Stress relief and self-care are important aspects of living a healthy, balanced lifestyle: people who are stressed over long periods of time are more likely to develop heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes. The next time you’re feeling overwhelmed, try some of these tips to help you relax!

  1. Enjoy a cup of tea

    Studies have suggested that tea helps reduce cortisol, a hormone associated with stress. Green tea is also a source of L-Theanine, a chemical which can help relieve anger.

  2. Break a sweat

    Working out can help you release endorphins and reduce cortisol levels, in turn lowering your stress. Regular exercise can also help boost your energy and endurance, giving you the extra boost you need to take on your day.

  3. Try some yoga

    Some studies show that the practice of yoga can help improve your mood while reducing stress.

  4. Be creative

    Playing an instrument, creating art, dancing or journaling are all excellent ways to ease and distract your mind.

  5. Indulge in some dark chocolate

    One square of dark chocolate can help settle your nerves and regulate your cortisol, giving you some sweet relief from your worries.

  6. Give your hands a quick massage

    Because we spend so much time typing on keyboards, our hands can carry a lot of tension and stress. Focus on the muscles under your thumb; this can also help relieve stress in your shoulders, neck, and scalp.

  7. Stay hydrated

    You’re more likely to be dehydrated when you’re stressed because your heart and lungs are working harder than usual. Make drinking water a regular habit.

  8. Engage your sense of smell

    Scents like lavender can help soothe your nerves. Try lighting a scented candle or spritzing essential oils in your environment.

  9. Take some time to meditate

    There are many different types of meditation, including guided meditation, where you are led through the exercise by a guide or recording; mantra meditation, where a calming word, thought or phrase is continuously repeated; and mindfulness meditation, which is based on being mindful and having an increased awareness of the present moment. All of these are proven stress-busters and can help you take a step back to address your problems with a clear and centered mind.

  10. Step outside

    Sunshine is your main source of vitamin D, which has been proven to positively impact your mood. Whether you’re taking a walk or simply standing in a sunny patch, enjoy the time outdoors and feel the stress roll off your shoulders. Here are some favorite outdoor workouts the next time you’re looking to chill out.