Deadlines, traffic jams, bills—Just the mention of these common stressors can be enough to send anyone spiraling into a panic. While the stress of everyday life is usually manageable for most, some (workaholics, in particular) find themselves constantly dealing with the thought-racing, heart-pounding anxiety that can lead to medical issues like headaches, heart disease, obesity and even death.Luckily, there are several ways (beyond deep breathing and meditation) to help you relieve some of that anxiety and let yourself relax. Here are 10 unconventional ways to fight stress:
1. Take up boxing. Physical activity is proven to help combat stress, and there’s no better way to take your mind off of work than to work up a sweat while you learn a new sport (and you get to punch things.) Plus, it will give you a great excuse to actually use that gym membership!
2. Download an app to help track your mood. It will remind you to think about how you’re feeling throughout the day and it offers other activities to complete when you find yourself feeling less than stellar. Bottom line: if you know what triggers your stress or anxiety, you can take steps to avoid those triggers.
3. Just say no. The power of the word ‘no’ is often overlooked, but, when used properly, it can allow you to take command of your life and give you more time for things you love to do. There’s no need to be the “yes man” (or woman) at work if it means that you can’t do your job well because you’re constantly overwhelmed with extra assignments. That’s not the right way to angle for a promotion anyways.
4. Adopt a dog. Dogs make fantastic companions, (some even serve as ‘therapy pets’ and are given similar privileges as traditional service dogs) and can give you an excuse to get outdoors more often while focusing your energies on a loyal and loving companion. It’s a win-win situation.
5. Give up coffee. It may sound extreme to the five-cups-a-day coffee drinker, but giving up the java can do wonders for helping to de-stress. If giving up your caffeine is completely out of the question, try reducing your daily intake or switching to tea. Either way you’ll find that you are a little less wired and bit more relaxed throughout the day.
6. Take a lunch break away from your desk. Workaholics, in particular, need to schedule time to completely switch off, and a midday meal is a perfect opportunity to give your mind a break and focus on something else. Eat slowly, talk to coworkers, walk around a bit and listen to music and you’ll feel ready to tackle the rest of your day.
7. Throw a party. Socialization is an instant stress-reliever (so long as you invite the right people and enlist the help of a fellow party-planner!) Keep it simple—a few friends, good food, music and drinks—and you may want to make it a regular thing.
8. Start a blog. Write about what you’re passionate about or chronicle your battle with anxiety—either way, you’ll find that people will want to hear what you have to say and have dealt with the same challenges. The blogosphere is perfect for developing a new circle of friends and it gives you the opportunity to take control of the conversation and vent a bit.
9. Go to the movies. Laughter really is the best medicine, and the right movie can do wonders for relieving stress. Go alone or make it a group affair—either way, you will come home happy and anxiety-free. (Although, sometimes a good cry can work equally well!)
10. Take the weekend to try out something new and creative. Focusing on a fun, creative project is a great distraction if you have trouble ‘switching off.’ Make it a priority to try something new every weekend and you will find new friends with similar interests and maybe even surprise yourself with newfound talents!
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