The day-to-day life is full of stress. Be it dealing with your responsibilities at work or managing your duties as a parent at home, we are surrounded by constant stressors. Many assume that such stress is normal and is simply a part of life. While stress is normal and may even be beneficial in certain situations, prolonged stress can be harmful to your health.
A study conducted in 2020 reported the prevalence of stress among Malaysian adults as being 70%. Such a high prevalence clearly demonstrates the need for proper stress management to prevent it from affecting the quality of life. Therefore, it is important for you to know the steps you can take to unwind after a stress-filled day.
Here are some ways to mentally refresh after a stressful day:
Most forms of exercise can function as stress relievers. Exercise improves your general health and well-being, thus providing you with more energy throughout the day. Physical activities may help boost your level of endorphins, which are known as the brain's "feel-good" chemicals.
Regular exercise can also boost your self-esteem, elevate your mood and alleviate mild symptoms of anxiety and depression. Exercise can also help you sleep better, which can be hampered by stress, depression, and anxiety. All of these advantages of exercise can help reduce your stress levels and provide a sense of control over your body and your life.
Translating your thoughts and feelings into writing can help provide a release for pent-up emotions. Regular journaling can help you identify the source of your stress and help determine if it is an isolated occurrence or if it is a part of a broader pattern. It may also direct you towards a solution you would not have considered otherwise.
A 2018 study reported that writing not only improves mental well-being but may also improve physical health. So whenever you are feeling worked up, it might be a good idea to start writing.
The American Psychological Association (APA) defines meditation as a profound and extended contemplation or reflection in order to achieve focused attention or an otherwise altered state of consciousness and to gain insight into oneself and the world.
The practice, which has traditionally been used as a part of religious beliefs, is used as a way to manage stress in more recent times. Meditation can help you achieve a sense of serenity, peace, and harmony, which can improve your emotional well-being as well as your general health.
Getting a hobby
Hobbies are much more than just mere activities for you to fill up your time. Having a pastime is a great way to relax and decompress from your everyday routine. Whether it is through reading or hiking, taking time to do something you enjoy can have a positive impact on your mental well-being. Studies show that individuals with hobbies are less prone to suffering from stress, low mood or depression. Hobbies are also a great way for you to express yourself and give you something to look forward to after a stressful day.
Unwinding after a stressful day may not always be as easy as it sounds. Often, we may find ourselves struggling to calm ourselves down, regardless of how hard we try. However, it is important for us to allocate some time to tend to our mental health.
While there may be some stressors that we may not be able to avoid, stress does not have to be an ever-present part of your life. Taking time to look after your mental health can make it much easier to deal with stress.
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National Library of Medicine. Stress and your health. Available at https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/003211.htm. Accessed on 1 June 2022.
Perveen A, Hamzah HB, Othamn A, Ramlee F. Prevalence of anxiety, stress, depression among Malaysian adults during COVID-19 pandemic movement control order. Indian J Community Health. 2020;32(3):579-81.
Mayo Clinic. Stress management, Available at https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/exercise-and-stress/art-20044469. Accessed on 1 June 2022.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Journaling for your health. Available at https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/library/spotlights/journalinghealth.html. Accessed on 1 June 2022.
Baikie KA, Wilhelm K. Emotional and physical health benefits of expressive writing. Adv Psychiatr Treat. 2005;11(5):338-46.
The American Psychological Association (APA) Dictionary of Psychology. Meditation. Available at https://dictionary.apa.org/meditation. Accessed on 1 June 2022.
Mayo Clinic. Meditation: A simple, fast way to reduce stress. Available at https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/meditation/in-depth/meditation/art-20045858#:~:text=%22Meditation%2C%20which%20is%20the%20practice,disease%20and%20high%20blood%20pressure. Accessed on 1 June 2022.
Australian Government, Department of Health. Purposeful activity – hobbies. Available at https://www.headtohealth.gov.au/meaningful-life/purposeful-activity/hobbies. Accessed on 1 June 2022.