Life can be stressful. That’s just a fact. Add in a pandemic and a historical presidential election, and it’s no wonder so many of us are feeling like this has been the most stressful year in a long time, if not the most stressful year ever for some. Prolonged stress can lead to minor health problems, like headaches, tension, or skin irritation; but it can also cause more serious problems, like heart disease, depression and anxiety, high blood pressure, and digestive problems.
So what can we do to help control our stress level when it feels like nearly everything is out of our control? It’s easier than you might think, and it starts with the little things. Below, we’ve made a list of simple things that you can do for yourself that will lower your stress level and make you feel a little happier in your hectic world.
1. Take care of that nagging health problem.
While we can’t go out and do things like visit a spa or get a mani-pedi to treat ourselves right now, what we can do is see specialists about those annoying—but not necessarily harmful—health concerns. If you suffer from tinnitus, you know all too well how cumbersome it can become after a while. The buzzing and clicking, the headaches and migraines, and the dizziness can take a toll on your mental health, even if the medical condition itself isn’t serious. If you’re like the 15% of Americans with tinnitus and want to alleviate or even completely cure your symptoms, we highly recommend trying Tinnitus 911.
Tinnitus 911 from PhytAge Laboratory is a dietary supplement that uses an all-natural formula to stop symptoms of tinnitus, like buzzing, ringing, and pulsing, to clear your head and bring the sweet relief of silence. Using calming natural ingredients, Tinnitus 911 controls anxiety, which can make tinnitus symptoms worse, and helps improve memory and hearing by soothing the central nervous system safely and quickly, so you can stop hearing phantom noises and start enjoying your life again.
2. Give yourself an at-home manicure.
Even if your favorite nail salon is open and booking appointments, right now is not an ideal time to go out and get a manicure. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have an adorably elegant manicure to show off to your besties when you meet for brunch over Zoom this weekend! If polish and nail wraps just don’t seem to cut it anymore, give ManiMe nails a try.
ManiMe makes 3D nails that are custom made to fit your nail shape and sends easy-to-use peel and press manicures straight to your door. Simply take a picture of your nails, pick your favorite designs, and wait for your 3D nails to ship—then apply them at home from the comfort of your couch while you binge-watch every Lifetime Christmas movie you can get your freshly-manicured hands on. And if you’re dying for a pedicure, they also offer pedi packs and home spa day essentials, so you can pamper yourself and make a day of it!
These 3D nails are made from natural ingredients and are cruelty-free, so staying home means you’re keeping yourself and your family members safe while also using a product with animal welfare in mind.
3. Change your diet.
If you’ve been putting off starting your vegan journey, there is no time like the present to start. Transitioning to veganism offers many benefits for both your health and the environment, and with more foodies and lifestyle bloggers choosing the vegan lifestyle and sharing their journeys and their favorite recipes, it’s never been easier to make the switch!
Like any other lifestyle change, there are pros and cons to switching to veganism. While your animal welfare and your impact on the environment are a couple of pros to a vegan lifestyle, if you don’t do it right your overall health could suffer. As with a typical diet, veganism is all about balance. You have to make sure you’re getting enough calories, vitamins, and minerals to sustain your energy and health. But this doesn’t mean eating tofu and granola for every single meal. A lot of vegans eat most of the same basics as their omnivore counterparts, especially when it comes to snacks. And when it comes to vegan recipes, there are so many plant alternatives like vegan cheese or plant milk that have a very similar texture and taste to animal products, so you won’t feel like you’re missing out on the delicious foods you love.
When you decide to take the first step toward your new diet, you might find it easier to take baby steps. Maybe during the first week, you just use vegan cheese and cut back on meat. The next week, add another substitution. There is no right or wrong way to begin your vegan journey, and going at your own pace will help you find vegan alternatives that you love to ensure that you’re doing it right.
4. Take a day trip.
If you’re like us and you’ve been at home for a good portion of 2020 instead of going out with friends or taking vacations, you’re likely going a little stir crazy. And even though contact with others is generally frowned upon for the foreseeable future, traveling during COVID isn’t completely out of the question. Experts say that right now, traveling by car is the safest means of travel because your car is your own controlled environment and you aren’t exposing yourself to other people (or other people to yourself). While there still is a slight risk if you stop somewhere to get gas or food or use the restroom, you’re still going to be better off than if you were taking an airplane or a train somewhere.
So what can you do with this sliver of newfound freedom? We recommend a day trip. Most U.S. National Parks are currently open and accepting visitors who abide by social distancing recommendations, so you can pack a picnic, unearth the sneakers you haven’t had to wear in months, hop in the car with your social distancing circle, and go enjoy a breathtaking view. If you’d like to get out of the house for more than just the day, rent a cabin near a lake or book a camping spot and bring your tent.
Even if it’s just for the day, getting out of the house and having a change of scenery will dramatically improve your mental well-being. So get outside, take a deep breath of fresh air, and enjoy the sunshine for a little bit. You’ve more than earned your day out.
5. Take a walk.
It’s no secret that exercising regularly can improve your mental health, which in turn can lead to a happier lifestyle and better overall health. This doesn’t mean that you need to take up running marathons or empty your wallet to pick up a Peloton to stay healthy. Simply adding a daily walk into your routine can significantly improve cardiovascular and mental health, even if you only walk for a half-hour a day. The benefits of walking are more impressive than you might think—boosting muscle power, strengthening bones, boosting your mood, and reducing the risk of cancers and heart disease are just a start—and taking a walk is low impact and involves little to no extra equipment, so it is also low-effort.
If you like to listen to audiobooks or podcasts, your daily walk is a great time to do so. But you can also take this time to unplug and take in the world around you, or walk with your spouse and enjoy each other’s company. If you have kids, encourage them to walk with you to help burn off some of their energy and create healthy exercise habits.
Mental illnesses aside, we have the power to take control of our lifestyles and make simple changes to improve our overall health and reduce our stress. The first step is deciding to make the change, but the next step is getting up and doing it.