Two-Minute Stress Relief in Red or Blue States

By Sara Butler

Relieving Voting Stress

The election is finally over. That means we have roughly three days, two hours, and four minutes to breathe before we start talking seriously about 2020. My chosen form of stress relief is a trip to Walt Disney World, but since I’m not independently wealthy, own a private jet, or have my name plastered atop skyscrapers worldwide, that’s not exactly a stress relief strategy I can depend on.

Let’s be honest: If any type of coping mechanism you can use for stress relief takes longer than a couple of minutes, the chances that you’re actually going to do it when you’re in the midst of a stress-filled meltdown is unlikely. I’m nothing if not a realist.

In the spirit of those of us who want to practice stress relief techniques but don’t want to commit a ton of time to them, here are just a few tips and tricks to help you handle stress -- in two minutes or less.

Smile

Finally, your favorite silly cat video on YouTube serves a practical purpose in your life! Research suggests that when you laugh, it reduces anxiety and depression. So when you feel yourself starting to feel a little frayed at the edges, do something that will bring a smile to your face. It’s worth it for your sanity!

Breathe

If you’re prone to panic attacks, there’s something simple you can do to help mediate those panicky feelings: breathe.

Sure, just breathing seems too simple to be truly effective, but if you can help stop anxiety from flooding your brain, then you can help thwart a full-blown attack. Those shallow, short breaths send signals to your body and brain that something bad is happening. So, take control of your breathing and make sure to take strong, long breaths and controlled, slow exhales. This sends the signal to your brain that it’s all going to be OK, so work on that breathing when you feel as if the world is crumbling around you.

Play

Have you ever noticed that animals and kids don’t ever seem to look stressed? That’s because they know how to just leave it all behind and play.

You may not get a recess when you’re at work or home, but you can work a little playtime into your day. Take your dog for a walk or play pretend with your kids when you get home from work tonight. Let your furry friends or little Mini-Me lead you to get out of your head for a few minutes.

Go Silent

Sit in your car before you go into the house or before you head into the office and just … be silent. Don’t look at your phone, don’t answer an email, don’t even continue listening to your favorite podcast. There’s evidence that noise can contribute to stress levels, so having a few moments of silence can help to negate some of the ruckus of your daily life.

In an ideal world, stress wouldn’t exist. But since we all live in the real world and election cycles occur every two years, we know it’s inevitable that we’re going to worry about various things in life. Just know that instead of freaking out, there are several things you can do to try to keep that freak-out at bay -- and you don’t have to invest a lot of time to do it. With these stress relief tricks in your back pocket, bring on 2020!

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