Many of us suffer from the effects of stress, and last year 74% of UK adults had a point where they felt so stressed they were overwhelmed or unable to cope. These feelings of stress impact our mental health, and they also take a strain on us physically.


To protect ourselves, it’s important to know ways to manage these stress levels and prevent ourselves from becoming overwhelmed. We’ve created this guide to provide five simple tips to lower your stress levels and help you embark on a journey to serenity.

How to lower your stress levels

Here are our five tips to help you lower your stress levels. Remember, if your stress levels are routinely becoming overwhelming or you feel unable to cope, then consult your GP.

Make time to have a break and relax

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When your mind is racing all day long, it's like running a computer with too many programs open—it's bound to overheat. That's where regular breaks and relaxation come into play.

It doesn’t always need to be an hour-long relaxation session but just small breaks which encourage you to destress. Try incorporating some of these into your routine:

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Take a deep breath: During stressful situations, shallow breathing becomes the norm. Unfortunately, this restricts oxygen flow to the brain, leading to headaches and tension. Take a moment to breathe deeply, preferably in the fresh air, to replenish your oxygen levels and promote relaxation.

Relaxation exercises: Engage in simple activities that help calm your nervous system. Stretch your body, focus on your breath, or be mindful of your surroundings. By redirecting your attention, you can distract yourself from anxious thoughts and find moments of tranquillity. If you need inspiration, check out eight mindfulness habits to boost your everyday happiness.

Progressive muscle relaxation: Start by tensing and then releasing each muscle group in your body. Begin with your toes, tense them for a few seconds, and then release. Move upward through your legs, abdomen, arms, and finally to your face. Take a few seconds to tense each muscle group and then release the tension. This exercise helps promote relaxation throughout your entire body and lower stress levels.

Get some good quality sleep

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Prioritising sleep is a great way to reduce your stress levels. To maximise the stress-reducing benefits of sleep, it is recommended to aim for 7-8 hours of quality sleep per night. Here’s how sleep can help:

Restoration of body and mind: During sleep, the body restores itself. It repairs damaged tissues, replenishes energy stores, and regulates hormone levels. Sleep also improves cognitive function and emotional resilience. By giving your body and mind time to recharge, you are better equipped to handle stressors that come during the day.

Stress hormone regulation: Sleep has a significant impact on the regulation of stress hormones, such as cortisol. Cortisol levels naturally fluctuate throughout the day, with the highest levels in the morning and the lowest at night. Good sleep helps maintain a healthy cortisol rhythm, preventing excessive and prolonged stress hormone release.

Emotion regulation: Lack of sleep can make it more challenging to regulate emotions and cope with stress. Sleep deprivation can increase irritability, mood swings, and emotional reactions. Sustaining healthy sleep patterns means you can handle stressful situations with more composure.

To learn more about sleep, check out our wellness section. Here you can find guides to sleep which include how much sleep you need and tips for better sleep.


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One of the best ways to combat stress and anxiety is to let off steam and exercise. Physical activity is a fantastic outlet for stress because it helps release tension in the body and promotes the production of your body’s ‘happy chemicals’.

Exercise helps to strengthen your cardiovascular system, boosts metabolism, and triggers the release of endorphins, your body's natural mood enhancers. Whether it's going for a walk, skipping, yoga, or any athletic activity that makes you sweat. Just thirty minutes a day is enough to naturally calm your stress levels.

For beginner guides, exercise breakdowns, and workout inspiration, check out our fitness page.

Improve your time management

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Effective time management is a valuable tool for reducing stress and promoting a sense of control in your life. When you feel overwhelmed by numerous tasks and responsibilities, it's important to have strategies that help you manage your time more efficiently. Here are some easy ways to manage your time effectively:

  • Break tasks into smaller steps: Divide overwhelming tasks into smaller, achievable steps to make them more manageable and less daunting.
  • Set realistic goals and expectations: Be honest about what you can realistically accomplish within a given timeframe to avoid unnecessary stress and pressure.
  • Allocate time for self-care: Prioritise self-care by dedicating time for relaxation, hobbies, and activities that bring you joy and rejuvenation.
  • Utilise time management techniques: Work in focused intervals, such as 25 minutes of work followed by 5 minutes of rest, to improve productivity and prevent burnout.

For a guide to time-management techniques, check out our guide on the best time management methods.

Proper nutrition

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By prioritising proper nutrition and consuming a well-rounded diet, you provide your body with the necessary nutrients to support stress management, mood regulation, and overall well-being.

It is important to focus on whole foods, minimise processed foods, and maintain a balanced intake of macronutrients and micronutrients for stress reduction benefits. As always, moderation is key. Here’s how food can help:

  • Stress hormone regulation: Nutrient-dense foods provide essential vitamins and minerals that support the body's stress response system. For example, foods rich in vitamin C, such as citrus fruits and leafy greens, help regulate cortisol, the primary stress hormone.
  • Mood enhancement: Certain nutrients, such as omega-3 fatty acids found in fatty fish, walnuts, and flaxseeds, are crucial for brain health and function. These nutrients support the production of neurotransmitters like serotonin, which regulates mood and promotes a sense of calm and well-being.
  • Gut-brain connection: The gut and brain are interconnected through the gut-brain axis. A healthy gut contributes to better mental health and stress management. Eating a balanced diet with fibre-rich foods, fermented foods, and probiotics supports a diverse and healthy gut microbiome.

If you want more guides for wellness-related content, then check out The Recommended’s wellness page, where you can find our guides on how much sleep you need, eight mindfulness habits to boost your everyday happiness, and five tips for better focus and improved concentration.


Finn ByrneEcommerce Writer

Finn Byrne is a Digital Writer for Immediate Media. He works across several brands including The Recommended,, MadeforMums and BBC Gardeners’ World. Finn has previously written for publications including MyLondon, The Mirror, The Express, and The Star. When not writing Finn enjoys spending time on the football pitch and getting stuck into a book.