Throughout each day your level of stress can fluctuate. Whether something unexpected has occurred, you have committed to more than you can handle, or there is a strained relationship, stress can negatively impact your mental and physical health. Unmanaged stress may lead to health complications that begin with a persistent headache, tense shoulders, or sudden problems falling asleep. Recognizing symptoms associated with stress is a vital first step to reducing the impact that stress has on your body. Once you recognize that you are stressed consider incorporating one of these five tips to help you relax:


1.Breathing techniques, like deep breathing or meditation, can help to relax your body. When you focus only on your breath it helps train your brain to set aside everything else, which can be a beneficial tool in your toolbox when stress is piling up. If you are not sure how to begin with deep breathing, inhale for five seconds through your nose then slowly exhale for ten seconds through your mouth. Repeat this 5-10 times or until you feel calm. Deep breathing helps your brain to relax, which is beneficial when you are feeling stressed.


2. Spend time with friends, family, and loved ones, especially those who bring a smile to your face. Watch a funny show or movie that makes you laugh. Laughter helps to improve your mood, reduces stress, and can even improve your relationships.


3. Get moving. Begin by incorporating consistent movement into your day, even if it is in small increments. Break movement up into 10-minute increments if that is more manageable. Choose activities that you enjoy for something to look forward to, like taking a hike after work or riding your bicycle during the weekend. Physical activity helps to boost endorphins and can also give you confidence to mentally overcome the challenges you are experiencing.


4. Enjoy the fresh air. Get outside and breathe in some fresh air, especially if you are indoors all day. You can choose to sit on a park bench, go on a short walk, or stand in a field of flowers. Getting outdoors and breathing in fresh air can help to reduce stress and even offer vitamin D from the sunshine.


5. Talk about it. Whether you talk with a trusted person in your life or seek professional help, talk with someone about what you are feeling. If you internalize your feelings, you may find that the stress builds up, so talking it through with someone may help to bring a new perspective to the stress you are experiencing. You may find you are not alone in your thoughts or may even be able to sort out the cause of your stress. If you have tried some of the steps above and can still feel the stress piling up, consider talking with a qualified medical professional who can provide additional assistance in determining the source of your stress and provide additional techniques to manage your stress.


Your level of stress can fluctuate each day. Unmanaged stress may lead to health complications, therefore recognizing symptoms that are associated with stress and incorporating relaxation tips are beneficial in managing your stress levels. Try breathing, laughing, moving, enjoying the fresh air, or talking about your feelings to help relax when you are feeling stressed. For more tips on reducing stress, consider reviewing this Cecelia Health blog titled “The Power of Positivity: Reducing Stress and Successfully Managing Diabetes.” For more information, The American Heart Association provides additional tips to manage stress.