After the tumultuous events of 2020, you might still be dealing with higher stress levels than usual. The problem compounds if you are one of the many facing continued uncertainty in the pandemic’s wake. While it’s natural to feel concerned, excess pressure can wreak havoc on your health.
How can you blow off some steam in a healthy way? Why not try one of these nine unconventional ways to manage stress this summer?
1. Roam If You Want To
There’s good news on the horizon if your stress stems from a nasty case of wanderlust. The European Union plans to allow fully vaccinated American tourists to return later this summer — you can soon wave goodbye to many travel bans.
However, you don’t need the cash to afford a passport stamp to ease depression stemming from your rut — all you require is a way to hit the road. Buy a state map and throw a dart, then hop on Google to search for nearby attractions. What do you mean, you live only miles away from the world’s biggest ball of yarn, and you’ve never seen it?
2. Try Rage Yoga
If you embraced yoga and meditation over the quarantines, you no doubt know the benefits for helping you maintain calm amid the storm. However, after over a year of pandemic madness, you might crave something a little less serene to vent some steam.
Why not give rage yoga a try? These classes feature heavy metal guitar riffs, dirty jokes and f-bombs galore. Some even include a brewski or two if you enjoy a little extra adult relaxation.
3. Become a Tough Mudder
Do you need a little incentive to transition back to hardcore fitness after a year of at-home maintenance? Why not give yourself a push by signing up for an adventure race? Exercise is one of the best ways to relieve stress.
Races such as Tough Mudder have you scrambling through and over obstacles. You’ll get deliciously dirty and work every muscle while bidding goodbye to pressure caused by overbearing bosses and looming deadlines.
4. Adhere to Martial (Arts) Law
Maybe you took karate as a child. Why not rediscover your love as an adult — this time, trying one of these lesser-known martial arts styles that will challenge your muscles in new ways.
- Bokator: This Cambodian martial arts form has roots in the armies of Angkor. It is based on the moves and mannerisms of animals and is incredibly complex.
- Bakom: This hybrid martial arts form originated in Peru. It incorporates the stealth of street fighting with jujitsu techniques. It moves at a superfast pace.
- Kalari Palat: This Indian martial arts form is said to be an incarnation of the god Vishnu. It teaches you how to disable or even kill by striking one of the body’s 108 nerve points.
5. Ride ‘Em, Cowboy
Horseback riding combines the therapeutic power of animals with the opportunity to explore the great outdoors. The fresh air and sunlight help ease your stress levels. Plus, feeling close to another living creature may be just what the doctor ordered if you spent much of quarantine alone.
You don’t have to have tons of money to enjoy spending time with the equine set. You can always volunteer at a rescue if you have limited means. You get the added stress-busting benefit of the flood of feel-good neurotransmitters your brain releases when you do a good deed.
6. Get in the Water
Getting close to the ocean or lake can ease stress significantly. Contact with water induces a meditative state that triggers your body’s rest and digest functions. Aquatic exercises, like swimming, are gentle if you have achy joints. Activities like snorkeling and scuba diving introduce you to a serene underwater world far different from the landlocked one of cellphones and computers.
7. Go Nutty
Excess stress levels from a year of pandemic craziness can lead to depression. If you notice that you feel sadder than usual, try increasing your nut consumption.
Why? Nuts are high in magnesium and other trace minerals associated with an improvement in depressive symptoms. Researchers link magnesium in particular to improvements in symptoms of major depression, premenstrual syndrome, postpartum depression and chronic fatigue syndrome.
8. Frolic at a Festival
Few things perk up your commute like your favorite jam coming on the radio. If you need to bust pandemic stress and are fully vaccinated, why not plan to attend an upcoming music festival?
While you’ll still need to mask up for the foreseeable future, such an excursion could be just what you need to feel like things are finally returning to normal.
9. String Up a Hammock
Perhaps this last tip doesn’t qualify as unconventional. However, if you can’t stand staring at the same four walls any longer, why not take things outside by stringing up a hammock and napping in the sun like a lazy lion? Getting outdoors has a beneficial impact on your mood — 20 minutes outdoors can lower cortisol levels.
Kara Reynolds is the Editor-in-Chief and founder of Momish Magazine. Mom and step mom living her best life while managing anxiety and normalizing blended families. She enjoys pilates, podcasts, and a nice pinot grigio.
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Erin shows overscheduled, overwhelmed women how to do less so that they can achieve more. Traditional productivity books—written by men—barely touch the tangle of cultural pressures that women feel when facing down a to-do list. How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.