As the most recent generations to grace this planet we’ve been living through momentous historical events, shaky economies, and competing with ourselves on social media for the better part of a decade. So it’s not surprising that we’re tired and stressed and that, worst of all, we’re so used to it that we think it’s normal. When ‘anxious’ is no longer just a clinical diagnosis but something we say on a regular basis, something’s gotta give and we’re here to help.
We’ve rounded up the top five ways that we can lower stress, help us feel balanced, and give us good sleep and better moods. We’re in it together.
1. Talk it out
As the old saying goes, a problem shared is a problem halved. If you can afford it, a trained professional will be able to shed some light on what you’re feeling, why, and be able to give you some tools to manage them without being overwhelmed. A lot of counsellors and therapists will do six weeks of sessions so if it’s out of reach to go every week, indefinitely, this could be a more accessible option.
It’s also important to talk to friends and family, or whomever you trust and think will take your feelings seriously. One thing we have learned from our years of research at Eve is that so many of us are going through the same thing so talking to your pals will probably be hugely helpful for you both and sometimes just knowing you’re not alone in that feeling can make all the difference.
2. Zen it out
Participating in a seated or moving meditation (like yoga) has been shown to lower cortisol levels. Cortisol is our ‘daytime’ hormone and is what keeps us functioning throughout the day. It’s also known as the stress hormone because too much of it can lead to headaches, anxiety & depression, digestion and memory issues, weight gain, and trouble sleeping.
If we start to feel overwhelmed or, even better, if we can predict we’re in a position where those feelings are likely to come over us, taking a minute or two to move ourselves out of our heads to meditate or move through an easy yoga flow (if circumstances and space allow!) can allow us to break the circuit of stress and get us back to neutral. When we break this circuit, our brain rests and resets so we can go into tricky situations in a calmer headspace.
If this feels completely foreign to you, try an app like Calm or Headspace or even search for a short meditation on YouTube to guide you through your first few goes.
3. Breathe it out
Another way to lower cortisol levels is with some deep, measured breathing. We’re big fans of breathing exercises here at Eve and one trick we love sharing is that when you breathe out for longer than you breathe in, it can have a calming effect on stress levels. When we breathe out, our diaphragm lifts up and ‘hugs’ our heart which causes us to relax.
Box breathing is another handy tip. Imagine there’s a square in front of your face. Breathe in while you visualise moving across the bottom length of the box, hold it for the length of the left side of the box, breathe out for the top length, hold for the right side of the box and then repeat. Focusing on breathing, and the visualisation of the box has a similar effect to meditating where your focus is on something outside of your mind which works to ground us.
4. Sweat it out
When we move our bodies a magical chemical reaction happens: we release endorphins! These endorphins lower our feelings of pain and trigger positive feelings.
A slow and gentle walk or yoga session is a good baseline as if we’re really stressed, as vigorous workouts can make things worse when it comes to our cortisol levels. However, whatever exercise you love to do is the best one for you. If you exercise as a way to stave off stressful feelings, as opposed to curing them, then any kind of exercise is good!
When you’re already feeling stressed or anxious, try a brisk walk in a quiet neighbourhood with your favourite podcast or an easy-listening playlist. In addition to the chemical reactions happening in our bodies when we exercise, it can feel good just knowing you’ve made an effort to move that day, when you hop into bed at night.
5. Chill it out
Nature gives us a lot when it comes to wellness and at Eve, we’re seriously impressed with Kava. Kava has been known to ‘take the edge off’ instantly, and can aid sleep which does wonders for stress levels in its own right. If you’ve ever done the mental calculation of “if I fall asleep now I’ll get 5 hours…” then Kava might be the one for you.
Trials have shown when taking Kava, participants noted increased coping abilities and lowered levels of stress including physical symptoms like chest tightness and muscle tension. It can be taken as a preventative measure, as a response to high levels of stress during the day, and at night to help you drift off to a restful sleep.
Our Chill Pills are nothing but the best quality Kava in a dosage that gets the job done. Nothing but the best around here baby.
Sometimes it feels like when you’re looking for ways to de-stress and prevent stress, a lot of the same suggestions come up. There’s no magic bullet (especially not a one size fits all one) which is why these suggestions are considered tried and true.
There are definitely times where going for a walk can feel impossible and, trust us, we get it. A good trick is to start with what you can manage. If breathing slowly and in a measured way is all you can fathom, that’s fine! Start with that and note how you feel before and after. If you notice a positive change then you’ll have more faith in the process. Then, when you feel up to it you can progress to the other stages like talking to someone or going to a yoga class. Taking a natural supplement is also a nice easy first step to get you back to balanced so you can then feel ready to try the more challenging tasks. Just know, you’re not alone.