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In today’s chaotic world, so many things are out of our control. Maybe your boss moved up your deadlines, you were unexpectedly dumped or a certain presidential election didn’t go your way. When stress and anxiety creeps up, it’s easy to spiral into frustration, fear and hopelessness.
While you might have heard (and dismissed) advice like “go for a walk” or “take a bath,” psychologists agree self-care is effective against all kinds of external stressors. In short: If you’re feeling overwhelmed, don’t freak out — treat yourself. Here are a few things you can do to take care of #1 during tough times.
Crack a Joke
Humor has long been used to deal with the absurdity of an uncertain world (hello, Jon Stewart’s entire career), but did you know being funny can also help you live longer? A recent study out of Norway shows people who scored high in cognitive humor had a 48 percent lesser risk of death overall and a 73 percent less likelihood of dying from heart disease.
Researchers posit that the more likely a subject is to flip a difficult situation into a funny one, the less likely they are to feel the adverse effects of stress on the body.
Create a Comfy Space
This one seems obvious, but the importance of a safe space to relax outside work or school cannot be underestimated. Whether it’s your living room, your bedroom or even your car, having a space of your own can be key to unwinding — especially for introverts. Add calming colors, sounds and smells to create an inviting sanctuary.
Try a Weighted Blanket
If stress is making you shaky or antsy, try laying down under a weighted blanket — an easy way to sample deep pressure touch stimulation or DPTS. Like a warm hug from head-to-toe, the even pressure exerted over the body encourages serotonin production to lift your mood. Weighted blankets have been used to treat not only stress and anxiety, but also insomnia and sensory disorders.
Get Out of Your Head
Take a break from social media. Turn off the news. Go outside, get some exercise, do a puzzle. Anything that gets you out of your typical thought pattern and into a clearer headspace. Taking a walk to blow off steam may seem cliché, but studies have shown a little stroll outdoors can have powerful mood-boosting benefits like reducing anger and depression.
Write Down Your Accomplishments
Want a quick fix? Try replacing your never-ending to-do list with a list of your accomplishments. Whether it’s grocery shopping, completing a side-project or finishing an entire pizza by yourself, take a moment to appreciate all you’ve done, no matter how small.
A lot of stress and anxiety is caused by feeling helpless. Take back a sense of control by focusing on what you do have the power to change — the future. Worried about retirement? Set up a savings plan. Stressed about being late for work? Reserve a parking space ahead of time with the SpotHero app. The small things you do now to plan ahead can majorly reduce your stress in the future.
When city driving has you pulling out your hair, make parking one less stress by reserving ahead with SpotHero.
All images by Ines Vuckovic for Dose