5 Quick & easy ways to relax and reduce stress


A few years ago, when I sat down to work out exactly how to go from stressed to destressed, I became overwhelmed.

Turns out there’s a TON of information on ways to reduce stress! So whilst this exercise felt as though I had added to my plate, I persevered and in the end, found out a thing or two worth knowing about how to reduce stress naturally.

So if you’ve recently found yourself in the same boat, let me simplify the process and fast track you with five tried and tested ways to easily destress yourself:

1. Take a lunch break

How many of you reading this don’t take a lunch break? If you’re someone looking for more ‘me time’ in your day, consider this your hidden window!

This is your opportunity to reset yourself for the afternoon and avoid overwhelm. So whether you get 15 minutes or an hour – TAKE A BREAK.

an image of a nourishing lunch bowl to accompany text about about taking your lunch break to reduce stress
Use your lunch break to reset yourself for the afternoon

Struggling with ideas about how to reset yourself in a short space of time?

Here’s a few suggestions to help get you started:

2. Eat a square of dark chocolate.

Yes! A green light to eat chocolate! Dark chocolate is my number one stress-relieving food.

In a recent study, researchers found that eating 40g of dark chocolate every day for 2 weeks reduced stress levels in people with high anxiety.

Evidence suggests that eating dark chocolate can help reduce levels of cortisol as well as your ‘fight or flight’ hormones known as catecolomines.

And it the green light gets greener.

Dark chocolate is also rich in antioxidents knows as flavonoids, which have been linked to many health benefits. Researchers are also investigating other compounds in dark chocolate that may offer other health benefits, such as improved insulin sensitivity, reduced blood pressure, and improved mood.

Try this delicious cacao tahnini smoothie from our Lifetonic Club monthly recipe bundle. It’s my absolute favourite and loved by our TLC community!

an image of cocao tahini smoothie
Try this delicious and nutritious chocolate smoothie from The Lifetonic Club, for an instant mood boost!

All of our recipes are created exclusively for The Lifetonic Club by registered nutritionist, Moira Newiss. You can follow this link to read more about Moira.

3. Plan something fun

There are about 2 million daily searches on Google for ‘fun stress reliving activities’. But there’s a faster way to get an answer than consulting the search engines.

Think back to what you enjoyed doing as a child. What did you spend hours doing whilst time whizzed by?

I’ll bet whatever it is, it was fun! Take that inspiration and bring it back into your life, especially if it’s disappeared.

As adults we tend to lose our ability to laugh and play, so consider this permission to plan fun things to do!

an image to encourage people to have fun as a way of reducing stress
Having fun and playing is a great way to relieve stress

By making time for fun, we can increase our happiness boost our mood and improve your focus. In fact, when we play, our bodies release more endorphins and fewer stress hormones.

I’ve recently re-discovered my love of playing board games. I’ve just learned backgammon and I’m hooked! And also indoor zoom picnics with my 10 year old niece. We plan the menu together in advance, set a date for the picnic, bring our goodies, set a blanket out and voila – instant indoor happiness!

Here’s some other ideas for you:

4. Reduce stress by making a list

How much of your stress do you carry around in your head?

I used to be terrible for making ‘mental notes,’ adding one on top of the other and round and round they went!

There is a lot to be said for making a simple list.

Making a list, or a plan of action is the perfect way to use your stress for something productive moving forward. This could be in the form of a traditional ‘to-do list’, a meal plan, or shopping list.

an image of a to do list to accompany text on encouraging people to make a to-do list to manage stress
A simple to do list is an easy way to keep stress out of your head

This is a particularly useful technique, if like me, you’re a visual person. A to-do list gets things out of your head and gives you something to focus on and work towards.

If the list feels overwhelming, I encourage you to pick one thing and work towards completing that first. The goal is not to overwhelm yourself but take small steps towards positive action.

Every month inside The Lifetonic Club our members get a bespoke ‘to-do list’ template to help with this.

5. Stretch as the ultimate way to relax and reduce stress

Stressed muscles are tight, tense muscles.

And here’s a quick list of what that can lead to:

– chronic low back pain
– shoulder and neck issues
– breathing problems
– tension headaches
– poor digestion and circulation
– depleted sleep

Any of that sound familiar? You can read my story about stress and back pain by following this link.

The good new is, pilates is the perfect antidote to stress because it helps to release tight tense muscles by stretching and strengthening your WHOLE body.

julie stretching her hamstrings
Pilates is the perfect antidote to stress because it links you to your breathing to help you let go of tension.

Not only that, you learn now to breath properly to help release tension, making it the perfect antidote to stress.

By learning to relax your muscles, you will be able to use your body to dissipate stress.

Want to know the best thing? You can reap the magical benefits of pilates in as little as 15 minutes a day.

Get started now with my 5 simple everyday pilates exercises. Use this link to download your FREE PDF guide.

If you’re a member of The Lifetonic Club, then you’ll also have access to our progressive relaxation techniques within the mindtonic library. These are short and simple everyday relaxation techniques taught to us exclusively by leading meditation expert Andrew Johnson.

Ideal to do either before or after your pilates workout for the ultimate stretch and relax.

So there you go, 5 practical ways to reduce stress naturally.

What one of the above will you try? I’d love to know!

Let me know in the comments and I’ll see you on your mat soon!

Love Julie x

What to join us inside The Lifetonic Club? Then use this link to sign up to be notified when enrollment opens.

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Meet Julie

Hi, I’m Julie owner of Ostara Pilates and creator of The Lifetonic Club. Here you’ll find pilates workouts, educational resources and practical tips dedicated to woman at midlife.  You’ll learn how to build a better relationship with your body and mind during one of the most significant periods of your life and how to create a simple wellness routine so as you feel supported even on the days where you have no energy.   Read more.

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