In our hectic, always connected world it’s easy for stress to build up and bubble over. We’ve all been there at the end of our rope barely able to hold on. New research is revealing that stress is particularly problematic for women.
One study found that women experience more physical symptoms of stress than men. Unfortunately, those physical side effects do nothing but add to the stress. If stress becomes chronic it can lead to mental health disorders, heart disease, obesity, menstrual issues and a number of other problems.
We all need me time to unwind, but draining your bank account will only add to your stress. Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to relieve stress without spending a bundle.
Treating Yourself to Something Girly
Even the biggest tomboy appreciates getting pampered every now and then. Plus, it’s hard to be stressed out when you feel like you’re looking your best. From our heads to our toes, there are lots of ways to treat yourself to something girly without blowing your monthly budget. For example, instead of spending tons of cash on a salon manicure you can get the same look with Dashing Diva Nails for a fraction of the price.
Unwind With Essential Oils
Take a page out of the masseuse book (minus the expensive hourly fee) and use essential oils to relax after a long day. Essential oils can relieve tension headaches and muscles aches that come with stress. Rub the right essential oil on the right spot and it can have an instant affect. Sometimes the aroma alone is enough to help the body relax.
Read a Book
Researchers at the University of Sussex wanted to test proven stress relievers to find out which one was most effective. What they discovered was that reading was by far the best method for stress relief. All it took was six minutes of reading for participants to show physical signs of relaxation.
Books are one of the cheapest forms of entertainment. If you have a library card, it won’t cost you a single penny for the hours of enjoyment you get from reading a good book. Swap meets and used bookstores also have very cheap reading material.
Get Out in Nature
Another highly effective, proven stress reducer is spending time out in nature. In the last few years, numerous studies have been conducted to gauge just how important outdoor time is for our mental health. Turns out it’s extremely important.
Our environment can either increase or decrease our stress levels. Natural settings have repeatedly been shown to have a calming affect that reduces the physical symptoms of stress. Heart rate, blood pressure, muscle tension and stress hormones are all lower after a single, short hike. Being in nature also calms the mind and improves mood.
“Nature deprivation” has the opposite effect. If you’ve been pulling long days at work stuck behind a screen, a leisurely hike may be exactly what you need.
Have a Good Laugh
When we’re laughing it’s hard to feel stressed out. That’s because our brain isn’t really wired to do both at once. Laughter and positive thoughts cause the brain to release endorphins and neuropeptides that combat stress hormones. After a good laugh you’ll feel more relaxed and mentally uplifted.
Volunteer Your Time
Time is something that we all seem to be short on these days, and it adds to the stress. But helping others is well worth your time. Volunteering has been shown to reduce stress in a number of ways. For one, people who volunteer say the experience makes them more grateful for what they have in life. Instead of focusing on the negative, volunteers see the positive.
A study from UnitedHealth Group found that volunteering made people feel better mentally, emotionally and physically. A staggering 94% of volunteers from the study said volunteering improved their mood, and 78% reported having lower stress levels. A major reason for this is the sense of purpose that volunteering gives people. When we help others we feel like we’re making a positive difference that connects us to our community.