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For anyone seeking to lower their stress levels, it might seem obvious that, for almost everyone, the place we spend the most amount of time each day is at home. Even those of you who have long commutes back and forth from work, you still spend at least 12 hours per day at home; taking into account the time you are sleeping, that means there are several hours left in the day.
That time is the perfect opportunity to undertake some activities which will help reduce your stress levels. Apart from the obvious benefit of feeling less stress, the mere fact that you can do so can bring several other benefits concerning your overall mental state. It is a well-known medical fact that many physical ailments have their source in our lack of mental well-being.
It also has to be pointed out the term disease can be broken down to 'dis' and 'ease.' In other words, when we are not at ease mentally, it is in that state that we are most likely to become ill and fall victim to disease.
The key is to reduce stress, and where better and more convenient to do so than the familiar surroundings of your own home. If you have never considered this or simply do not know how to start, here are 13 great activities that you can use to relieve stress at home.
1. Have a Morning Routine
One of the primary reasons people feel stressed most of the day is the stressed state they leave their home each morning. The causes can be they are running late, couldn't find something they needed, or had to iron a shirt at the last minute. Whether it is any of these or something else, the way it can be resolved is to have a morning routine that helps you start each day calm, organized, and relaxed.
To create your morning routine, sit down and make a list of all the things you need to do each morning. Do not skip anything; it should include brushing your teeth, getting dressed, eating breakfast, and so on. Next, assess how long each of those tasks takes you. Then put them in the order in which they would typically occur.
The last thing to do is work out when you need to set your alarm to give yourself at least a 10-minute buffer of time with respect when you leave home. If this means setting your alarm earlier than before, then that is what you do. Now, each morning has order to it, and as such, you leave home in a calm state, rather than a stressed one.
2. Listen to Music
We assume that everyone has a favorite music genre or at least certain bands and singers they like. If this applies to you, one of the easiest ways to relieve stress at home is simply sitting down, putting on some headphones, and listening to the music you enjoy.
Even if the music you like tends to be a louder variety, such as grunge rock, that's fine because the point here is not that the music has to be slow and quiet, but instead that it gives you pleasure. Also, the endorphins and other chemicals released into your body when you are enjoying something are precisely the types that can help reduce stress levels.
Of all the stress-relieving activities that we could discuss, you are likely to find this one appearing in more articles about the subject of de-stressing than any other. If you are unfamiliar with what meditation is, then the simplest way to describe it is an activity where the objective is to quiet your mind to the point that you are literally thinking about nothing.
At first, that might seem like a strange concept, but if you think about it, one of the reasons you get stressed is due to the myriad of thoughts running through your mind, which make you feel as though your head is spinning. What better way to stop all that than to remove all those thoughts and have a thoroughly calm mind?
We obviously cannot teach you meditation in this short article, but a basic start would be to simply sit and try to keep your mind focused only on each breath you take.
If your mind starts to wander or thoughts start coming into your mind, acknowledge them, and refocus on breathing again. To learn more, there are loads of books and training videos online, so go check them out.
4. Start a New Hobby
This one is short and sweet, but rather than sitting at home worrying and stressing out, why not occupy yourself with something you might enjoy? Think about what you would like to do, or better yet, something you have never tried before but would love to do, and then find out more about it.
You can do countless hobbies at home, with some of the most therapeutic being those of a creative nature. This would cover art, cooking, fashion, model making, woodwork, and many others. If you are unsure which, then brainstorm a list and then start to narrow it down to those you would love to try, and then pick one.
5. Learn a New Skill
This is similar to a new hobby but probably takes more commitment. Learning a new skill will not happen overnight, so you need to be prepared to commit to it over the longer term. However, once you get to the stage where you have learned that skill and are proficient, the feeling of accomplishment will be immense.
The skills you might want to learn are once more mainly in the creative range, so we could be looking at learning to play a musical instrument, painting, home baking, flower rearranging, needlecraft, story writing, workshop skills such as carpentry, or you could even learn a new language.
With the internet, today we have opportunities to learn skills at our fingertips, aka the computer keyboard, which means all the skills we mentioned can be learned at home.
6. Get a Pet
Before you go rushing out to the local pet store to buy a large shaggy dog, cute cat, or a colorful parrot, it is essential to consider a few things. Owning a pet, no matter whether it is a large dog or a goldfish requires a level of commitment and an appreciation that your home and your routine may never be the same again.
All pets require feeding and visits to the vets, so along with these and the other things you may have to buy, such as beds, toys, or cages, there will be a financial commitment. Also, there needs to be a personal commitment from you and your family to care for the pet, so dog walks on a rainy morning, and cleaning up after them, for example, will also be required.
If, after all those caveats, the idea of having a pet to care for appeals to you, we guarantee it will be one of the best decisions you ever make. Loving and caring for a pet is hugely beneficial, not least for our emotional state, and better still, the affection and loyalty they give back is a joy.
Before you ask, aromatherapy has nothing to do with getting rid of pet smells. However, if those smells stress you out, it might be a way of relieving that stress. In all seriousness, aromatherapy is a centuries-old holistic treatment that uses plant extracts to create various essential oils used to create sprays and balms.
The sorts of plants that the essentials oils are extracted from include herbs, flowers, and even trees. Specific examples of the oils come from coconut, jojoba, olive, tea tree, peppermint, and lavender. Of course, there are many more, and each of them has its own qualities and benefits when used for aromatherapy.
To benefit from the oils, they can be used in several ways, but the most popular is either creating a topical application rubbed into the skin or used with an infuser where a mist or spray can be inhaled.
Many of these essential oils have been known to have stress reduction properties, with some of the best known for this being jasmine, lavender, and chamomile.
In the introduction, we discussed how our mental health plays a role in determining our physical health. It is true to say this works in reverse. If we look after our physical body, our mental health is usually looked after too. For this reason, we highly recommend that you try some physical activity at home, and none is associated with relaxation more than yoga.
The great thing about yoga is that you do not need any equipment, although having a yoga mat will help. Even if you do not have a mat, you can still practice yoga, and as there are different types of yoga, you can choose the one which appeals to or applies to you the most.
Some of the benefits you will receive from yoga is that your joints and muscle will be more supple, your circulation will improve, and you will have higher energy levels as a result. It will also allow you to immerse yourself in your yoga session and forget anything that is causing you stress.
Ultimately, being in better physical condition aids your mental health, which is undoubtedly the ultimate benefit.
You might typically associate exercise with being outdoors or down at the local gym, but you can do many exercises at home. We have already mentioned yoga, and there are other activities that you could try. These include Pilates, Zumba, and Tai Chi, but beyond these better-known ones, there are no limits to the number of ways you could work out or exercise at home.
If you are happy to buy the equipment necessary, an exercise bike, a rowing machine, weights, and even a treadmill if you have space for it are great ways to exercise at home. You could also research online exercise programs that you can follow or participate in. The point is the excuse for you not doing exercise at home should never be that there are none available as there are loads of them.
What you also need to realize is that exercise is not just a good stress reliever because it gives you something to do. There are actual scientific reasons why exercise helps relieve stress, and it all has to do with those feel-good chemicals that your brain releases when you exercise. The two main brain chemicals involved here are dopamine and serotonin.
When you exercise, your brain creates and releases more serotonin and dopamine, two chemicals known for being mood stabilizers and mood boosters. It’s where the whole “runner’s high” term comes from, because runners feel elated, energetic, and less stressed out after a long run.
On an interesting side note, there are also other things which can cause your brain to release those feel-good chemicals, with eating chocolate being one of them.
10. Have a Massage
Not everyone reading this lives with a master masseuse, but the truth is they do not need to be. If your spouse or partner is willing to learn some of the basics and apply them, they can give you a relaxing and beneficial massage. Better still, if you learn together, you can give each other a massage, meaning you are both reducing your stress levels.
If your partner is not the one who can massage you, then you might want to find a local masseuse who does house visits.
Then, if you both have a massage, you know you are receiving the best massage you can, and thus gaining the maximum benefit from it. The masseuse may also offer other therapies such as aromatherapies, muscle toning, and pain relief.
11. Heat Therapy
Another proven stress relief method is heat therapy, also known as thermotherapy. You may have heard of heat therapy for aching muscles and joints, and yes, it really does work, but heat therapy can also be used to help relieve mental stress. Sitting in a hot bath, taking a hot shower, or even sitting in a hot tub or sauna can go a low way in relieving stress and anxiety, and it can also help relieve aches and pains at the same time.
12. Reduce Your Caffeine Intake
Although those four cups of coffee you drink in the morning can certainly act as the rocket fuel you need to survive a long day, all of that caffeine can also increase stress and anxiety levels.
When you get all jacked up on caffeine, it can overstimulate your senses, it can cause you to overthink everything, and it can increase your blood pressure too, all things which in their own ways will increase both stress and anxiety.
13. Chewing Gum
The other home stress relief method that we want to touch on is chewing gum. Yes, there are actual studies that prove that chewing gum helps to relieve stress, and apparently, the harder you chew, the more of an effect it has.
This could be due to the fact that chewing helps increase blood flow to the brain, it could be because chewing gum alters brain waves, or it could be the simple fact that it serves as a good distraction from whatever else is going on in your life.
Moreover, as we have noted, scents and flavors can also help relieve stress, which means that if you find a flavor of chewing gum that you really enjoy, maybe even a flavor that invokes good memories, this could also help relieve stress.
We trust that you have found this article on how to relieve stress at home useful, and hopefully, have identified one or two that we suggested you may like to try. Even if you do a small amount of research on relieving stress at home, you are bound to find plenty of ideas.
If you find your stress levels are always high and are unsure how to cope with them, there is help available, so please do not suffer alone. Talk to someone you trust, or better still, a professional counselor or qualified medical professional who can help you.