21stcentury living can be incredibly stressful. Though we’re forced to read over and over about how millennials have it made, it’s hard to feel privileged when your wage barely covers your rent, you have a dozen new emails in your inbox, and four deadlines to meet in the space of an hour.
So what’s the solution? With so little time to spare, taking a break often has to wait for later, but there are still things you can do to help bring your stress levels down. Here are six of the best for when you only have 30 minutes free.
Sip some green tea
The next time you feel like your head is going to explode, remember that no matter how busy you are, there’s always time for a cup of tea - ideally green. Not only is the physical act of sitting and taking a minute out relaxing, but green tea is a handy source of L-Theanine, a chemical proven to reduce both stress and anger. Sip it at your leisure and feel your bad mood slowly slip away.
Chew some gum
Another quick and easy way to relax your mind and body is to slip some gum between your teeth and chew away. Minty, fruity, or plain old bubble gum flavoured, this has the effect of reducing anxiety and lowering cortisol levels, and it only takes a couple of minutes to kick in. You can even do it on the go if you’re really struggling to find a second to yourself.
Remember to breathe
We know it sounds rather redundant to say it, but remembering to breathe can also have a positive impact on stress levels. According to research, slow, deep breaths can lower your blood pressure and your heart rate, with pranayama breathing being particularly effective in reducing and relieving anxiety. The method, which involves breathing through one nostril at a time, is said to work in the same manner as acupuncture, balancing both mind and body.
Again it sounds simple, but the best things for relieving stress and helping you to relax usually are. When your mind is working on overdrive and you have a million things to think about at once, try gradually counting to 10 and then back down again. It’s far harder to concentrate on what’s worrying you when your brain is busy with another task, no matter how easy it might be.
Try something new
Studies also indicate that trying something new can be helpful. We understand that you might have no more than half an hour to spare, but there’s plenty you can do in this timeframe, from having a go at knitting (you’ll need to have your materials pre-prepared) to finding an attractive bonus online now and placing a quick bet on your favourite team for entertainment or potential profit. If you know there’s something you want to do, put the logistics in place and take advantage of any free time you get.
Last but not least, why not have a good old stretch? No matter how short on time you are, there’s always the odd minute free to relieve muscle tension and tell your body that it’s okay to relax. Shoulder roll-outs and chest opening stretches are particularly easy to do, so take a look on YouTube and find a quick tutorial to talk you through them.
Isn’t it time you spent a minute taking care of yourself?