more calm and whole.

5. Write in a Journal

Or blog, if that’s your style. In any case, it’s a brilliant way to get back to the basics and practice some old fashioned introspection.

6. Be Bored

Say what? Yep, being bored can actually spur your creativity levels, which will undeniably get you to have some fun and bring out your inner child– or inventor. In a nutshell, it’s just another way to relax.

7. Engage in Your Interests

Like watching sports? Watch sports. Like cooking? Cook! Do what you like to do– your hobbies and interests– and just have a ball.

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8. Take a Nap

If you’re generally bad with naps like me, Sara Mednick’s nap wheel might help. Power naps and naps in general are great ways to give you that boost of energy you need while letting you wind down.

9. Unplug From Social Media

Constant connection to social media can spread you thin. It’s simple: challenge yourself to stay away from anything that sends you notifications. The less connected we are to the vast social world on the net, the more connected we are to ourselves.

10. Meditate

This one isn’t new. Meditation is a great way to calm the mind. Here are some easy meditation techniques for beginners.

11. Do Yoga

Yoga is just meditation with an added physical component– and it goes pretty deep to reduce stress. If this sounds right up in your alley, give it ago. If not, try it out anyway!

12. Clean

De-cluttering your physical environment actually works in de-cluttering your mind. Do the laundry, shine your shoes, organize your closet.

13. Take a Walk

If Passion Pit’s song doesn’t convince you enough, I don’t know what will! Taking a walk is so light, so simple, so easy… but it’s an opportunity for simple reflection and mind-wandering plus an added physical component.

14. Read

Imagine: rainy days, cozy nook, interesting book. Sound calming? That’s because it is. Oh, and congrats and visualizing that description! That’s also a relaxing activity (see #3)

15. Dance Like Nobody’s Watching

Sound silly? That’s because it is silly, you silly goose. Dancing will make you feel good, promise. Bonus– it also reduces muscle tension, and you can go along with your favorite beats.

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16. Talk to Yourself

Before you question my sanity, try it out. Please. Talking to yourself, especially positive self-talk, is a powerful happiness-booster. Give yourself a pep talk. Or, just talk to yourself about your day, about your life, or about your feelings. This can allow you to realize (and then release) any negative feelings that you didn’t know you had before.

17. Cuddle with a Pet

Pets oftentimes just know what’s up. Well, maybe not your goldfish. But owning a cat or dog or really any other cuddle-y friend can actually lower your blood pressure.

18. Listen to Music

Get lost in some tunes, and you will find your special place. Hint: calming music can especially calm you.

19. Be with a Friend

Humans are social creatures. A lot of these relaxation steps involve much alone-time, but the truth is that hanging with the people you like will make you care-free and feel good. Simple science, really.

20. Learn Something New

Challenge yourself. Every dreamed to learn code? Archery? Under-water basket weaving? here’s your chance to have a blast, relax, and add a new skill-set to your credentials.

21. Say No

Sometimes busy agendas can explode– that is, if you keep saying yes. Know your limits and say no when you feel overwhelmed.

22. Stretch

Release tension and gain flexibility! Stretching also gets your blood circulation going and does wonders to the lymph nodes, which are responsible for your immune system health. No wonder it’s also a component of yoga, which also lowers stress. Read more here.

23. Take a Bubble Bath

Soak in that soapy goodness and just wind down after a long day. Bubbles help.

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24. Squeeze a Stress Ball

This one is a no-brainer. BUT, I rarely see anything with a stress ball when they’re stressed. Try it out and keep it with you if you’re the type of person who gets overwhelmed easily.

25. Look Out The Window

Again with the nature, except this one is a little more forgiving for those of you who have no choice but to stay seated for most of the day. If there’s a window around to, take advantage of the opportunity to see what’s out there!

26. Tickle Yourself

So you probably think I’m crazy and I’m not blaming you. Tickling yourself most likely won’t really work (if it does, then good for you!) but the key point here is laughing. Crack a joke, or even get tickled!

27. Watch a Movie

Popcorn and a movie is a simple, easy way to indulge and relax.

28. Eat Chocolate

It’s true! (…in moderation, of course.) Studies show that dark chocolate can actually reduce your stress levels. 

29. Smile

It’s that simple. The physical act of smiling, even when you may not necessarily be in a smiling mood, is proven to still reduce stress.

30. Go Barefoot

This is one of the many ways to get in touch with nature as previously mentioned, BUT it has unique properties of its own. Walking barefoot outside might make you a hippie, but it’ll also helps you absorb free electrons from the Earth and has a surprisingly powerful antioxidant effect on the body, as explained here. If anything, however, going barefoot gives you a natural, spiritual connection with the Earth on which we live. Deep.

31. Sing

Bring out your inner Beyoncé. Pair this up with “dance like nobody’s watching” (see #15), and you’re set as a backup singer/dancer.

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32. Treat Yourself

Go out for some froyo, splurge in that clutch bag, give in to a guilty pleasure. Treating yourself is just a reminder that life is good, and that you deserve to have a good time.

33. Scents Make Sense

Try out aromatherapy. Some scents, like lavender and jasmine. Check out this page for a more detailed list.

34. Do Your Research

It’s important to relax, but it’s equally important to understand what caused you to stress in the first place. Acknowledge whatever it is, as it may just be right under your nose.

35. Chew Gum

Chewing gum can actually lower stress! Pop one in your mouth, and you’re set.

36. Find a Relaxation Mentor

AKA, a positive role model who excels specifically in the field of staying relaxed. Find that one dude whose catch phrase is “take a chill pill!” (Not limited to people who grew up in the 90’s…) By looking to others who are good at being calm, you can also learn their tricks.

37. Be Spontaneous

Take an alternate route to work, spice up your morning routine, or take an impromptu trip to your favorite store. We’re so entrenched in routine, but a bit of spontaneity once in a while is good for you.

38.Forgive Yourself

Any weird emotional tension? Let it go by forgiving others and yourself. Staying in the past is not worth missing the future.

39. Breathe

Probably the easiest thing you can do, and it takes only a few seconds. No matter where you are or however difficult the situation at hand may be, taking a deep breath can calm you down.

40. Remember You’re Human

It starts with awareness. We all make mistakes. Let go of any perfectionist tendencies that may be dragging you down, and let go of any unrealistic standards that you set for yourself and fail to reach. So… Relax, remember you’re human, and go reap the harvests of life.

Featured photo credit: Gerd Altmann via pixabay.com

More by this author

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Published on November 14, 2018

Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

With our busy, always on lives, it seems that more and more of us are facing constant tiredness and fatigue on a regular basis.

For many people, they just take this in their stride as part of modern life, but for others the impact can be crippling and can have a serious effect on their sense of wellbeing, health and productivity.

In this article, I’ll share some of the most common causes of constant tiredness and fatigue and give you some guidance and action steps you can take to overcome some of the symptoms of fatigue.

Why Am I Feeling Fatigued?

Fatigue is extreme tiredness resulting from mental or physical exertion or illness.  It is a reduction in the efficiency of a muscle or organ after prolonged activity.[1]

It can affect anyone, and most adults will experience fatigue at some point in their life. 

For many people, fatigue is caused by a combination of lifestyle, social, psychological and general wellbeing issues rather than an underlying medical condition.

Although fatigue is sometimes described as tiredness, it is different to just feeling tired or sleepy. Everyone feels tired at some point, but this is usually resolved with a nap or a few nights of good sleep. Someone who is sleepy may also feel temporarily refreshed after exercising. If you are getting enough sleep, good nutrition and exercising regularly but still find it hard to perform, concentrate or be motivated at your normal levels, you may be experiencing a level of fatigue that needs further investigation. 

Symptoms of Fatigue

Fatigue can cause a vast range of physical, mental and emotional symptoms including:

  • chronic tiredness, exhaustion or sleepiness
  • mental blocks
  • lack of motivation
  • headache
  • dizziness
  • muscle weakness
  • slowed reflexes and responses
  • impaired decision-making and judgement
  • moodiness, such as irritability
  • impaired hand-to-eye coordination
  • reduced immune system function
  • blurry vision
  • short-term memory problems
  • poor concentration
  • reduced ability to pay attention to the situation at hand

Causes of Fatigue

The wide range of causes that can trigger fatigue include:

  • Medical causes: Constant exhaustion, tiredness and fatigue may be a sign of an underlying illness, such as a thyroid disorder, heart disease, anemia or diabetes.
  • Lifestyle-related causes: Being overweight and a lack of regular exercise can lead to feelings of fatigue.  Lack of sleep and overcommitting can also create feelings of excessive tiredness and fatigue.
  • Workplace-related causes: Workplace and financial stress in a variety of forms can lead to feelings of fatigue.
  • Emotional concerns and stress: Fatigue is a common symptom of mental health problems, such as depression and grief, and may be accompanied by other signs and symptoms, including irritability and lack of motivation.

Fatigue can also be caused by a number of factors working in combination.

Medical Causes of Fatigue

If you have made lifestyle changes to increase your energy and still feel exhausted and fatigued, it may be time to seek guidance from your doctor.

Here are a few examples of illnesses that can cause ongoing fatigue. Seek medical advice if you suspect you have a health problem:

Anemia

Anemia is a condition in which you don’t have enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to the body’s tissues. It is a common cause of fatigue in women.

Having anemia may make you feel tired and weak.

There are many forms of anemia, each with its own cause. Anemia can be temporary or long term, and it can range from mild to severe.[2]

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a condition that can cause persistent, unexplained fatigue that interferes with daily activities for more than six months.

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This is a chronic condition with no one-size-fits-all treatment, but lifestyle changes can often help ease some symptoms of fatigue.[3]

Diabetes

Diabetes can cause fatigue with either high or low blood sugars. When your sugars are high, they remain in the bloodstream instead of being used for energy, which makes you feel fatigued. Low blood sugar (glucose) means you may not have enough fuel for energy, also causing fatigue.[4]

Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder where sufferers briefly stop breathing for short periods during sleep. Most people are not aware this is happening, but it can cause loud snoring, and daytime fatigue.

Being overweight, smoking, and drinking alcohol can all worsen the symptoms of sleep apnea.[5]

Thyroid disease

An underactive thyroid gland means you have too little thyroid hormone (thyroxine) in your body. This makes you feel tired and you could also put on weight and have aching muscles and dry skin.[6]

Common lifestyle factors that can cause fatigue include:

  • Lack of sleep
  • Too much sleep 
  • Alcohol and drugs 
  • Sleep disturbances 
  • Lack of regular exercise and sedentary behaviour 
  • Poor diet 

Common workplace issues that can cause fatigue include:

  • Shift work: Our body is designed to sleep during the night. A shift worker may confuse their circadian clock by working when their body is programmed to be asleep.
  • Poor workplace practices: This may include long work hours, hard physical labour, irregular working hours (such as rotating shifts), a stressful work environment, boredom or working alone. 
  • Workplace stress – This can be caused by a wide range of factors including job dissatisfaction, heavy workload, conflicts with bosses or colleagues, bullying, or threats to job security.
  • Burnout: This could be striving too hard on one area of your life while neglecting others, which leads to a life that feels out of balance.

Psychological Causes of Fatigue

Psychological factors are present in many cases of extreme tiredness and fatigue.  These may include:

  • Depression: Depression is characterised by severe and prolonged feelings of sadness, dejection and hopelessness. People who are depressed commonly experience chronic fatigue.
  • Anxiety and stress: Someone who is constantly anxious or stressed keeps their body in overdrive. The constant flooding of adrenaline exhausts the body, and fatigue sets in.
  • Grief: Losing a loved one causes a wide range of emotions including shock, guilt, depression, despair and loneliness.

How to Tackle Constant Fatigue

Here are 12 ways you can start tackling the causes of fatigue and start feeling more energetic.

1. Tell The Truth

Some people can numb themselves to the fact that they are overtired or fatigued all the time. In the long run, this won’t help you.

To give you the best chance to overcome or eliminate fatigue, you must diagnose and tell the truth about the things that are draining your energy, making you tired or causing constant fatigue.

Once you’re honest with yourself about the activities you’re doing in your life that you find irritating, energy-draining, and make you tired on a regular basis you can make a commitment to stop doing them.

The help that you need to overcome fatigue is available to you, but not until you tell the truth about it. The first person you have to sell on getting rid of the causes of fatigue is yourself.

One starting point is to diagnose the symptoms. When you start feeling stressed, overtired or just not operating at your normal energy levels make a note of:

  • How you feel
  • What time of day it is
  • What may have contributed to your fatigue
  • How your mind and body reacts

This analysis may help you identify, understand and then eliminate very specific causes.

2. Reduce Your Commitments

When we have too many things on our plate personally and professionally, we can feel overstretched, causing physical and mental fatigue.

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If you have committed to things you really don’t want to do, this causes irritability and low emotional engagement. Stack these up throughout your day and week, then your stress levels will rise.

When these commitments have deadlines associated with them, you may be trying to cram in far too much in a short period of time.  This creates more stress and can affect your decision making ability.

Start being realistic about how much you can get done. Either reduce the commitments you have or give yourself more time to complete them in.

3. Get Clear On Your Priorities

If working on your list of to-do’s or goals becomes too overwhelming, start reducing and prioritizing the things that matter most.

Start with prioritizing just 3 things every day. When you complete those 3 things, you’ll get a rush of energy and your confidence will grow.

If you’re trying to juggle too many things and are multi-tasking, your energy levels will drop and you’ll struggle to maintain focus.

Unfinished projects can make you self-critical and feel guilty which drops energy levels further, creating inaction.

Make a list of your 3 MIT (Most Important Tasks) for the next day before you go to bed. This will stop you overcommitting and get you excited about what the next day can bring.

4. Express More Gratitude

Gratitude and confidence are heavily linked. Just being thankful for what you have and what you’ve achieved increases confidence and makes you feel more optimistic.

It can help you improve your sense of wellbeing, which can bring on feelings of joy and enthusiasm.

Try starting a gratitude journal or just note down 3 things you’re grateful for every day.

5. Focus On Yourself

Exhaustion and fatigue can arrive by focusing solely on other people’s needs all the time, rather than worrying about and focusing on what you need (and want).

There are work commitments, family commitments, social commitments. You may start with the best intentions, to put in your best performance at work, to be an amazing parent and friend, to simply help others.

But sometimes, we extend ourselves too much and go beyond our personal limits to help others. That’s when constant exhaustion can creep up on us.  Which can make us more fatigued.

We all want to help and do our best for others, but there needs to be some balance. We also need to take some time out just for ourselves to recharge and rejuvenate.

6. Set Aside Rest and Recovery Time

Whether it’s a couple of hours, a day off, a mini-break or a proper holiday, time off is essential to help us recover, recharge and refocus.

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Recovery time helps fend off mental fatigue and allows us to simply kick back and relax.

The key here, though, is to remove ourselves from the daily challenges that bring on tiredness and fatigue. Here’s how.

Can you free yourself up completely from work and personal obligations to just rest and recover?

7. Take a Power Nap

When you’re feeling tired or fatigued and you have the ability to take a quick 20-minute nap, it could make a big difference to your performance for the rest of the day.

Napping can improve learning, memory and boost your energy levels quickly.

This article on the benefit of napping is a useful place to start if you want to learn more: How a 20-Minute Nap at Work Makes You Awake and Productive the Whole Day

8. Take More Exercise

The simple act of introducing some form of physical activity into your day can make a huge difference. It can boost energy levels, make you feel much better about yourself and can help you avoid fatigue.

Find something that fits into your life, be that walking, going to the gym, running or swimming. 

The key is to ensure the exercise is regular and that you are emotionally engaged and committed to stick with it.

You could also walk more which will help clear your head and shift your focus away from stressful thoughts.

9. Get More Quality Sleep

To avoid tiredness, exhaustion and fatigue, getting enough quality sleep matters. 

Your body needs sleep to recharge.  Getting the right amount of sleep every night can improve your health, reduce stress levels and help us improve our memory and learning skills.

My previous article on The Benefits of Sleep You Need to Know will give you some action steps to start improving your sleep. 

10. Improve Your Diet

Heavy or fatty meals can make you feel sluggish and tired, whilst some foods or eating strategies do just the opposite.

Our always on lives have us reaching for sweets or other sugary snacks to give us a burst of energy to keep going. Unfortunately, that boost fades quickly which can leave you feeling depleted and wanting more.

On the other hand, whole grains and healthy unsaturated fats supply the reserves you can draw on throughout the day.

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To keep energy up and steady, it’s a good idea to limit refined sugar and starches.

Eating small meals and healthy snacks every few hours throughout the day provides a steady supply of nutrients to body and brain. It’s also important not to skip breakfast.

Eating a balanced diet helps keep your blood sugar in a normal range and prevents that sluggish feeling when your blood sugar drops.

11. Manage Your Stress Levels

Stress is one of the leading causes of exhaustion and fatigue, and can seriously affect your health.

When you have increased levels of stress at work and at home, it’s easy to feel exhausted all the time. 

Identifying the causes of stress and then tackling the problems should be a priority. 

My article on How to Help Anxiety When Life is Stressing You Out shares 16 strategies you can use to overcome stress.

12. Get Hydrated

Sometimes we can be so busy that we forget to keep ourselves fully hydrated.

Water makes up about 60 percent of your body weight and is essential in maintaining our body’s basic functions.

If we don’t have enough water, it can adversely affect our mental and physical performance, which leads to tiredness and fatigue.

The recommended daily amount is around two litres a day, so to stay well hydrated keep a water bottle with you as much as possible.

The Bottom Line

These 12 tips can help you reduce your tiredness and feeling of fatigue.  Some will work better than others as we are all different, whilst others can be incorporated together in your daily life.

If you’ve tried to make positive changes to reduce fatigue and you still feel tired and exhausted, it may be time to consider making an appointment with your doctor to discuss your condition.

Featured photo credit: Annie Spratt via unsplash.com

Reference

[1]Oxford English Dictionary: Definition of fatigue
[2]NHS Choices: 10 Reasons for feeling tired
[3]Verywellhealth: What is chronic fatigue syndrome
[4]Everyday Health: Why does type 2 diabetes make you feel tired
[5]Mayo Clinic: Sleep apnea
[6]Harvard Health: The lowdown on thyroid slowdown

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