I know that it seems counter-intuitive to reduce stress during a busy week. We want to reduce stress so we can get more done but doing so usually requires more work! Sometimes, to completely de-stress after work and the kids, the only thing we should be doing is nothing at all. Even that can be difficult when stress is running rampant.

Since stress can affect digestion, blood pressure, blood sugar, and mood, it’s tempting to look for an easy way out. Prescription and OTC stress-relievers might help control symptoms, but they won’t solve your problem. These 5 all-natural ways to reduce stress can help you form a habit of daily stress-relief, free of prescriptions and side effects.


1. Exercise

Exercise is a scary term for some of us. It brings to mind lifting weights and subscribing to a gym that we don’t have time to visit during the week. For a lot of us (myself included), exercise can become a promise we make and break too easily.

Here’s the good news: exercising for stress relief doesn’t have to be strenuous or time-consuming. You don’t have to use weights or equipment at all, though you could if you wanted to. Exercise relieves stress when it gets your body moving. You could just get up from your desk and walk around a bit. Stretching, light walks, and massages are all examples of “exercise” that help relieve stress by releasing endorphins and getting your blood pumping.


2. Meditation

Meditation has been shown countless times to help control mood by fighting negative thoughts. Deep breathing can calm overactive nervous systems. It can be combined with yoga poses for added benefits.

It’s also another thing that not all of us have time for. In the case of meditation, it can’t be done quickly, but this makes it more essential for people with out-of-control stress.

Meditation experts have a term called “safe space.” It refers to where we meditate but also to how we’re supposed to feel when we do it. Finding a safe space with no responsibilities, noise, work, or kids for even a few uninterrupted minutes can do wonders for stress.


3. Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy involves using essential oils to induce a physical stress-relieving reaction. The right product can help us calm down during the day or get to sleep at night.

Lavender is a popular essential oil used in aromatherapy for its calming effects, including muscle relaxation. It can be bought in liquid form as an oral supplement, inlaid into pillows or hand creams, or used in aromatherapy. Many spas and physical therapy offices use this to calm their patients.

Combine your meditation with aromatherapy using essential oils such as lavender, vanilla, or sandalwood to relax during the day or get better sleep at night.


4. Sauna

Using a sauna produces a physical stress-relieving effect in the body, which includes improved circulation, endorphin release, and muscle relaxation. Regular heat bathing in a sauna can reduce depression and stress and help you manage mental disorders related to anxiety.

Particularly for muscle tension-related stress symptoms, saunas can provide a great all-natural way to reduce stress.


5. L-Theanine

L-Theanine is a great all-natural supplement for stress relief. It’s already in your body, so it can be supplemented without worrying about complications in most cases (as with any new supplement, speak to a doctor before using it or stopping any of your medications).

You can buy L-Theanine as a supplement from a health store or pharmacy. But as with many supplements, your body rewards you for finding a natural source. For your daily L-Theanine, black and green tea make excellent stress-relievers. Even the warmth increases the effect and helps you unwind.


The Takeaway

All-natural stress relief is the best kind. Medication might be quicker or more convenient, but it doesn’t always address the core functions that make us stressed in the first place. These all-natural solutions to stress can help with that.

Exercise (even light stretching), meditation, aromatherapy, saunas, and L-Theanine supplements can help your body improve its natural stress-fighting capabilities rather than force it to rely on drugs. Find a safe space to practice the relaxation method of your choice to take a major mental and physical load off your busy week.