Simple Ways to Deal with Stress in Your Life

Stressed out woman working from home looking for ways to reduce stress

Let’s not mince words: stress is a fact of life. No matter how much you try to decrease it, stressful situations happen at work, in relationships, in traffic – you name it. Thinking about ways to reduce or relieve stress can be, well, stressful. We’re getting stressed just thinking about all those videos and books and apps and … yikes.

We’re going to make this simple. When you’re feeling stressed, think in terms of what you need to increase and what you need to decrease. You want to dial up (increase) the activities and foods that help you manage stress and dial down (decrease) the activities that contribute to stress. Here’s how.

Increase these to Help Manage Stress

Decrease these to Help Lower Stress

  • Breathing
  • Alcohol
  • Nutrients
  • Caffeine
  • Time in the Sun
  • Overscheduling
  • Sleep
  • Procrastination
  • Exercise
  • Watching screens late at night
  • Laughter
  • Sitting still
  • Time with Friends & Family
  • Noise
  • Time doing what you enjoy
  • Responding to your phone
  • Time in nature
  • Clutter & Things that Do Not Spark Joy
  • Supplements
  • Toxic People or Environments

Increased these Activities to Help Deal with Stress

If you’re feeling stressed, it’s time to increase some positive things to help you manage. Try one or more of these to help with your stress levels.

Bonus: you can choose the ones that work for you!

1. Breathing

Take longer, slower, deliberate breaths. Taking deep breaths helps manage stress. Often when we are overwhelmed, stressed, or panicked, we take short, shallow breaths or even hyperventilate. Breathe. It does a body good.

2. Nutrients

Your body’s stress response starts in the brain. Feed it healthy foods and supplements rich in vitamins and minerals to keep your brain feeling and able to respond. Whole foods with antioxidants (think broccoli, kale, chard, blueberries, eggs) are a good start, but you can also supplement your diet with vitamins that contain nutrients for your brain. Try Brain Food by vitafusion, in a yummy blueberry flavor.*

3. Time in the sun

Sunlight triggers the release of serotonin in your brain, which helps you feel calm and focused and helps improve your mood.

4. Sleep

Feeling overwhelmed with stress? Get thee to bed. A nap or increasing your sleep hours can help you manage stress better.

5. Exercise

In addition to boosting your confidence and physical strength, exercise helps lower the stress hormone cortisol over time and releases feel-good hormones (endorphins) right away. It doesn’t have to be Olympic-level training, either. Any physical activity such as walking will do the trick. Exercise will also help you sleep better (see #4) so it’s a double bonus when it comes to dealing with stress.

6. Laughter

Laughter really is medicine. It helps release tension and helps increase the hormones in your brain that relieve stress. Time to turn on your favorite comedy show or find something to tickle your funny bone (literally or figuratively).

7. Time with friends or family

Positive contact with people you care about and enjoy spending time with helps relieve stress for most people. If spending time with folks makes you nervous, anxious, or upset, though, this one might be on your decrease list. Of course, make sure it’s safe to do so and follow local health guidelines for gathering.

8. Time doing what you enjoy

Make time for yourself and for fun activities that bring you joy. You know the things that get you in a flow state of focus and calm? Those. Whether it’s knitting or coloring or gardening, running, jumping rope, horseback riding, cycling, playing video games – whatever floats your boat, get in it.

9. Time in nature (or looking at nature)

There’s a reason vacations tend to be in the mountains, at lakes, or at the beach. Getting outside looking at trees, water, flora, and animals lowers your stress hormones (cortisol and adrenaline) and increases your happy hormones (serotonin and endorphins), according to numerous studies. Some studies show that even looking at pictures of nature (watch the Travel channel or a documentary about the planet?) has similar effects but without the other benefits such as fresh air and sunshine.

10. Supplements

Certain herbs help your body deal with stress. Ashwagandha, an Ayurvedic herb that helps your body manage stress, comes in capsules, powders, and great-tasting gummies such as vitafusion’s Brain Food.* Chamomile and lemon balm are great as teas. Lavender makes a lovely calming aroma in room sprays, infusers, lotions, and even ice cream.

Deal with Stress by Decreasing These Activities

We’ve talked about what to increase when you’re approaching stress overload. Now let’s reveal the things you should decrease to help you deal with stress.

1. Alcohol

While a glass of wine or beer can help you feel less stressed in the short term, too much alcohol, especially right before bedtime, can interfere with your sleep and increase stress.

2. Caffeine

Caffeine can help you feel sharper and improve your focus, but too much caffeine can make you jittery and anxious as well as throw you off your sleep schedule. Limiting caffeine, especially later in the day, can help you manage stress.

3. Overscheduling

Repeat this mantra: “I do not have to be busy all the time. I am worth more than what I do.” Decreasing the number of things on your schedule can be a tough one, especially if many of the items are “must-do’s.” But re-evaluating whether they are actually “must-do” and learning to say no so that you have time for rest and the things you enjoy are healthy ways to help counter stress.

4. Procrastination

Procrastinating is a coping mechanism for stress, but not a great one. Leaving things to the last minute usually increases stress, at least eventually, and can lead to a snowball effect or panic. Decrease the times you procrastinate by improving your time management skills and learning to motivate yourself intrinsically.

5. Watching screens late at night

Although watching a favorite comedy can help reduce stress, your body needs darkness to increase melatonin and help send your body to sleep. The light of the TV, tablet or phone screens can trick your brain into thinking it’s still light, thus not producing the melatonin you need. Plus, a visually and mentally stimulating TV show or movie – or reading the day’s news – before bed can keep you up at night.

6. Sitting still

Being too sedentary can make it harder to deal with stress. Our bodies are designed to move, so help manage stress by getting up and going for a walk or doing the latest TikTok dance at your desk.

7. Noise

If you’re feeling stressed, find some quiet or listen to soothing music. The noise of everyday living – traffic, sirens, crying kids, machinery, etc. – can create stress. Try noise-canceling headphones, your favorite music, or soothing sounds such as water, birds chirping, or other soundscapes to help combat stress.

8. Responding to your phone

We don’t just mean picking up phone calls; we mean responding to notifications. The constant pinging and vibrating can increase stress as each sound represents something you need to read, do, or deal with. Learn to turn your phone to Do Not Disturb so you can get some peace every day, particularly if you’re managing your stress level.

9. Clutter & Things that Do Not Spark Joy

There is a reason that many people clean when they are feeling stressed. Making sure your environment and space, whether that’s at the office, in your car, or in your home, is a source of relaxation and comfort helps you manage stress. Just don’t take that pile of bills to pay and hide it in a drawer or you’ll create stress for later!

10. Time Around Toxic People or in Negative Environments

The people you hang around with affect your stress level. Positive relationships (for the most part) affect your life positively and lower stress. Toxic or negative relationships or environments do the opposite, adding to your stress. Although you don’t have complete control over your relationships or environment, if a job, a co-worker, a friend, or even a family member is bringing you down and making your life more stressful, it’s up to you to make changes to reduce stress.

Working through the causes of stress with a therapist, your HR representative, or directly with the other person/people will be stressful short-term, but if it can improve the situation long term, it’s worth it. Sometimes it’s better to find a new job, transfer to a new team, or end a relationship – those can be viable ways to deal with the stress of toxic people or environments as well.

Help Nourish Your Brain and Body with vitafusion*

With all you must do and remember, it can be tough to eat right every day. And even if you do eat healthy foods, sometimes your body still needs supplements to fill nutritional gaps.

Try vitafusion gummy vitamin supplements to help give your body what it needs and live every day as your best you.