Let’s cut to the chase. We all have way too much going on – and are way too stressed – to read an intro. So, here are 19 ways to beat the stress and get back to enjoying your day.

  1. Make Breaks Sacred – Social obligations have their place, but when you need some downtime, make it sacred. Don’t let anyone interrupt your break time, no matter what. Sometimes a little break from friends and family is just the thing you need to recharge.
  2. Cut the Clutter – If you have a desk at home or at work, you probably fall into one of two categories: You either have an organized space, or your desk it filled with knick-knacks and mementos that really make it yours. If your desk is cluttered, it may be contributing to your stress levels. Removing some or all of the clutter in your area can help improve your energy levels, as well as your overall physical, mental and emotional well-being.
  3. Do the To-Do – Setting up a to-do list may seem like a great way to keep your tasks in order, but they can quickly get overwhelming. Instead of making one giant list of all the things you need to complete, try paring them down into smaller lists of similar tasks. If you need to run errands, for example, try managing them by store location or items on your shopping list. It’s a great way to make a momentous task much easier to manage.
  4. Unplug – It’s hard to imagine putting down your phone for any length of time, especially since our world has become so connected. Numerous studies have come to the same conclusion: Cellphone usage can contribute to sleep problems, stress, and even depression. Put down the phone and walk away, even if it’s just for a few minutes. You’ll be surprised how much better you feel.
  5. Vitamin D – The so-called sunshine vitamin is essential for health, but many of us spend so much time indoors that our body doesn’t get the sunlight it needs to process it. Get out of the house or out of the office for a break in the sun. About 15-20 minutes of sun a day is all you need, and it can really make a difference after sitting all day in a fluorescent-lit office building.
  6. Don’t Forget to Breathe – Breathing may seem like something obvious, because you do it all day every day, but you don’t breathe mindfully. Harvard studies show that using deep-breathing techniques can help reduce stress in your life by regulating your stress responses. “Take a deep breath” isn’t just a trite cliché.
  7. A Bit of Green – It’s not easy being green, but adding a little bit of green to your life can help reduce your stress levels while it brightens up your home or office. Houseplants not only clean the air you’re breathing in, but they also help improve your overall mood just by being pretty. Even if you have a black thumb, there are many plants that are almost impossible to kill.
  8. Rock Out – There’s nothing better than rocking out to your favorite tunes, but did you know that it’s also good for you? Music can help reduce stress, improve your mood, motivate you to get moving and wind down for the night. If you don’t have the media library you want or the money to create it, there are always sites like Pandora or Spotify to pick up the musical slack.
  9. Play – All work and no play, right? We all know how that ends. Take some time to do something you enjoy, whether playing video games or knitting pretty sweaters. If you play and enjoy life, it will help to lower your stress level and increase your overall mental health.
  10. Get Moving – There’s nothing quite like that endorphin rush you experience after a good heart-pumping workout. Endorphins lower your pain perception, reduce stress and can help with anxiety and depression symptoms. They actually bind to the same receptors that are affected by prescription pain medications, though they’re totally natural and nonaddictive.
  11. Become a Yogi – Yoga is a great full-body exercise that helps to increase strength, flexibility and overall health. The poses and breathing exercises that are a part of this technique are also a fantastic way to reduce your overall stress levels. You can take those same breathing exercises and use them when your everyday life gets stressful.
  12. Potassium, K? – Potassium is a mineral found in a number of common foods like avocados, potatoes and of course, bananas. What researchers have discovered about potassium is much more interesting, though. Not only does it offer a variety of health benefits, it also helps protect you from the negative effects that stress has on your body.
  13. Treat Yo Self! – Treat yourself once in a while to something you enjoy or something you’ve wanted for a long time. If it’s something expensive or outside your normal budget, then set it as a goal and work toward it, which will make the reward that much sweeter. On a daily or weekly basis though, treat yourself to something small – whether that’s a steaming cup of coffee or a glass of wine with dinner.
  14. Be Thankful – This may sound a little trite, but it can really help to de-stress your life by altering your perspective a little. Take the time to think of three things you’re grateful for at the beginning of each day, and it may change the way you look at the world around you.
  15. Enjoy Spontaneity – Don’t lock everything into a routine or a pattern. You’ll get bored. Try to change things up a little bit. You don’t have to go crazy and hop a plane or anything. Start small. Pick a time to go to the movies, and choose the movie based on what’s playing then. We spend so much of our time locked into work and school schedules, so it’s a fantastic release to do something that’s totally unplanned and unscheduled.
  16. Not Just Sitting – If you work in an office, then you are often relegated to sitting behind a desk for the majority of your workday. Recent studies have come to light exposing the health dangers of sitting in a chair all day. It damages your overall physical health, which can in turn affect your mental health and create more stress. Take two minutes every hour to walk around the office and try to take at least one fifteen minute break to get your blood flowing.
  17. A Stick of Gum – Chewing gum is a great way to quit smoking and improve your breath, but it has a few other benefits you may not know about. A study in 2008 found that the simple act of chewing gum can reduce stress, relieve anxiety and help improve alertness. All that from a little stick of peppermint flavored chewing gum.
  18. Know Yourself – To be mindful is to be completely present in the moment, to know yourself and how you respond to any given situation. That may sound complicated, but learning to know yourself can make relaxing and reducing stress much easier because you understand how you react to things. Relaxation techniques are a great place to start becoming more mindful.
  19. Have a Cuppa – A hot cup of tea can help defuse any stressful situation, but switching out your favorite black tea for a cup of green can bring additional health benefits. A study in 2014 showed that individuals who drink five or more cups of green tea a day have up to a 20 percent lower chance of experiencing psychological distress.

We all face varying degrees of stress every day of our lives. How we handle it can really make a difference in how much it affects us. Hopefully a few of these tips and tricks can help to make your life a little easier.

Did we miss any of your favorite stress-relief techniques? Is there anything that works for you that we left off our list? Let us know in the comments below!

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Sarah Landrum is the founder of Punched Clocks.

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