28. November 2022
The alarm clock rings much too early, the working hours are hardly sufficient for all tasks, exhaustion follows after work – however, one would actually still like to meet friends and cultivate hobbies – but not for too long, so that one at least still gets some sleep. Stress is a burden for the psyche and the body. The everyday life of most people turns much too fast and contains too few oases, in order to refuel strength in between times. Now you surely ask yourself, when you should still accommodate them – but already small relaxation rituals cause big effects!
Stress! Stress is both a physical and a psychological reaction to situations that are subjectively difficult to cope with. The emphasis here is on subjective, because while one person does not take the time for a relaxed coffee in the morning despite time stress, the other rushes to work full of panic to be late and sweating. Basically, our body constantly perceives both internal and external stressors, whereupon the brain sets biochemical processes in motion and triggers a state of alert. Consequently, stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline are released, giving us a faster short-term response to potential dangers by improving the oxygen supply to the brain and muscles and increasing blood pressure.
Just how crucial the subjective component of stress is becomes clear when we look at the living conditions of people today and just a few decades ago. More free time, prosperity, better medical care and longer life expectancy – and yet most feel incredibly stressed, both professionally and personally. There are a number of reasons why this is so. Among them, for example, are the increased expectations in the social and private environment. People want to have a career, a large circle of friends, exciting hobbies and fancy travel destinations. Trying to meet all these demands on a permanent basis can only be a burden and make people ill. Furthermore, the increasing digital technologies could also be the reason for chronic stress. Due to the constant accessibility and flooding with information, our brain is overloaded beyond measure and the time for activities offline becomes scarcer. In addition, social media constantly show us what we are missing: Parties, concerts, places to go…. We get so many options for our after-work activities that we quickly fall into an unhealthy leisure stress. It may sound crazy, however, many people also want to appear deliberately stressed. After all, only those who have a lot of stress, work a lot and constantly fill social media with exciting meetings with friends as well as leisure activities can have a fulfilling life.
Being under stress for a short period of time is not a bad thing. It only becomes problematic when this condition persists. The persistently high release of cortisol and adrenaline not only leads to lasting damage to our nerve cells, poorer concentration and increased blood sugar levels, but also has other consequences associated with excessive stress levels:
In addition, inflammatory processes in the body can increase and the immune system becomes weakened as well as more susceptible to any infections. Stress can also promote allergies and bears the danger of resorting to excessive food, alcohol or drugs in order to temporarily escape the mental carousel.
To reduce stress in everyday life there is not THE panacea. It is the sum of many small habits that relieves stress:Creating routinesLate again? No time for breakfast? Or exercise during your lunch break? Regulated routines help to avoid exactly these points in everyday life and at some point make us stop thinking about how to organize our day in a meaningful way. Getting up earlier to still have time for a relaxed wake-up and a bowl of cereal can do some people good. For others, it’s the routine walk with colleagues at lunchtime or going to bed at the same time every day that brings relaxation into the daily routine.Realistic to-do listsEveryone probably knows it – as soon as you wake up, the ever-long list of tasks that wants to be completed today pops into your head. Actually, we already know that we can only fail because of our own demands and can’t manage everything, only to go back to bed with a miserable feeling. So it makes sense the night before to think realistically about what the next day will look like, what tasks can be done and, above all, are most important. For example, there can be three to-dos every day, which you work off according to their priority. And if there is still time and energy for other things – great!Reduce screentime As mentioned earlier, it is the high amount of time spent online that is largely responsible for our stress levels. It’s clear that many people now work exclusively on mobile and thus screen time cannot be reduced to zero. However, one should ask oneself whether the cell phone can then at least be put aside in private, or whether it would be better to meet with friends in person or read a book in which the pace at which everything takes place can be determined oneself. If the stress level is very high, the possibility of spending a whole day offline on the weekend can also be considered. Alternatively, various apps can be muted. If it is really important, there is always the possibility to be reachable by phone.Relaxation methodsStudies prove that meditation, as well as methods such as yoga or progressive muscle relaxation can wonderfully relax our autonomic nervous system. There are various ways to incorporate such exercises. Whether a guided yoga course in a studio after work or simply a short moment in silence during the lunch break with conscious inhalation and exhalation can already provide lasting relaxation.MovementMany people also recover very well when they do not rest but are physically active. Here is very important: It should be fun! It doesn’t matter if it’s just a short walk or a whole workout in the gym. Even the small movements in everyday life already help – A short stretching between two meetings, climbing stairs instead of using the elevator, standing on the train on the way to work instead of sitting like in the office….
Foods rich in long-chain carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and proteins make us more efficient! Especially when things get stressful again, it is advisable to pay special attention to WHAT and HOW you eat. Four foods that are highly recommended for this:
For even more relaxation, it is also recommended to take time for eating, to arrange it beautifully and to enjoy it consciously. This not only de-stresses, but also promotes good digestion. In the end, everyone has to find out individually what relaxes them, and sometimes very small changes in everyday life are enough to have a considerable effect on the big picture. Maybe you should start to integrate the point that appealed to you the most into your everyday life. There will be days when you get better at implementing your new habits and days when it’s harder. The most important thing is that you stay with it and consciously pay attention to what does you good!