Struggling with Meditation? Here are 9 Other Ways to Break Free From Stress
We've all heard it - meditation is the secret sauce that takes your wellness game up to elite guru status. It’s the “be all, end all” for the health of your entire mind-body-spirit. It’s the absolute must-do that is the only path to beating the infamous health-buster called “stress.”
Don't get me wrong; practicing meditation is an excellent approach to optimizing your health and overall well-being. Meditation is great for relieving and dealing with stress, and all of the issues that come along with it. But it's not the only way to get there.
The whole purpose of meditating is to calm the mind and emotions and relax our physical body too. And thankfully there's more than just one way to do that!
Let’s talk about some of the other things to try if meditation is not exactly your thing.
Spending some time every day writing out your thoughts can help to relieve stress. You can use journaling to list the things you're grateful for, this is known as gratitude journaling. You can use it as a "brain drain" to get all of your thoughts and ideas out of your head to soothe your mind. You can use "ever since" journaling to describe your life after you reach your goals.
It’s one thing to read to learn something that you have to learn or to advance your knowledge. But I encourage you to also read for pure pleasure! Get caught up in a story and just relax.
Adult colouring books are all the rage! Not *that* kind of adult, but colouring pages with lots of detail and tiny areas to colour in. Something that can take you hours. You can always opt for something simple, like kids colouring pages too. The idea is the same. Repeated movements and focusing on the art you’re creating can help to clear your mind.
KNITTING, CROCHETING, & OTHER CRAFTS
Knitting, crocheting, or other yarn activities are a great way to de-stress; this is a skill that comes in all levels from beginner to advanced. You can choose a quick little rectangular scarf to make or dive right into creating a detailed sweater. You can choose the pattern, size, and yarn. Once you get into the flow of these skills, they're great to do when you're feeling stressed. Not only can they relax your mind to focus on your work, but you can end up warming yourself or others with the products you create.
Gently moving your body is another great way to de-stress. Activities that are slower and less intensive are ideal. Things like walking, yoga, stretching, or tai chi can all be great ways to relax your mind and improve your strength and balance at the same time.
SLEEP IN OR TAKE A NAP
A common cause of increased stress hormones is lack of sleep. Too little sleep and too much stress go hand-in-hand. So, getting enough good quality sleep is important to help you break free from stress without having to meditate.
Maybe you love getting massages or mani/pedis. Maybe you love a long bath or lighting candles. Perhaps you'll add your favorite relaxing music to the mix for a pampering evening Spending some time to pamper yourself regularly is great for your mind, body, and spirit.
SPEND TIME IN NATURE
You don’t have to head away for vacation to relax in nature. While a calm beautiful beach or cabin in the woods may be amazing, you don’t have to go that far. Even spending time on the grass at your local park or playground, or walking on a wooded trail in your neighbourhood can do the trick.
MAKE TIME FOR YOUR PEOPLE (AND PETS!)
It's so important to spend time with family, friends, and pets whom you love. New research is coming out about the health issues related to loneliness. Reach out and plan to hang out with your besties, or even offer to take your neighbour's dog for a walk in the park.
Ultimately, stress reduction is the goal. How you do it, be it meditation or otherwise, is not that important. What’s important is that you find what works for you.
Which of these ideas will you fit into your schedule this week? Try journaling, reading, colouring, knitting/crocheting, gentle exercise, sleep, pampering yourself, spending time in nature, and making time for people and pets you love.
Have other great ideas? Let me know what helps you de-stress in the comments below!
BONUS: ESSENTIAL OIL FOR DE-STRESSING
Your environment plays a big part in your stress levels. One way to make your environment more conducive to a stress-free life is with essential oils. Lavender is known for its calming effects - try out either of the methods below and you'll be on your way to relaxation!
Instructions to inhale directly
Add up to 6 drops of undiluted essential oil to a handkerchief/tissue and inhale occasionally. Use up to 3 times per day.
Instruction for steam inhalation
Add 3 - 12 drops of undiluted essential oil to a bowl of steaming water. Inhale slowly and deeply for 5 - 10 minutes. Use up to 3 times per day.
Tip: Lavender isn't the only calming essential oil. You can also use angelica, balsam, benzoin, bitter orange, cedarwood, celery, chamomile, cornmint, cumin, curry, frankincense, grapefruit, jasmine, juniper, labdanum, laurel, lemongrass, marjoram, nutmeg, palmarosa, parsley, patchouli, peppermint, rose, rosewood, sage, sandalwood, scotch pine, spearmint, star anise, sweet basil, sweet orange, thyme, or ylang-ylang.