The upcoming New Year is the perfect opportunity to start new habits in your life. Consider it a new adventure, a new beginning, a fresh canvas.To start living a healthier life and manage how you react to intense situations, you need to deal with your stress and create new habits. Here are 13 proven techniques for a healthier lifestyle.

1. Get Some Exercise

Exercising is one of the best ways to increase your body’s natural endorphins, which improve feelings of depression and anxiety. Even merely taking a walk helps to counteract the effect of stress. While you might believe your schedule is too packed to make time for a mid-day walk, carving out the time can help you regain control and increase productivity.

2. Cut Back on Caffeine

Caffeine has been shown to increase your body’s stress response, both physically and mentally. While you might think those three cups of morning coffee are essential, your body will adjust, and you’ll find yourself filled with more clarity and less stressful days. To help you break the habit, try replacing your regular coffee with decaf and slowly ween yourself off.

3. Take a Break from Technology

The constant buzz of technology, especially social media, has hugely adverse effects on mental health. Try to take a break from technology at least once a day. Whether you avoid checking your phone until you’ve finished your morning routine, or if you unplug at a specific time each night, the effects will be felt immediately.

4. Prioritize Your Sleep

An added benefit of putting your phone away, and other technological devices, early on in the night is better quality sleep. Harmful blue lights can disrupt your circadian rhythm making it difficult to get adequate REM sleep. When you don’t get enough REM, you’ll notice your stress skyrocket the following day.

5. Practice Breathing Techniques

Deep breathing techniques have been proven to help reduce stress and even make the pain more manageable. However, effective breathing techniques take practice. Try a few different methods and see which one works best for you. The goal is to intake larger air amounts than usual and hold it before profoundly and slowly exhaling. Even just taking 10 deep breaths can lower stress levels.

6. Create a Soothing Playlist

Music has a beautiful ability to activate different parts of the brain. Songs from your past can bring up nostalgic memories, high-paced music can help you power through a workout, and calming music can help bring clarity and reduce stress levels.

7. Make Time for Fun

All work and no play leads to a stressful, unenjoyable life. Make time to do something you enjoy at least once a day. It can be something as simple as reading a book, calling a friend, or watching your favorite Netflix show. If you need to, take a day off and have a break from your everyday routine.

8. Be More Social

Communicating with friends and family members can help your brain and body relax and put things into perspective. Try to be more social every day by spending time with friends or family or at last talking to someone on the phone. While it can be challenging during COVID-19, face timing and calling loved ones has an undeniable effect on our wellbeing.

9. Strengthen Your Understanding

If you’re unsure why you’re stressed or how to tell you’re getting stressed, try to understand it better. Check out some helpful self-help books and keep an eye out for any stress signals you’re feeling. Write them down and try to determine your personal stress signs so you can get ahead of overwhelm in the future.

10. Try Journaling

While we’ve moved to a primarily digital world, the act of putting pen to paper still creates a soothing feeling that can help manage stress. When journaling, this effect is magnified even more. Try to keep a daily journal as a form of self-exploration.

11. Clean up Your Diet

What you eat has a direct effect on your body and how your brain functions. Try reducing processed meats, increasing fruits and vegetables, and adding flax-seed oil. Flax-sed oil can help combat stress and anxiety as well as reduce blood pressure and inflammatory diseases. Reducing your intake of processed meats allows your body to manage cortisol more efficiently and lower your risk of chronic conditions.

12. Add a Soothing Ritual

Try adding a soothing ritual to your day. This could include enjoying a cup of hot tea, engaging in mindful meditation, stretching, or breathing in aromatherapy with your favorite essential oils—all of which have measurable effects on reducing stress. Finding something that works best for you and enjoying it will help you stick with it and reap the most significant benefits.

13. Get a Massage

People tend to be hard on themselves, putting others first. When you put yourself first, everyone else benefits. Introduce some new self-care habits to your life. Reward yourself by treating yourself to a massage. Massages not only give you a deep sense of relaxation, but they’re also great for physical health and reducing inflammation. To maximize the benefits, include monthly massages as part of your health regimen.

If you’re looking for the ultimate relaxation and a healthier you—call Willow Massage and Spa today at 480-696-3132.