Stress can negatively impact your body, mood, and behavior. 

It can lead to headaches, irritability, fatigue, overeating, sleep problems, restlessness, decreased productivity and more. Learning to manage stress is important to your health and well-being.

The following techniques can help you unwind and relax after a long, difficult day. 

1. Deep Breathing and Meditation

There are many kinds of deep breathing and meditation exercises and many of them take 10 minutes or less. What’s great about these techniques is that they can be done any place, any time.

Progressive muscle relaxation is a deep breathing exercises that many people find soothing. Begin this exercise by taking slow, deep breaths. Then, starting with your toes and working your way up your body, focus on each muscle group—tensing and relaxing each one for 3-4 seconds.

2. Taking a Personal Time Out

A great way to de-stress at the end of a difficult day is by taking some time to yourself. This can be especially calming if the day’s stressors were in part due to interactions with people.

You determine how long your time out should last—10 minutes or 4 hours, it’s up to you and what you need! During your time out, try to avoid passive activities like watching T.V. Instead, engage in a beloved hobby—like playing an instrument, knitting, or photography.

Be sure to avoid interruptions during this time. If you have children, have your partner watch them. Don’t forget to disengage from your cell phone during this time too!

3. Exercise

Exercise is a great way to burn off steam and de-stress after a long day. If going to the gym isn’t your thing, there are still plenty of other ways to get exercise. Go for a bike ride, take a hike, walk your dog around the block, or join a community sports team.

4. Laugh

An excellent (and incredibly fun!) way to combat stress is to laugh. Watch funny viral videos, queue up your favorite comedy movie, or head to a comedy club.

If you’re a parent or pet owner, sometimes all you need for a good laugh is to spend time with your children or pet—they are usually full of silliness!

5. Soak in Your Hot Tub

We’ve talked before about the health benefits of hot tubs, and one of the primary benefits is stress reduction. The hot water and massaging jets help reduce muscle tension and melt away stress.

If you don’t have a hot tub, try a hot bath instead. Create a serene environment around your tub by lighting a few candles and turning on calming music.

Stress management is a skill and needs to be practiced. Make stress management a part of each day and find the technique(s) that work best for you. What’s your preferred way to de-stress after a difficult day?

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