If you find yourself feeling stressed on a daily basis, you’re not alone. Around three quarters of the adult population find themselves feeling overwhelmed and stressed. Although we can’t avoid stress, we can learn how to manage it and by following simple stress management techniques you are also able to improve your hormone health.
If you’ve read any of my books, you’ll know I talk about stress a lot, after all it’s a HUGE hormone disruptor responsible for worsening issues such as premenstrual syndrome, estrogen dominance, unbalanced gut health and so much more. So, getting those stress levels under control is of key importance if you also want to get your hormones back in balance.
That’s why I have created this handy list of stress-busting tools to help you build up your very own stress management toolkit that you can dip in and out of as needed.
12 Stress Management Ideas for Your Toolkit
- Stress Balls: I remember back in the 90’s these were hugely popular. Those foam balls designed to be gripped and squeezed to save us from murdering someone that somehow spanned off into a novelty range including stress willies (too funny squeezing a foam willy whose balls got bigger when you did it). That said, they are great for helping relieve tension in the body which is why they help enhance our mood. Other options include fidget spinners, putty and sandboxes.
- Aromatherapy Oils: I love aromatherapy oils. In fact, many years ago, I actually trained in aromatherapy including the blending of oils. Several oils are beneficial for stress including bergamot, clary sage, mandarin, lavender, chamomile, ylang-ylang and frankincense. They can be used in massage, inhaled or, my personal favourite, rubbed into the soles of your feet for rapid absorption (I’ll talk more about that in a future post).
- Meditation/Mindfulness Apps: If you’re a techie who wants to get more zen then meditation or mindfulness apps are the way forwards for you as they allow you to access them anywhere as long as you’ve got your phone to hand. Both mindfulness and meditation can help promote feelings of calmness and balance and have been proven to reduce the effects of stress and anxiety.
- Journal & Pen: Keep it in your handbag or besides your bed, daily journaling can help get all those thoughts and feelings out of your own head and onto paper where you can then analyse them and reflect upon them. Journaling can help uncover your worries or fears, help you identify negative thoughts that are holding you back and identify triggers.
- Adult Colouring books: What better way to distract your mind than to colour in a beautiful picture, losing yourself in the process. These adult colouring books have been rising in popularity over the years and help to provide a creative, yet calming, outlet for stress. Or for those of you who are a little angrier with your stress then I’m pretty sure you can get swearword versions … how pretty can you make that F-word?
- Herbal Teas: Having a cup of tea is such a very British thing however, when it comes to stress sometimes a cup of tea and a chat (or simply some alone time) can be just the trick. Opting for herbal teas such as chamomile, peppermint or green tea can all help wind down from stress.
- Time Management: One of the big causes of stress is time, we just don’t have enough hours in the day! When this is a cause of concern you need to start planning your time effectively. Quite often I pull out my planner and schedule my days to help keep me on track, breaking tasks from my to-do list into smaller, manageable chunks. I feel I achieve more this way and it stops me feeling frustrated or disheartened at the end of each day.
- Yoga Mat: In times of stress some gentle stretching or yoga can help promote a sense of calm and relieve tension in the body. Keeping that yoga mat to hand means you can throw it down as and when needed, whether it’s in the kitchen or in the office. Plus, if the stretching doesn’t work, just roll the mat back up and hit someone with it … I’m sure that will do the trick!
- Puzzle Books: Crosswords, sudoku and word searches can all help distract your mind. They help promote relaxation by diverting the mind which can be hugely beneficial for us overthinkers.
- Scented Candles: Candles can help to provide a calming and soothing ambience. Choose scented versions such as lavender or vanilla and take a few slow and deep breaths in to inhale the scent.
- Breathing Techniques: I’ve just touched on slow, deep breaths and breathing techniques are not only free, they are also hugely effective. A simple breathing technique is to breathe in for a count of four, hold your breath for four, breathe out for four and then hold for four. Repeat several times until you are feeling better. This technique is known as box breathing.
- Self-Help Books: Self-help or mindfulness books can help provide guidance, tips and inspiration when you are stuck for ideas. Now, I couldn’t mention self-help books without a shameless promotion of my own book, Stressed Out!, where you can find the explanations behind and strategies for tackling the stress and anxiety in your life.
From the twelve options I’ve provided above, I’d love to know … which ones do you currently use? Which ones are you feeling inspired to try? Drop me a comment to let me know and let’s keep the discussion going.
Whether you choose just a handful of these, or try to use them all, I am certain your hormones will thank you and you’ll find yourself feeling more relaxed and less overwhelmed.