Some stress-relief techniques—like deep breathing—help you deal with inevitable stressful situations and conversations that pop up in the immediate moment.
But wellness experts know the secret to deeper stress-relief with long-term benefits: establish regular habits that make those situations less likely to arise and that turn you into a person more able to manage them when they do.
It’s the same prevention-before-prescription mindset we apply to healthy eating, and it really works. For example, research shows meditating regularly could help you confront stressors with a sense of calm (as opposed to searching for an “SOS!” meditation when you’re already in a full panic.)
Here, we share some of the ways our favorite health and lifestyle stars expertly weave long-term stress-relief techniques into their daily lives. Follow their lead to find more calm and less chaos.
7 Long-Term Stress-Relief Techniques
1. Get (and stay) organized.
Remember that whole “life-changing magic” frenzy? Tidying up is a strategy you can apply to much more than your closet. Top nutritionist Lara Metz says keeping her kitchen stocked and organized is one key to not going crazy while running a business and raising two daughters. And Y7 Yoga co-founder Sarah Levey says she keeps stress at bay via to-do lists (alongside adequate sleep and wine, naturally).
2. Prioritize regular exercise.
Trying to fit workouts into your schedule may stress you out, but the act of exercising on a regular basis provides you with a steady stream of happiness-boosting endorphins. Top trainers Brett Hoebel and Mantas Zvinas, Deliciously Ella founder Ella Woodward, and TV stars Chris and Heidi Powell all say sweating helps them stay sane. Pro tip: Choose a workout that includes added tension release. “Sometimes I need to put the boxing gloves on and just hit the heck out of a heavy bag for a while. It helps put my mind back in the right place, and helps me keep my priorities straight,” Chris Powell says.
3. Learn to let go.
Celeb yogi Mandy Ingber says she’s learned to relax into what comes instead of trying to control everything life throws at her. Here’s her trick: Start practicing asking yourself the question “How important is it?” when things are really going wrong. “[It] reminds me that there are no big deals,” she says. “Everything is as it should be, and I can trust that my life is unfolding before me in perfect order.”
4. Create morning “me-time.”
The way you start each day sets the tone for what follows. So if you get from bed to work by running around like a crazed wind-up toy, it’s going to be tough to find focus later. Our fierce founder Keri Glassman has a foolproof routine that prioritizes “me-time” and sets her up for success each day. “I take a look at my schedule for the day to see if I need to reconfirm or reschedule anything and simply make sure the day is set up to flow smoothly. Then I try to cross one “bigger” thing off my to-do list. This often feels like my most creative time—when the world is still quiet and my mind is at its best,” she says.
5. Delegate, delegate, delegate.
Repeat after us: You can only do so much. You can only do so much. Instead of burning yourself out trying to do it all, focus on your strengths and delegate the rest, says fitness star Natalie Jill. “The amount of money and time I actually SAVE having people help me with the things I am terrible at has freed up my life and given me time for more of what I am good at and enjoy doing.” Organic food pioneer Maria Rodale agrees. “My life got a whole lot better and happier when I learned that it wasn’t my job to fix everything and everyone else,” she says.
6. Meditate—and not just when you’re stressed.
Yes, meditation is a predictable stress-relief technique, but the trick is to do it every damn day, not to use it as a last resort. It’s so effective it may be the trick wellness experts—including Mama Glow founder Latham Thomas, yoga instructor Heidi Kristoffer, health coach Elissa Goodman, and cooking pro Pamela Salzman—mention most often.
7. Spend time with the people you love.
Umm…yay! This one is super fun, but also based on science. Research has shown the strength of your relationships is one of the biggest predictors of happiness. Cosmo editor-in-chief Michele Promaulayko gets that—she says laughing with friends is her most important stress-relief technique, and Chloe’s Fruit founder Chloe Epstein says time with her kids works, too.
(Featured Photo: Priscilla Du Preez via Unsplash)