Breathe in through your nose for four seconds, hold for six seconds and out through your mouth slowly for five seconds. This will calm you down within a few minutes and make you feel so relaxed.
2. Count to 10
Say it slowly, out loud or in your head. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. This gives you a chance to take time before reacting to a stressor and consider what to do or say. Think to yourself "is this really a big deal or am I making it bigger than it needs to be?".
3. Move move
Everyone should know by now that exercise is a great stress reliever. You don't have to pound a treadmill for an hour, just get up and walk around or do 20 jumping jacks on the spot. Get the blood pumping and make your body produce those good chemicals that relieve stress.
4. Prepare the night before
If you know you have lots to do the next day prepare your outfit before you go to bed. It gives you one less thing to worry about or waste time on in the morning. Make a list of everything that needs to be done but don't forget to be flexible. Things change all the time but you will be less stressed if you are prepared for changes.
5. Laugh often
Laughing is good for the sole. It's also a great stress reliever! It releases happy endorphins in your brain which lower stress and actually support a healthier immune system. Think back to a time when you were laughing uncontrollably, you're almost guaranteed to laugh out loud at it again.
6. Sleep well
Your brain needs sleep in order to function at full capacity. Get to bed early as much as possible and try to get between six and nine hours of sleep. If you are worried or stressing about something that is making you lose sleep, write it in a notebook and leave it next to your bed. It sometimes helps your brain to switch off knowing that you can deal with it in the morning and it is time to sleep now.
7. Time management
Lists, lists, lists! If you know you have five tasks that have to be done today write them in a list and rank their importance. Complete whatever really needs to be done first and make your way down the list. Set an alarm reminder in your phone if you need to be at a certain place at a certain time but don't forget to be flexible.
8. Be grateful
Think of all the things that you are grateful for in your life. Say them out loud to yourself. This helps to remind you that when things are going wrong you still have so many things to be grateful for and things will get better.
9. Stop unnecessary worrying
When I say unnecessary worry I mean stop worrying full stop. Remember that 85% of the stuff we worry about never happens and when it does happen we are almost always able to deal with it better than expected. Pick up a book and distract yourself the next time you start to worry about something you have no control over.
10. Let it go
This goes hand in hand with worrying needlessly. When something is niggling at your mind over and over again ask yourself "will this be as important in six months time?". If the answer is "no" then let it go. If it is something that is completely out of your control tell yourself that nothing you do will change the situation and fretting over it will not help. Move on and let it go!
Listen to your favourite songs or pump up the volume and dance around your kitchen. I do this all the time and it releases so many good feelings that I feel pumped for the rest of the day. I look like a lunatic but I don't care cause I feel great! Try it, it's better than any gym workout!
12. Practice Mindfulness
I've said it before and I will keep saying it.... practising mindfulness regularly will change your life. You will learn acceptance, become less judgemental and happier in your own skin. Read all about how to start practising mindfulness here.
13. Have "me time"
Take a bath, read a book, go for a walk, bake a cake. Do whatever you love for at least an hour a week and take some time to just be with yourself. There are 168 hours in the week. That leaves you with 167 hours to be with others and live your demanding life. Surely you deserve one hour of blissful peace to relax and take a break?!
Studies show that people who give up their spare time to volunteer for charities, sports events, community events etc. live longer and are happier overall. Giving your time for a good cause makes you feel like you have done something valuable with your day and actually makes you feel like you have more time. It also reduces stress significantly by making you feel good about helping others and giving back.