In desperate need of ways to relieve stress that don’t just say meditation and changing your diet? Unsurprisingly, since Covid took hold, mental health issues like anxiety and depression have skyrocketed.
Of course, if symptoms of anxiety and depression are on the extreme side, a clinical referral from your GP will be necessary. However, there is of course a low level anxiety that can still cause a lot of functioning issues in our daily lives.
This low level persistent stress makes these ways to relieve stress an absolute must to implement into your routine.
5 Surprising Ways To Relieve Stress Caused By Covid
A 2021 study published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, found that anxiety rates during the pandemic have almost doubled. Twice as many young people now suffer from an anxiety disorder than older adults.
However, the younger generation aren’t the only people who have experienced a spike in anxiety levels. Due to the limitations placed on the entire world during the pandemic, on businesses and also families, work related stress has also been on the increase, when it was already an enormous problem for businesses with work-related ill health accounting for 55% of ‘lost days’.
In 2020, the U.K. Health and Safety Executive found that “in 2019/2020 work-related stress, depression or anxiety accounted for 51% of all work-related ill health and 55% of all days lost due to work-related ill health”.
A number of scientific studies suggest that there are some surprisingly beneficial yet familiar and comforting activities to help manage stress and alleviate any unwelcome symptoms of mental health issues.
1.First Of The Surprising Ways To Relieve Stress; Forest Bathing
In 2019, a study by the Wake Forest University School of Medicine found limited but consistent evidence that exposure to forest bathing/forest therapy was associated with an “activation of the parasympathetic nervous system and also reduced anxiety”.
Activation of the parasympathetic nervous system is what happens when we meditate, so finding additional ways to do that can be very beneficial to your mental health.
The activation of this nervous system through forest bathing also means that you get all the benefits of meditation, including
- Increased focus
- More mental clarity
- Reduced blood pressure
- Focusing on the present
- Reducing Negative Emotions
- Increasing Self Awareness
- Better ability to cope in stressful situations
Forest bathing and forest therapy (also known as shinrin-yoku) means absorbing yourself completely in the forest atmosphere. It is not just having a walk in the woods, it is the ever present, mindful, conscious and contemplative practice of being immersed in all aspects of the forest.
2.Second Of The Surprising Ways To Relieve Stress; Get Some Fresh Air
Getting fresh air ensures that you receive plenty of oxygen through your blood, to your brain and allows your lungs to work at full capacity.
It restores functioning and clarity, so if you find you’ve been stuck inside all day and feel lethargic, simply opening the window or getting outside for a burst of fresh air will help you feel refreshed and more able to tackle your day.
3.Get Some Exercise
Regular physical exercise improves mental health by reducing anxiety, depression, negative moods and improving self-esteem and cognitive function.
Of course, a lot of us were stuck inside over lockdown, so rigorous indoor exercise is the best option.
“The COVID-19 pandemic not only affects physical health, but also mental health. Regular physical exercise is … able to alleviate the levels of depression and anxiety during COVID-19 pandemic”.
4. Fourth Of The Surprising Ways To Relieve Stress; Make Something!
There have been many scientific articles that exalt the benefits of crafting and creativity for mental health. The act of focused work while using your hands allows your brain to enter the delta brainwave mode which is the relaxed state we often strive to be in.
Not only that but you will be off your phone, your “active” brain will be shut off, your brain will have a chance to ‘download’ and process any events or thoughts that you’ve had throughout the day which means that when you go to sleep, you won’t be bombarded with a stream of thoughts just before you go to sleep.
If you’ve been struggling to deal with your mental health effectively, try painting, drawing or an easy craft project.
5. Fifth Of The Surprising Ways To Relieve Stress; Try Chewing Sugar-Free Gum!
Studies have shown that regular chewing can reduce feelings of anxiety, fatigue, and depression, and improve an individual's sense of wellbeing.
A benefit of gum is that it can be chewed anywhere – which means that it can be incredibly effective if you’ve been feeling an increase in the effects of work related stress.
According to a 2016 study by the Centre for Occupational and Health Psychology at Cardiff University, Sugar-free gum can reduce anxiety even whilst performing tasks expressly designed to cause stress.
The researchers found that chewing as little as two pieces 20 minutes a day can significantly reduce the user`s reported levels of stress so if you have to do something incredibly stressful, chewing gum could be the precise thing to keep you grounded and focused on the task at hand.
Conclusion of Surprising Ways To Relieve Stress:
When it comes to relieving stress, there are many avenues which we can take but many of them can bring about feelings of overwhelm. Above includes a series of incredible simple but effective ways to relieve stress without causing additional anxiety.
What’s your favourite method of relieving stress when you feel anxious?