Try Deep Breathing
Taking deep breaths can be really effective at reducing stress and anxiety and promoting relaxation on a physical and emotional level too. When you start to breathe deeply, chemical signals are sent to your brain. The brain then sends out the equivalent of a social media post to the rest of your body telling it to relax, lowering your heart rate, blood pressure, and promoting overall relaxation.
Cuddle Up With a Pet
Having a pet is a big responsibility, but it can be really rewarding too. Many studies have shown that the companionship of a pet like a dog can soothe and calm you, while reducing cortisol, as well as feelings of stress and anxiousness. In one study, it showed that students who spent only 10 minutes with a dog led to a significant decrease in stress.  If a cat or dog doesn’t fit into your lifestyle, having fish or other pets can be just as beneficial.
Surround Yourself with Plants
The popularity of caring for houseplants has exploded in recent years, with everything from plant-centric Instagram accounts to websites willing to ship you the exotic foliage of your dreams. And the mental health and stress reducing benefits of this trend are nothing but positive. Plants not only purify the air and can remove airborne toxins, making our indoor environments healthier, but studies have shown that they can also have a calming effect on our mood, while lowering stress levels and blood pressure. Plants are also a perfect alternative for those who may want the fulfilment of caring for something, but can’t fit a pet into their lifestyle.
Cultivate a Meditation Habit
A practice which began in India over 2000 years ago, meditation is a scientifically proven method to reduce stress, and will not only make you feel more relaxed over time, but it has also been credited with lowering blood pressure, easing anxiety, increasing attention span, improving sleep, boosting immunity, and self-esteem. There’s no right or wrong way to meditate and it only takes a few minutes each day to get the benefits. To start, begin by sitting in a comfortable chair free of distractions and set a timer for 5 or 10 minutes. Sit quietly and simply notice your thoughts passing in and out (without judgement) as you focus on your breath.
Go For a Walk
Walking can also boost endorphins, which can help to reduce symptoms of stress hormones, trigger a positive feeling in the body, and help with mild depression. Try walking outside for a minimum of 20-30 minutes 5 times per week to alleviate stress and give your mind a positive boost.
Yoga Can Help With Stress Too
Yoga is another great form of low-impact exercise that promotes strength, balance, and flexibility while relieving tense muscles. It can also connect your breath with movement in a way that is incredibly calming. A meditative form of exercise, yoga has been shown in a number of studies as an effective tool to reduce stress and anxiety, improve mood, lessen symptoms of anxiety and depression and promote an overall sense of well-being.
Listen To Music
Try putting a few themed playlists together of your favourite songs to evoke how you want to feel at any given time, whether you’re looking to be calm or focused, energized, motivated, or even high-spirited. It’s a great way to extinguish feelings of stress but also to give you a general sense of well-being. Music can soothe you whenever you’re driving, exercising, meditating, showering, cooking, doing chores or finances, studying or simply getting ready for the day.
Make Sleep a Priority
Getting a good night’s rest is one of the most important ways to manage your stress levels and give your body the needed time to replenish and restore. Try to create a habit of getting into bed earlier and at the same time every night. Adults should aim for getting at least 7 hours of sleep but what’s needed can vary from person to person.
Plan a Trip
Whether it’s the change in scenery, the excitement of new experiences, or simply taking the time to clear your mind while stepping away from the stress and responsibilities at home, taking a vacation can be a great way to boost your mood and relax. Taking a vacation can also help us avoid burnout from work and be more productive.
Contact a Friend
Reaching out to our friends and family can help ease the feelings of stress. With social distancing recommendations in effect as a way to slow the spread of the pandemic, many of us have been more isolated than ever. While regular social gatherings in person are on hold, even a simple conversation on text or over the phone can help us feel better.