Sipping on a cup of peppermint tea to calm and relax you may be one amazing way to banish stress short term, but it’s our ingrained habits and behaviours that can really affect our cortisol levels on a longer term basis. Here are five habits you should cultivate to banish stress in your everyday and lead to better health and happiness overall!

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Take a nap

I’m guilty of never following this one, as I’m not great at napping; more of a deep sleep-or-nothing kind of girl. However, rather than scheduling a hour-long nap in the afternoon on weekends, try to cultivate a 15-20 minute habit. Some workplaces provide areas where you can have a quick power nap, but if your office isn’t as progressive, set aside 20 minutes to wind down after work. Studies show that those 20 minutes will help you sleep better later on when you try and catch those 8 hours. To monitor your sleep, I love wearing my Fitbit Alta to bed, as it shows me how long I’ve managed to catch those Zs, plus how restless I was and the times I woke up during my sleep. Seeing the numbers in front of you may be the wake-up call you need to make beauty sleep a priority.

Give yourself a break

It’s funny how simply running into a colleague you haven’t seen in a while in the office kitchen and stopping for a chat can make you feel “guilty”, right? It’s a sad truth that many of us are so pressed for time at work that even a five-minute catch up can seem like an unnecessary time-waster. Over and above the fact that building relationships at work is essential for success, research has proven that breaks actually help us be more productive when we’re back at our desks. Stress levels decrease when we work smart and produce better results! 

Get social

Funnily enough, research has shown that women who have regular social media habits may actually reduce their levels of stress by 21 percent. Unfortunately, the same was not shown for men. But yes, post a few pictures of your squad on Instagram, send those emails you’ve been meaning to and engage in some Snapchatting. It’s for your own good! 

Get Creative

The colouring book craze is still raging on for a reason. Self-expression is key to alleviating stress. Write that letter to your ex even if you don’t send it, listen to music before you sleep, dance it out (it’s not only a workout, but amazing for your cognitive memory too) and your stress level will decrease for sure. 

Devote time to worrying

Yes, seriously. We love this Refinery29 suggestion: Schedule a 30-minute slot in your day or evening to sit and worry. Make a calendar invite and spend that time doing just that. Maybe you’re worrying about paying off student loans, arguing with your husband, or fretting over an upcoming presentation. Rather than attempting to push it to the side as you go about your daily business, embrace it and do something about it. During your scheduled slot, look into your financial options for paying off that loan, plan out what you want to say to your husband and ask to talk. Don’t let wind-whipped worries get the better of you but wade into them boldly! You’ll be better for it than having the problems weighing on your mind every day on the MRT. 

For some quick fix destressors for your work day, see here.