10 Ways to Create a Stress Free Environment
ad - I was compensated for writing this post to help bring these tips of stress-free living to you - we thank our partner for their support.
|Photo by Drew Coffman on Unsplash|
There's so much emphasis on trying to reduce our stress levels - but trying to do exactly this can end up making us feel easily overwhelmed and actually, more stressed. One great place to start is the environment around you. Luckily, it's not difficult to make some changes that will help you relax more, stress less and most likely become a lot more productive, too.
See if any of these tips can help you...
You know that feeling when you've cleared up and tidied the garden, and you can't wait to get out there with a barbecue, with the scent of freshly-cut grass? Same goes for your personal space. Look through those piles of papers and sort out what you really need and what you don't. Put things away, organise those stray pens and bills. Recycle anything you no longer need (remember to destroy names and addresses or other personal info before you bin it). Give everything a dust down, remove clutter and it will help you focus and relax.
Take time to relax
Even if you're working, with deadlines, phone calls and emails - or if you've just been inside for most of the day, commit to taking time out of your routine to rest. Take your day out into the fresh air, in the garden if you have one, just for half an hour or so if you're short for time. A seat in a sunny spot, or even that weightless feeing you get in a hammock is the perfect way to relax your whole body as you sink into your seat and feel the slight breeze and warm sun on your skin. Spending time outside has been shown to improve your mental health and can give you a much needed dose of vitamin D, too.
Pets in your work or home environment have been shown to provide physical as well as mental health benefits. I often work with my Jack Russell Terrier snoozing on my lap! Some studies have shown pet owners may experience less incidences of depression, lower blood pressure and less muscle tension - all things that will help ease your stress.
Let's face it, colour cheers us up. If your space is looking a little magnolia and not much else, then it might be time to refresh it a little bit. Choose colours that uplift you and make you feel good. These colours might be unique to you, and that's the wonderful thing. I find darker blues and pastel pinks make me feel calm, whereas vivid turquoise, red or yellow helps put me in a good mood. Colours can come from favourite pictures, scatter cushions, stationery organisers or even the clothes you're wearing.
Be mindful of noise
We love music. And if you're pottering about cleaning, tidying or just chilling at home you might choose music that's different to when you're working on that 10,000 word report or when you're working out. If you can't listen to music at the same time as working, choose breaks and enjoy your favourite tunes then. Music is a great way to de-stress. And studies show that it's classical music in particular that can lift your mood and reduce your stress levels.
How stressful do you honestly feel when you're trying to order that weekly shop online or figure out that meal plan for the week and your phone keeps buzzing with notifications? You have to often start again and get your brain back into the task, and that's pretty stressful. With our increased use of the internet, we're often trying too hard to complete too many tasks at once and our stress and productivity suffers as a result. Try switching off your phone while you complete one task, and then check in-between tasks to see if you've had any important notifications, rather than have one eye on them all the time. We tend to live attached to our phones. Give your stress levels a rest and try reducing the time you spend on them.
Mute the news
Where are you most productive and relaxed? Is it when your TV is off or on? Are you checking social media and news feeds constantly? If you find that you do, and that what you find there stresses you out, you might be pleased to know that news in general can be really overwhelming and there is such a thing as too much of it. Reported news, although there are positive stories too, is, on the most part, negative and it can have an impact on your state of mind. If it's stressing you out, take news breaks and check it once or twice in a day rather than have it murmuring away in the background.
Make some room in your environment for physical activity. Set an alarm for breaks every half an hour or so and get up and walk around - if you have pets, walk them or play with them for a bit. Take the chance to do some skipping, star jumps or dance to your favourite music. When you sit back down, you'll be more focused, happier and much less stressed.
Find a place for something you love
I say this a lot, because it makes a big difference. Can you make some room in your environment for a hobby? It could be a sketchbook and a bundle of pencils in a desk drawer, or a yoga app you can use in your movement breaks. Or how about that photo or painting you love? Pop that in front of your work space or where you pay your household bills. Sometimes little things give us unexpected amounts of joy - I have a tea caddy that I bought on a trip to Windsor Castle with a friend and I don't keep it in a drawer - it's out on the kitchen worktop, and I smile every time I look at it. And smiling and finding joy in little things in your life definitely reduces stress.
Whatever you're doing in the day - laundry, housework, typing - our muscles suffer with repetitive activity and they can end up tense and knotted up. This tension tricks our brains into thinking we need stress hormones to get away from something we're physically reacting to and so we get a surge of stress hormones released around the body, which makes us feel more jittery and tense. To combat this, stretch. Get up and stretch out your body gently, especially where you feel tightness. This will help release the tension and stop the release of those pesky stress hormones.
What changes have you made to your work or home environment to help reduce stress? Have any of these ideas helped? Let me know in the comments below!