We create wellness habits to mitigate stress, but sometimes these habits can feel stressful in and of themselves… it’s just a lot to keep track of and manage sometimes! So how do we keep it simple to minimize stress while managing stress? Add any of these habits into your routine. No class membership, driving, or expensive healer required (and almost all of them are free or under $10).
There’s a different anti-stress ritual for everyone because this isn’t a one-size-fits-all world. Check out any of these seven wellness habits (not just the mainstream ones you’ve heard a thousand times — we know you’ve heard that you need more sleep and water!) and see what clicks.
#1 Find Your Nutrient of Choice
Yes, this is the positive side of ‘stress eating.’ There are several nutrients that may help contribute to stress management and promote a healthier, happier, more balanced wellbeing.
- With Your Coffee… Take a B vitamin with your morning coffee; this complex of B2 to B12 can help with promoting energy, so you’re feeling your best (and not bogged down by energy-zapping stress).
- In Your Breakfast… Add omega-3s — via flax and hemp seeds — into your oatmeal or smoothie; these fatty acids also contribute to brain health and have been found to help reduce the risk of stress-induced anxiety and depression.
- In Your Water… Starting your day with H2O? Congrats! You’re on your way to better moods and health. Make it a glass of magnesium water; this supermineral may help you chill out and feel calm.
- On The Morning Menu… Drink fresh OJ, or eat a vitamin C-rich food when you start your day; this immune-supporting vitamin has been shown to help lower the stress hormone cortisol! You can also get some feel-good neurotransmitter serotonin by eating oatmeal; the tryptophan in oatmeal helps produce serotonin.
- Get Fancy… If you’re ready to seriously level up, sip an adaptogenic latté. Adaptogens are a category of herbs, roots, and mushrooms that help us *adapt* to stressors. Feeling stressed? Adaptogens may help calm you. Need a lift? They may also help energize you.
Add any of these to your wellness habit routine. You won’t have to change much about your day, and they take no extra time; just a tiny tweak to what you’re consuming in the morning and boom: you’ve got a little less stress in your life.
#2 Soothe Yourself With Solfeggio Hertz
Did you know there are specifically-tuned relaxing sounds and frequencies? You can put something on your speakers while you work, or just have it on in the background while you’re at home or on a walk. A 2018 study published in Health showed that a frequency of 528 Hz had a positive impact on the endocrine and autonomic nervous system. It cited that “Tension-anxiety and Total Mood Disturbance scores were significantly reduced after exposure to 528 Hz music.”
How do you find something like this? Search YouTube for 528 Hz, and you’ll find videos up to 10 hours long with soothing tones. You don’t have to do any activities, sign up for any class, change your diet… you just have to put this on in the background, and let the frequency work its magic. Will it cure all your ailments? Most likely, no, but it may certainly help reduce your stress levels.
#3 Use The 30-Min Sunlight Rule
Can you shift your morning routine to get outside — or at least by a brightly-lit window — in the first 60 minutes of your day? Light exposure within an hour of waking (for roughly 30 minutes) may have beneficial effects when it comes to mood and general wellbeing.
Try getting outside for a brisk, short walk, or even for reading or taking a cup of coffee on the porch. If it’s cold, sit near a window and try to absorb some of the sun’s good energy.
#4 Keep It Low Impact
You’re already working out — let’s make it stress-reducing. If you’ve been going ham on the cardio and finding you’re still totally stressed out, let’s shift gears to focus on breath, flow, and circulation.
Try something low-key like Pilates, yoga, walking, stretching, or swimming. You’ll still get an incredible workout, but you’ll be able to keep it a little lighter on the body and brain while you work on managing stress levels.
#5 Journal Specifically and Intentionally
Yes, yes… you’ve heard about journaling as a simple and easy to implement wellness habit. And you might think it’s not for you… but if you can get into it, this can seriously help, especially when repeated consistently over time (i.e. when you make it a habit!).
Whether you have a guided journal with prompts or just a notebook with some space to jot your thoughts, writing an intention is a grounding practice.
Start with gratitude journaling — write at least three things you are grateful for in that moment. Then set your intention for the day: How do you want to feel? What do you want to do? Who do you want to be today? Keep yourself focused.
#6 Pick a Breath
Breathe in, breathe out… but teach yourself the right technique! Set aside a few minutes for breathwork so you can reset your brain and body, and shut off your sympathetic nervous system (your fight-flight-freeze stress response). Doing specific breathing exercises has been proven to mitigate the body’s panic response.
Have you heard of holotropic breathing? Studies have shown that this style of breathwork can improve your temperament and reduce anxiety.
You can also try box breathing, belly breathing, roll breathing, or progressive muscle relaxation breathing. See which one works best for you, then incorporate a few minutes of it into your day. Try it on your lunch break, before bed, first thing in the morning… you do you.
#7 Try Simple Self-Massage
You don’t need to spend hours in the spa to get the anti-stress, parasympathetic joy that is a massage. In fact, with the right (very inexpensive tools), you can incorporate it into daily activities, like brushing your teeth.
Grab a set of yoga balls (they’re typically sold in packs of two) and start using them to perform myofascial release (like foam rolling but more targeted). You can roll the muscles of your feet while you brush your teeth or make coffee, or you can target your neck and back (really, you can target any area of the body). A few minutes each day can make a massive impact on your life.
Choose What Works
Any of these simple, effective activities and wellness habits could work for you — perhaps all of them! Maybe you’re going to use the massage balls to roll your feet while you journal outside and sip an adaptogenic latte with a bowl of oatmeal… while listening to 528 Hz YouTube videos. Maybe you’re going to cool down from your low-impact workout with some box breathing exercises.
Give each of them a shot, and see which ones can fit easily into your routine so you can make them a habit. After all, the best anti-stress rituals are the ones you can sustain for a long time. Good luck!