If you’re already feeling bogged down with work, social, and personal commitments in the new year, it could be time to sit down and reflect on how you’re managing your stress. According to the American Psychological Association, more Americans are suffering from moderate to high stress now than in previous years. 44% reported that their stress levels have increased over the last five years. It’s no question why so many people deal with such a burden, after all, we’re constantly connected to work, family drama, and depressing world news, due in part to those pocket-sized computers we carry around all day.
While many people live with stress each day, medical experts insist that chronic stress can have a serious impact on your physical and mental health. Anxiety, depression, headaches, appetite changes, and fatigue are just a few symptoms of chronic stress.
Obviously, managing your stress is important, but the costs of therapy and treatment methods can be a turn-off for many of those battling with stress symptoms. If you’re looking for some low-cost ways to reduce stress, you’re in the right place. In this article, we’ll discuss 5 things you can do to start handling your stress without breaking the bank.
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1. Get physical, physical!
One of the most effective ways to better manage your stress is to exercise regularly. When you work out, your body releases endorphins, which is a natural stress-fighter and mood-booster that lives in the pituitary gland. In addition to providing pain and stress-relief, these chemicals can also improve sleep cycles, which can, in turn, also minimize your stress.
Practically any form of exercise will help you access these stress-alleviating brain chemicals, but there are some that are especially effective. With that said, experts stress (no pun intended) the importance of finding an activity that you enjoy and can stay consistent with. Here are a few ideas to get your wheels turning and heart pumping:
- Yoga is a physical activity that’s both physically demanding and meditative, making it a great option for those dealing with stress.
- Running outside is a great way to get some exercise and some Vitamin D. Use a running app to track your progress and hold yourself accountable. What’s more, running is virtually cost-free if you don’t factor in the gear.
- Climbing is a fun activity if you’re looking for a different way to get some exercise. It involves physical and mental stamina which can make working out more exciting and adventurous for newbies!
2. Try aromatherapy
Aromatherapy has been used for centuries to treat physical and mental conditions. Aromatherapy uses the healing powers of natural plant extracts to provide holistic treatment for a variety of ailments. There are several essential oils that are effective for stress treatment, including lavender oil, bergamot, frankincense, and ylang-ylang oil.
If you’re looking for a natural treatment for stress, using essential oils can be a cost-effective way to go about it because all you need is one or two oils and a way to diffuse them. Essential oil necklaces are a simple, budget-friendly, and low-profile way to access aromatherapy treatment.
3. Find and eliminate your stressors
For most people, stress isn’t pinpointed to just one isolated incident, but rather a culmination of daily annoyances that build up and ultimately lead to day to day stress. Eliminating these aggravators is not easy to do, but it could be the cheapest and most impactful tip on this list.
To help you get ahold of your stress, make an effort to be more mindful about when you experience stress and what’s different in your environment that could be initiating these feelings. Take notes as you go and look for ways to eliminate these stressors or mitigate them. Perhaps a noisy office environment is causing you to lose focus and feel stressed; see if there’s a conference room or outside workspace that you can work from when the office environment becomes too distracting.
4. Eat healthily
Did you know that eating a more balanced, healthy diet can reduce your stress? Yep! And contrary to popular belief, eating well doesn’t have to cost you a fortune at the health food store. There are plenty of budget-friendly food options out there, including affordable grocery delivery services.
5. Opt for online counseling
If you’re dealing with severe stress or have been experiencing depression, anxiety, or just need someone to talk to, you might consider online counseling. Online counseling is often more affordable than in-office options, but it typically works using the same philosophies!
Managing your stress doesn’t have to be expensive. Use these tips to learn how!