There are more reasons than ever for a man to be stressed. American businesses expect more and more from their employees but offer some of the smallest amounts of vacation time in the world. The constant connection of Facebook and text messaging make maintaining relationships a 24/7 societal pressure. The various economic demands of a 21st-century man are greater than ever.
Thankfully, there are still many ways to reduce stress without quitting your job or throwing away your smartphone. These seven suggestions will all have a noticeable impact on your stress levels. The best thing about them? They won't cost you a dime.
It's true that the endorphin release from exercise is one of the easiest ways to reduce stress and anxiety. Going for a run or a bike ride will release tension built up from a long day at work. Playing a competitive game of basketball or soccer can ease the frustration you have in your own relationships.
If you struggle to make time for exercise, try joining a fitness class or recreational sports team with regular meeting times. The regularity of these events will help to ensure that you're making time for your health and wellness.
2. Get More Sleep
You may think that you'll feel better after staying up to finish that big assignment, but working late at sacrificing sleep will actually diminish the quality of your work and set you up for even more stress the next day.
Make a pact with yourself to get at least 6 hours of sleep per night, regardless of what's on your agenda or how much work is piled on your desk. The clarity you gain from a refreshing night's sleep will enable you to work more efficiently the next day, and your stack of assignments will disappear before you know it.
If you struggle to fall asleep when experiencing stress, try adding a relaxing activity to your nightly routine. Reading a book or magazine, exercising in the evening, or watching an episode of your favorite TV show are all effective ways to unwind before bed.
3. Help Others
Todd Stocker says that “Helping others is the secret sauce to a happy life.” When you're constantly working to overcome stress and help yourself, helping others may be the last thing on your mind. However, the reward from doing some charity work or helping out a friend could be worth putting in a regular spot on the calendar.
There are countless charitable organizations to match one's interests and talents. Building a home with Habitat for Humanity, volunteering at a local animal rescue, or serving food at a homeless shelter are all rewarding opportunities for philanthropy. Your volunteering doesn't have to be as formal as working with a charity; helping a friend move or assisting a neighbor with yard work is just as rewarding and is happening in your own neighborhood.
4. Go Off the Grid
We're constantly inundated with information and invites between text messaging, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and dating apps like Tinder and OKCupid. Keeping up with the social lives of your ever-growing friends' list and the constant fear of missing out make even glancing at your phone a stressful situation. Unfortunately, this commitment to personal devices makes it much more likely that you'll miss out on something amazing happening right before your eyes.
Devote a few hours a week to going completely tech-less: no laptop, no iPad, no cell phone. Removing yourself completely from your virtual world will provide you with unparalleled clarity in your real world. Go for a long walk without the pressure to Instagram the gorgeous stream you find. Meet an old friend for dinner and enjoy their company without looking at your phone (and choose a restaurant without a TV hanging in every corner). Your regular release from social media will alleviate stress and break some of your bad habits for the rest of the week.
It may sound cliched, but meditation is one of the oldest and most effective means of reducing stress. Taking at least 15 minutes a day to concentrate on focus and breathing will sharpen your senses and clear the mind for a long day of productivity.
Your meditation practice could be as simple as sitting in a quiet room for a half-hour and breathing deeply. If you are religious, making daily prayer time will help you stay centered for the rest of your day. To add a physical component, practicing yoga will allow you to meditate while also giving you a full-body workout. Experiment to find what works best for you, and then feel the relief of regular meditation.
6. Have Sex
Like exercise, having sex releases endorphins that will instantly make you feel better and reduce anxiety. Physical contact with a loved one is a great way to increase your comfort level and eliminate stressful feelings. Maintaining a healthy sexual relationship with your partner is an important part of your happiness. The stability of a regular lover will help reduce anxiety in other aspects of your life.
If there isn't room in your schedule for a two-hour workout, taking ten minutes for your own well-being could be the next best thing.
7. Walk to Work
An often unconsidered cause of stress is the daily commute to work. Traffic and public transportation can cause daily headaches, and they often bring about an especially intense feeling of frustration. You can easily alleviate this stress by walking or biking to work.
The benefits of walking to work extend beyond physical fitness. You'll find that you have little to do on your walk but think reflectively and enjoy the world around you. Taking this extra time for yourself will allow you to start your workday feeling relaxed and refreshed.
If you don't live within walking distance of your office or don't have enough time for a 30-minute walk, try budgeting a little extra time and parking a few extra blocks away from work. Even an extra five minutes of clarity could make the difference for your day!
Taking time for yourself and reducing stress shouldn't be a choice. It should be a priority. The detrimental effects of stress can include:
- Increased heart rate and blood pressure;
- Weight gain;
- Aches and fatigue;
- Increased risk for illness and injury.
With so many easy options to reduce stress within your daily life, you can't afford not to take care of yourself. Examine the causes of stress in your own life and see what can be eliminated and what needs to be managed. Make a plan for how you're going to improve your life and regularly check your goals and strategies. Before you know it, you'll be the office role model for a stress-free living!
Summary: Thankfully, there are still many ways to reduce stress without quitting your job or throwing away your smartphone, and in the above article, we're explaining them. In order to combat the stress, you need to: exercise, get more sleep, help others, go off the grid, meditate, get in a relationship, and walk to work.