Who wants to be stress free? Everybody. No one wants to have panic attacks Monday morning before work. No one wants to go on social media and feel like they’re amazing lives aren’t as magical as someone else’s. Everybody wants to be debt free and not have to worry about money. But no matter how hard we try, stress keeps coming back to bring us to the dark side. But that’s not where we belong. We deserve to be happy, stress free, and at peace in our lives. So, in this article, we’re going to share how ways to be stress free in 2021.
1. Take Care of Yourself
You are the most important person in your life. And even if it’s a little sad to admit, no one else is going to care for you as much as you need to care for yourself. You can be happily married, with a gigantic family of a support system. And still, the person who needs to care for you the most is you. If you don’t take care of your health, you’ll get sick. If you don’t take care of your mental health, you’ll feel bad. You need to practice self-care. Go for an evening stroll with a friend. Say no to dessert if you find yourself binging more than usual, especially if you’re doctor told you to watch your diet. Add some play to your day. Life’s about finding joy in little moments. And the best moments are those where you love yourself. And mean it!
2. Work on Your Relationships
Relationships can be so stressful. Sometimes they start falling apart leaving us feeling scared, lonely, or depressed. But there is a way to work on a relationship, even if it’s not doing so well (provided that you both want to save it). You can focus on improving your communication with each other. Often times, relationships fall apart because people fail to articulate their needs in a way that is heard by the other person. Instead, when we communicate our needs, it often feels like an attack and so the other person becomes defensive instead of working to solve the problem. I’ve written about this book a few times (but only because it’s helped me so much). But if you’re struggling with a relationship you might want to check out Nonviolent Communication by Marshall B. Rosenberg.
One of the fastest ways to be stress free is by meditating daily. You can meditate for as little as ten minutes a day to start, to up to thirty minutes a day with the Declutter the Mind meditation app. Instead of experiencing a million racing thoughts and diving off the deep end with them, you can learn to watch your thoughts and let them go. Practicing meditation has so many benefits for mental health such as reducing stress, improving your brain, decreasing brain diseases, and so much more. It’s a simple solution to reduce stress so you can be stress free, but you need to commit to it each day to reap the rewards.
4. Focus on Paying Down Debts
Ugh, money. Yeah, if you surveyed people asking what their biggest stresses are, money would be at the top of so many lists. Not having enough of it can prevent you from being stress free. Having too much debt can also stop you from reducing stress. The best decision I ever made was to pay off my student loans as fast as I could. It took three painful years at a $40,000 salary but I paid off tens of thousands in debt in that time. My strategy? I put as much of my money into my debts. I took up side hustles, freelanced, and did a few little gigs to make my dream of being debt free come true but it happened. From that day forward, my life became more stress free.
5. Go to Bed Early
Most people will tell you that waking up early can reduce stress because you have so many extra hours added to your day. But if you go to bed late, waking up early isn’t necessarily fun. So instead, we recommend going to bed early so you can wake up naturally. The best feeling in the world is waking up before that annoying sound of the alarm comes on. You’re ready to start your day and you weren’t forced out of bed by a pestering sound reminding you that you can’t stay in your big, warm bed. With a solid eight hours of sleep under your belt, you’ll be able to manage stresses so much better. Plus, you’ll be able to get more stuff done during the day with the earlier wake time.
6. Do Meal Prep
After work, some of you may have families you need to feed. While it can be tempting to order take out on nights where you don’t feel like cooking, there is a simpler and healthier solution that could serve you well. By doing meal prep every Sunday and Wednesday, you only need to cook twice a week while freezing the rest to simplify your after work schedule. This can reduce stress by allowing you to not worry about what you’ll be cooking for several nights of the week. You’ll be able to unwind and relax after work so you can be more stress free while ensuring everyone eats nutritious meals each night.
7. Avoid Social Media
One of the easiest ways to be stress free is to avoid social media. On social media, you’ll catch yourself comparing yourself to others, you hear more negative news, and you’ll waste a lot of time. You might want to try a social media detox so that you can reduce stress. If you have to stay on social media, make sure to only follow people and brands that post positive content. The worst thing is when you try to follow a friend and they post negative news that gives you anxiety. They don’t realize the harm they cause, but still they’ve caused it.
8. Choose kindness
One of the most enlightening ways to be stress free is to choose kindness in all your interactions. When someone says something hurtful, ask yourself how can I respond lovingly. When someone makes you feel frustrated, remove yourself from the room to cool down and respond with kindness when you return. Aim to do one act of kindness each day so you can put your energy into making other people happy instead of focusing on things that stress you out. The kind act doesn’t need to be elaborate. A simple birthday wish to an old friend doesn’t cost a thing, for instance.
9. Spend time with friends
Think back to the days when you had your favorite memories. Almost always some of your favorite memories were with your friends. Sure, a wedding day or a birth of a child was a big deal. But those simpler memories of you laughing until you fell out of your chair or you did something brave and courageous, you were almost always with your closest friends. But as we grow older, our friendships change, people get replaced with new people, and we lose touch with people who’ve had a big imprint on our lives. But it’s so important to make time for those old friends if you want to be stress free.
10. Visualize Happy Moments
Visualization is such a powerful tool for living the life you want. If you constantly imagine the worst case scenario, you don’t open your eyes to the possibility of the good that can take place. So when something good happens, you brush it off as a fluke instead. However, when you visualize happy moments or outcomes or write down the positive things you want in your life, your brain will begin to let you see all the good you have going for you. And that’s how the transformation begins. By doing this along with some meditation practice, you can help rewire the brain from it’s stressful or negative thinking patterns into a more positive and stress free outcome instead.
11. Practice Relaxation
One of the best ways to be stress free is to practice relaxation. If you regularly practice relaxation, you’ll be better able to handle stressful situations. You can practice relaxation by playing relaxing music on a bluetooth speaker as you bathe or shower in the evening. A true moment to yourself. You can practice relaxation by lighting candles in the evening while curled up reading a book on your Kindle after the kids have gone to bed. If you need to practice relaxation while playing with your young children, you could get out some coloring books while you all color at the table together listening to some fun music as a family.
12. Invest in Lavender Soaps
The best investment you’ll ever make in your journey to being stress free is in lavender-scented products. Once you start showering to lavender soap, shampoo, and conditioner, you’ll notice that any switch to any other scent will increase stress. Lavender has a relaxing scent. It’s the perfect scent to use at the end of the day as you shower before bed. You can also invest in lavender essential oils for diffusers. You can also buy lavender scented candles. The scent of lavender will help you reduce stress naturally. With its daily use, you’ll find that you unwind over time. I do this every day and it works wonders at helping me become stress free.
13. Adopt a Pet
While it’s true that pets can sometimes cause a bit of havoc. Goodbye socks! It’s equally true that you’ll soon see your pet as a family member. When you’re having a bad day, you can grab your pet and cuddle on the couch and you’ll feel their love shine through. When someone hurts you and you want to get things off your chest, you can talk to your dog about your frustrations and you’ll never have to worry about your dog or cat spreading rumors about you to that person. Your pet can reduce your stress, be your confidant, and help you feel loved during difficult times.
14. Switch to Decaf
Caffeine can trigger stress and anxiety. Those suffering from PTSD will often have symptoms magnified if they drink a cup of coffee each day. And so if you’re experiencing more stress than usual, a simple way to destress is to switch from caffeinated to decaf. Instead of drinking Coca Cola you can drink flavored sparkling water. Instead of drinking coffee, you can switch to decaf. Instead of drinking caffeinated tea, you can choose decaffeinated flavors such as peppermint, green tea, or other decaffeinated teas.
15. Practice Journaling
One of the most insightful books of all time is Meditations by Marcus Aurelius. Today several public figures read it as a guide on how to live a good life. However, the book was never intended to be read by anyone. It was actually just Marcus Aurelius’ journal. When he was mad, he’d write notes to himself to help him change his behavior or improve himself. Whether you want to write a journal to remember random days of your life, improve your behavior, or let it all out, journaling can be a great way to reduce stress.
16. Say No to Things You Don’t Want to Do
The most stressed people are those who say yes to everything. Sure, I’ll pick up the kids. Of course, your kids can come over for a play date. Yes, I can take on that work project too. Absolutely, we can hang out after work on Tuesday. And before you know it, you’re so swamped with a million things that you’re actually dreading. If you want to be stress free, you need to say yes to things you want to do. Say yes to things that’ll make you happy. Say yes to things you want to do. Say yes to things that meet your values. Say yes to things that reduce stress.
17. Do More Cardio
One of the best highs you’ll ever get is from a high intensity cardio workout. Running can give you a high that makes you feel on top of the world. If you don’t like running, you can do a high intensity martial arts class where you let out all of your stress by beating up a punching bag or taking down a classmate. If you don’t want to do that, you can also dance around your living room following along to dance workouts on YouTube. Not only does this help make you stress free but it’s so damn good for your mental health. You’ll feel so energized from doing these activities that nothing can bring you down. Now that’s how you reduce stress!
People are meant to be held, touched, and cuddled. If you’re single or widowed, you can still gain the stress free benefits cuddles bring by cuddling a furry friend like a cat or a dog instead of a person. However, if you’re in a relationship or married, asking for cuddles can do wonders. If you and your partner don’t normally cuddle during the day, you can cuddle them in the morning as you wake up in the early hours to get your stress reduction from physical affection.
19. Live in the Present
The most powerful way to be stress free is to live in the present. Most of us live in the past or the future. We become depressed recycled the same negative thoughts in our mind beating ourselves up for past mistakes. Or we get stressed fearing for our futures, scared and terrified of the unknown. But if we want to reduce stress, we can find peace in the present moment. In this moment, you’re simply reading an article. You aren’t in danger. Nothing bad is happening. You’re simply reading. Shifting your focus to live in the present is the most effective way to live a stress free life.
20. Stop Caring What People Think
Want to reduce stress in your life today? Stop caring what people think. Someone doesn’t like a goal you set for yourself? Who cares, the goal was made for you anyways. Someone thinks you look curvier than usual? If you don’t mind, they can mind their own business. If someone says something negative about you? No problem. Always remember that you’ve lived every second of your life and you have full context as to why you behaved a certain way or made a certain decision. Their ignorance is your bliss. Focus on living life your own way. Let people live life their way too.
21. Stop Comparing Yourself to Others
The biggest evil in the world is what happens when you compare yourself to others. If you want to be stress free, compare yourself to who you were yesterday. Don’t get swayed by posed Instagram photos. Don’t compete with siblings or coworkers or classmates. Beat the person you were a year ago. Become the person you said you’d be when you were sixteen. Become the role model you wish you had when you were young. That’s how you win. Not by take downs or beating someone else. Beat the old you up and build up the new, stronger you. That’s how you become stress free.
The journey to becoming stress free can be a long one. Some of you may be at peak stress levels. But becoming stress free is possible. It’s simply a matter of changing your decisions, making better choices, and shifting your focus. You can take action to reduce stress once and for all. From being a kinder person to letting it all out in a journal to releasing your stress through exercise, attaining a stress free life is possible. May peace be with you in your next chapter of life.