5 Activities proven to relief stress in women. It probably won’t come as a surprise when I tell you that 42.4% of working women always or often feel rushed or pressed for time compared to 34.9% of men. Or that over 80% of Australian women reported that current stress was having an impact on physical health and almost three in four (74%) reported that current stress was having an impact on their mental health.
Some women accept stress as normal, a part of their every day life, but given the above statistics about the diverse affects of stress this should not be the case. And it doesn’t have to be. There are numerous activities that are proven to relieve stress, and in doing so improve physical and mental well-being.
Be it in an ocean or pool swimming is a very low impact exercise that uses all of the major muscle groups. It has a heavy focus on controlled breathing and as such has a very therapeutic and mindful affect. Swimming is an invaluable skill and if you don’t know how to swim
this may be your time to learn. If you do know how to swim you will happy to learn that it doesn’t have to be too time consuming.
To swim 500 meters at an average speed would take up only 20 minutes with breathing/drink breaks. Most aquatic centers have spa and sauna facilities and it is recommended that these also be utilized in order to reduce stress. The important thing about swimming if you are trying to wind down is not to swim too hard. Feel and enjoy the water around you, stretch your body and focus on your breathing.
What better way to get some endorphins flowing than to bounce around in yoga pants to the greatest hits of the 80s? Most gyms and recreation centers run Zumba or ‘dance fit’ type classes. They are not very high impact and one can choose the level at which they want to take the classes at. It is a little less therapeutic than swimming but it will get your blood pumping and have you feeling energetic and thinking clearly afterwards.
Just like swimming, yoga is all about controlled breathing. It is a very slow exercise and does require some patience. Yoga improves posture and as we have mentioned previously, good posture can directly improve different areas of your life and as such reduce stress levels. If you have not tired yoga before it is recommended you start in a beginner’s class, as it can be quiet challenging at a higher level to those who are unaccustomed.
Group ExercisesWorking in a group to successfully achieve a goal can be very good for stress levels. Be it in a group sports team, a book club or a work group. Something like a maze or an escape room are good for a work group activity. Or better yet get a group from work together and start a casual netball or football team. The ties within the group will become tighter and consequently the group’s performance will improve, making your life easier and your stress levels lower.
Writing & Colouring Exercises
You may have seen these colouring books becoming more and more popular, they are proven to take your mind off the real world and have it focus on simply staying between the lines. It forces you to be mindful and gives your mind a break from the things that may be causing you stress.
Writing is also very good for stress. Write a list of the things you need to do or the things that are stressing you out and go from there. Or start a dairy and jot down one or two things that made you smile each day.
Use this list to find what works for you. Try a yoga class later this week and swim the next day to see which you like the best. Perhaps you will prefer to get your blood really pumping at your local gym’s Thursday night Zumba class, or maybe you will find your stress relief in a Sunday night glass or wine and spot of colouring. Whatever it may be it is important that you use it to help your stress levels. Don’t become a percentage and don’t accept that high levels of stress are ‘normal’.
April Lipson is a HR Manager based in Melbourne. She enjoys helping staff at all levels and when she’s not boosting morale you can find her with a novel and nice large cup of coffee on the boardwalk.