Is stress getting you down? Don't have time to hit the gym? Luckily, there are simple self-care exercises you can complete in under five minutes that will leave you feeling better. Here are six stress management exercises for people who can't fit exercise into their schedules.

1. Take a deep breath.

Deep breathing is a form of meditation that involves slow, controlled breathing from the abdomen. The practice can be done anytime and anywhere — while walking or commuting on the subway, while waiting in line at the supermarket or simply when you feel stressed out. The key is to focus on how it feels as you breathe in and out slowly, without trying to control your breath. Your breath will naturally become deeper as your body relaxes.

It has been shown to lower heart rate and blood pressure while increasing circulation throughout the body — all qualities that make it a great way to reduce stress. Deep breathing also increases oxygen flow to all organs in the body, including brain cells, which improves concentration and mental function.

If you don’t know how to start, here are simple steps.

1. Lie down on your back with your arms by your sides, palms up. If you have back pain, place a pillow under your knees.

2. Take a deep breath in through your nose, hold it for a few seconds, then exhale slowly through pursed lips as if blowing out birthday candles. Repeat several times until you feel relaxed and calm.

3. If you're having trouble relaxing into deep breathing exercises, imagine yourself somewhere that makes you feel safe and secure (for example, lying on the beach or sitting in front of a fireplace).

2. Go for a walk.

Walking is an all-around good activity for your health. It can reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer by helping you shed pounds and improve your overall fitness level. It also helps keep bones strong, improves sleep quality and alleviates depression symptoms. And if you start slow (as in going from no exercise at all), it's easy on your joints and muscles so it won't hurt like running might after a few weeks or months of doing it regularly.

This exercise can also help you relieve stress more than indoor workouts do because being outside exposes you to nature and its beauty as well as taking away from technology distractions like screens and emails that interfere with our relaxation time when we're at home.

And since walking doesn't require any equipment other than a pair of shoes (or bare feet!), it's also convenient for people who don't have access to a gym.

3. Take time to meditate

Meditation is a practice that allows you to focus on the present moment—no past regrets or future worries allowed! It can be as simple as focusing on your breathing, or it can be more complicated by focusing on an object in front of you and maintaining your focus on it for an extended period of time (like a candle).

How does this help with stress? When we think about our pasts and futures, we often get caught up in thoughts about what could have been done differently or what might happen next—and these thoughts are stressful because they make us worry about things outside of our control (which makes sense). When we meditate on the present moment, our minds become focused solely on what's happening right now—and when we're focused on something positive like our breathing, it will help us to calm down. This will also make you realize that whatever happens you should be thankful because you are alive and safe, even though there’s a lot going on right noe.

4. Dancing

We all know that exercise is good for us, but it can be hard to fit it into our busy schedules. There's always so much going on—work, family, friends—and we just don't have the time to fit in an hour or two of exercise a day.

But did you know that dancing is a great way to manage stress? It's true! Whether you're at work and feeling overwhelmed, or you're at home and dealing with some drama from your kids, dancing can help you relax and find equilibrium again.

Dancing helps you manage stress because it gets your heart rate up without overdoing it. It's aerobic exercise without being too intense—so you don't feel like you're working out while still getting all the benefits of doing so. And if you feel stressed out from work or life in general, the music can help you forget about everything else and just enjoy yourself for a few minutes (or hours).

You won't have time to think about anything else while you're dancing—it's all about moving with music!

5. Gardening

The act of gardening is good for your body, mind and soul. It's a way to get outside in the fresh air, breathe deeply and take some time out from life's stresses and strains.

Gardening doesn't demand much in terms of physical fitness, but it does require you to be able to bend over and lift things occasionally. And it gives your body a good workout as well — especially if you're mulching or weeding!

This is also a great way to get creative with your space. You can add a new feature such as a pond or patio area, create an herb garden or even plant vegetables for fresh produce year round.

If you like nature, gardening is a great way to connect with nature and feel grateful for what we have here on Earth! Which can take off of negative thoughts and rather enjoy the wonders of your surroundings.

6. Stretching

Stretching isn't just for athletes and dancers — it's something anyone can do anytime, anywhere. And research shows that stretching may help reduce anxiety and improve sleep quality. Aside from that, it's easy, free, and you can do it anywhere.

If you have time for a walk or run in the morning or evening, great! But if not, stretching is a way to get some physical activity into your day without having to make room for it. It doesn't take much time at all — just five to 10 minutes will do the trick.

Stretching helps relieve muscle tension and improve flexibility, which are both important for good health. Plus, there are plenty of other benefits from simply spending 10 minutes with your body stretched out.

If you don’t know where to start, here are simple stretches that anyone can do for stress management:

1. Stretch your arms up high and reach down low. This will help relax the muscles in your upper body and release tension from your shoulders, neck and back.

2. Bend forward slightly at the waist with your hands on your thighs. Breathe deeply as you hold this position for 20 seconds or more. This stretch helps relieve tension in your lower back, hips and legs.

3. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and arms extended straight out to each side like airplane wings; then bend forward at the waist as far as possible while keeping your back straight (don't bend at the knees). Hold this position for 30 seconds or more while breathing deeply through pursed lips — it'll feel like you're blowing out a candle!

Being stressed is never a good thing, especially when it happens too often. People who experience stress overload risk serious health conditions like heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure, and diabetes. But there are plenty of things that you can do to relieve stress and keep it from building in the first place. These stress management exercises are practical and quick enough to slip into even the busiest schedules.
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