8 Simple Lifestyle Changes to Help Reduce Stress

How to Relieve Stress and Anxiety in a Healthy Way

Stress is our body and mind’s normal response to challenges in our daily life. Short term, it can help us perform better when the clock is ticking and we are under pressure, and it enables us to respond quickly to threats and danger. However, longer or constant exposure to stress can pose problems for our overall health – it can affect our physical health, our mental well-being and emotional state.

While we may not (to the full extent) be able to change what causes stress, we can focus on our reaction and our stress management. Now you’re probably thinking ‘easier said than done’, huh? Well here I offer 8 simple and healthy lifestyle changes you can implement into your daily routine, slowly and steadily shifting your mindset towards a slower, lighter, more mindful, and healthier way of living. Why do I think that can help in reducing and better managing everyday stress?

Just imagine 2 scenarios: in one, you woke up in a rush, you ate some pizza from yesterday for breakfast, while scrolling through social media, and you quickly got dressed and rushed off to work. In the other, you woke up in time, even earlier, you didn’t look at your phone right away. You stretched out a bit, meditated for a couple of minutes, and made yourself a healthy breakfast, which you ate mindfully, without any distractions. You had enough time to get ready at your own pace and went to work. Which of these two scenario-people do you think will handle that day’s work stress better? The second one, without a doubt. The cause (outside element) might be the same, but the person managing it will be different.

8 Healthy Lifestyle Habits for Better Managing Everyday Stress

Create a simple, but effective morning routine

How you start each day sets the tone for the rest of that day. Wake up early, give yourself time to wake up entirely – stretch or workout to wake up your body, meditate, and have a healthy breakfast without any distractions. Set yourself for a more mindful and focused day.

Go to bed early

Tiredness is like adding fuel to stressful situations. Having more energy is the first step in dealing with stressful situations more effectively. Also, in order to maintain a productive morning routine, it is important to get enough sleep and rest the night before. Go to bed early and enjoy your well deserved rest.

Avoid people who stress you out

Other people play a huge role in our everyday lives. Some people may not be that easy to avoid, but sometimes we keep hanging out with people that cause negative emotions in us out of pure habit. Re-evaluate your social life, detect who influences your life in a solely negative way, and re-consider how you handle them.

Practice deep breathing throughout the day

Set your timer for every couple of hours, and pause to have a couple of deep and mindful breaths. All of us easily get caught up and race through the day, this can help you keep yourself more grounded and remind you to pause every now and then.

Identify what is causing your stress and anxiety

Sometimes it takes us some time to recognize we are under huge stress or feeling anxious. Mindful breathing breaks are a tool in helping you understand your state of being – if you’re under stress, taking a pause can help you realize that. Beside acknowledging your body and mind are experiencing stress, work on identifying the cause. Look at your habits, your attitude about the cause, and the possible excuses you might be making. We often multiply our stressful response by building it up in our mind – break that cycle by observing it and calling it what it is. The purpose is not to minimize what is happening, but to minimize your reaction to it.

Get regular exercise

Except for having great physical health benefits, exercise can also be a powerful stress reliever. Whether it is a daily 30-minute walk, a fitness workout using an app on your phone, just find what works for you and stay consistent.

Reduce caffeine and sugar

If you adopt healthy habits, while still maintaining the unhealthy ones, not much can be done in managing and reducing your stress levels. Reduce your refined sugar intake and the amount of coffee you drink. Besides being your sidekick for stress relief, it can also improve your sleeping habits.

Avoid tobacco, alcohol and other drugs

Tobacco, alcohol, and other drugs, along with many other harmful health consequences, are also your enemy when it comes to healthy coping mechanisms and relieving stress. I just cannot stress enough the amount of negative impact it has on your overall well-being and how you deal with stressful situations, so here are a couple of useful links if you want to look more into it:


These tips are aimed at those dealing with regular everyday stress and wish to improve their general well-being. However, if you are overwhelmed by stress, feel like you cannot cope, you should seek help right away. Ask help from a health professional, and/or call your local hotline.

With love and compassion,

Common Unicorn

Get for free the amazing 30 day self-care challenge + a printable calendar

If you enjoyed this read, subscribe to my mailing list so I can keep you updated with the latest posts, regular freebies, amazing opportunities, exclusive discounts and more. Also, by joining the list, you receive right away for FREE the amazing 30 Day Self-Care Challenge and a Printable Calendar!

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.
simple tips to improve your mental health - calming photo of a candle on a table

10 Things You Can Do To Improve Your Mental Well-being

Simple Tips To Boost Your Mental Health

It is easy to get caught up with work, the news, social media, and many other things that are competing for our attention. An important part of our well-being is our mental health, which can additionally be affected during extensive and multiple lockdowns during the pandemic. How to improve and maintain our mental health should be on our priority list, but still we often neglect it.

Building a routine that supports your psychological well-being can create an amazing environment for your general wellness and personal growth. Here is a list of some simple and straightforward activities you can easily incorporate into your normal routine and feel all the advantages.

How To Improve Your Mental Health

1. Start the day with gratitude and self compassion

Either by taking a mental note or writing in your journal, start the day with acknowledging at least one thing you are grateful for, and one thing you love about yourself. You might find this hard at first, but there are a lot of things to be grateful for, as well as there are a lot of things you can love about yourself. Practicing this daily can help you shift your mindset towards a more positive state, encouraging you to stay more present and feel content.

2. Move your body

Findings from research indicate that exercise is associated with improvements in mental health including boosts in mood and self-esteem. But even research aside, you alone can tell that you actually feel better after a hike, a bike ride, or a yoga practice. Whichever you find the most exciting, get your body moving and make it a habit – both your body and mind will thank you.

3. Maintain social connections

Humans are social creatures with emotional needs for companionship and positive connections. We’re not meant for isolation and solitude. Connect with friends, family, loved ones, either in person, or through a video call. Face-to-face connections are like food for our emotional mind. 

4. Read

Grab that book you’ve been meaning to read and get lost in it. Diving into a good book can calm the mind and relax the body, as simple as that.

5. Disconnect to reconnect

Go off the grid – move your phone away from you for a day (when it is possible of course) and disconnect from constant alerts, notifications, and distractions. Spend that time to reconnect with someone or even to reconnect with yourself – enjoy your me-time.

6. Deep breathing and meditation

Keep yourself grounded and in the present moment by taking a few deep breaths or by practicing mindfulness with a guided meditation. The benefits of practicing mindfulness are numerous. You can also read about my own experience in using mindfulness meditations to relieve anxiety and to deal with cravings.

7. Go for a walk outside

Especially if it is sunny outside, use that walk in the sunshine as a double mood booster. Don’t forget to apply sunscreen!

8. Do something nice for someone

Perform a random act of kindness. Volunteer to help someone else. Whichever you choose, doing something to help someone, putting a smile on their face, is a great way to feel better about yourself!

9. Get enough sleep

Sleep is essential to your energy levels and productivity throughout the day – make sure you get enough of it.

10. Replace unhealthy habits to unwind with healthy ones

Replace the unhealthy habits you use to unwind (like alcohol or smoking) with healthy ones. Replace that evening glass of wine with a soothing herbal tea – you will sleep better and feel better in the morning. Check out here other ways to unwind in the evening without alcohol.

How to improve your mental well-being - a calming photo of books, sunglasses and a candle

Mental wellness is achieved with good emotional, psychological, and social well-being

All in all, make sure you’re taking time to focus on your mental health activities, build steady healthy habits around your day, and most importantly – be kind to yourself, no matter what 🙂

Keep in mind that these activities do not serve as a solution for mental issues, they are helpful tools for maintaining a good mental health. If you are struggling, seek help from your physician or a professional and / or call your local hotline if necessary.

If you enjoyed this read, I recommend you look into more self-improvement ideas – check out these steps to take to awaken the badass inside you (a sassy spiritual awakening list). For more tips on embracing sobriety, I recommend reading my reasons to quit drinking, or to put it differently, the things you’ll be missing out on when you quit booze for good.

With love and compassion,

Common Unicorn

If you enjoyed this read, subscribe to my mailing list so I can keep you updated with the latest posts, regular freebies, amazing opportunities, exclusive discounts and more. Also, by joining the list, you receive right away for FREE the amazing 30 Day Self-Care Challenge and a Printable Calendar!

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.
4 Ways To Handle Intrusive People - A person typing a response on a laptop

How To Deal With Invasive And Nosy People

4 Ways To Handle Intrusive People | Setting Your Boundaries Today

Who are we talking about here? They are those who ask inappropriate and private questions like “why don’t you have kids” or “when will you get married”. Those who give unsolicited advice and opinions. The ones you’ll catch gossiping every chance they get. Whether it is a nosy relative, an overly curious colleague asking a way to personal question, or a friend crossing boundaries and invading your privacy, dealing with difficult situations and reacting properly to nosy people takes time and practice. Don’t worry though, because if you are looking for tips on dealing with nosy people with intrusive questions, you are in the right place

I had my fair share of those interactions, and I like to think I’ve found a way to deal with those situations. Our reactions and how we handle them also depend on what the relationship with that person means to us, and if we wish to keep it.

Depending on the nature of the relationship, here is how you can respond to invasive behaviour:

1. Understand they are using that behavior to hide their own insecurities

This first step is for you to understand it was probably never that much about you, as it was a tool for them to deflect, focus on others instead of their own insecurities. I am not making excuses for them and that doesn’t make that behaviour okay, it is simply what I use to have a less emotional reaction and to, frankly, care less. It actually works, and that’s the whole point here – how you react and feel when encountered with those situations and people.

2. With kindness make them realize their intrusive actions

This one seems almost controversial, as the social norm isn’t often to be direct. But some people may not even be aware of their intrusive behaviour, and if you gently communicate your discomfort, you can clearly state your boundaries. If this seems too direct for you, you can start by practicing indirect ways of letting them know they are being intrusive (through a joke, or by letting them know that was a strange thing to ask).

3. Practice generic answers to common questions

This one is for those mainstream, but very personal questions some people just feel entitled to ask you, like “why don’t you have kids yet”, etc. If those questions are asked by people you barely know simply practice a generic, non-revealing answer, or even use deflection (and change the subject if you find a way), and avoid the question entirely.

4. Let them know how you feel

I practice this reaction when the questions are too personal, but the person asking it is someone close. For example, when my mom asks some of the above questions, I let her know how that makes me feel. I do this when I wish to maintain the relationship with the person asking it, and I feel comfortable enough to tell her how that makes me feel. They usually get it, and it helps our relationship.

Handling Difficult Situations With Nosy People

There are a lot more ways to deal with these situations, and you probably have some of your own. If you’d like to find out more ways of dealing with these situations, I did some digging and here are my top picks:

Please let me know if you found some of these ways useful, and if you’d add something else to the list. Also, you can check out the 5 steps I took to awaken the badass within, empowerment is always a good thing.

Don’t forget to subscribe with your email to stay in touch and get the latest!

With love,

Common Unicorn

If you enjoyed this read, subscribe to my mailing list so I can keep you updated with the latest posts, regular freebies, amazing opportunities, exclusive discounts and more. Also, by joining the list, you receive right away for FREE the amazing 30 Day Self-Care Challenge and a Printable Calendar!

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.

How to Use Mindfulness to Cope with Anxiety and Cravings

How I apply what I learned from guided mindfulness meditations to relieve anxiety and deal with cravings

Mindfulness meditation is the process of training your mind to focus, redirect your thoughts, and bring yourself to the present. As my favourite mindfulness meditation guide Sam Harris said: The practice of mindfulness is extraordinarily simple to describe, but it is in no sense easy. If you know nothing about mindfulness meditation, I suggest his page / book / app as a place to start – that’s how I did it anyways. 🙂

It is Sunday around noon, I have just returned from yoga practice and I am feeling amazing. The sun is shining, I am sipping on a fresh cup of coffee, and I have the whole afternoon to enjoy my process of typing my thoughts out loud. It seems so easy to be happy. This, however, is not always the case, right? Sometimes something bad happens and I need time to process it, or out of nowhere I start feeling anxious, even panicky. What now? How did that same girl that was feeling absolutely perfect is now feeling like shit, and sometimes without any apparent reason? This shifts in mood and emotional stages, especially the ones without an apparent reason, I took really REALLY hard, and by doing that, I’d even prolong the negative state.

I am an anxious person and I experience (all) emotions very deeply, I feel so much. It can be hard sometimes to deal with it all at once. A couple of months ago I started practicing mindfulness meditation, and I’ve been pretty steady with it. I still feel negative emotions, I still have thoughts I sometimes don’t even understand, and I still get very anxious. What is different now is that I have a tool – mindfulness helps me become aware of the sensations that happen in those moments. It helps me dissect them and see them for what they really are. I am still a beginner in mindfulness meditation so the best I can give you is my own experience and how it helps.

Using mindfulness for Anxiety Relief

When I’m experiencing sudden anxiety, I become more mindful of how my body feels, where do I feel it the most. Part by part I observe my breath, the pulsating in my hands, sweaty feeling on my palms and feet. I become aware of my thoughts. How they come on go. I don’t try to influence them, nor do I identify myself with them – realizing I am not my thoughts, I just let them come and go, and just like that, they are no longer here. By doing that, I don’t avoid completely the anxiety, but I don’t amplify it and it passes much sooner.

How to Overcome Cravings with Mindfulness

When I get sudden cravings for a glass of wine (or really anything with alcohol), I observe how this craving manifests physically. Realizing that the physical part of the craving (for me) is almost non-existing and that the craving is simply a product of my thought (the thought that is conditioned by the false idea that alcohol will calm me, unwind me, help me cope), I then shift my focus to becoming more aware of my emotional state, my thoughts. Usually, it means something else was on my mind, something was bothering me, or I needed some unwinding or something like that – I don’t just dismiss that emotion, I try to understand it, and then I cope in a healthy way (a cup of tea, stretching, a bubble bath, talking to someone, etc.).

Every body and every mind is different – these are just my experiences with it. If they spoke to you in some way, there are loads of apps with amazing guided mindfulness meditations. All you need is to just start and be patient with yourself – approach it with nothing but self-compassion 🙂

If you enjoyed this read, subscribe to my mailing list so I can keep you updated with the latest posts, regular freebies, amazing opportunities, exclusive discounts and more. Also, by joining the list, you receive right away for FREE the amazing 30 Day Self-Care Challenge and a Printable Calendar!

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.
5 Steps To Wake Up The Badass Inside You - girl looking at flying balloons and being happy

5 Steps To Wake Up The Badass Inside You

5 steps I took to awaken the badass that was already in me

Being regularly undermined rarely doesn’t leave a mark on a person. It definitely did a number on me. Whether it was a family member telling me (from quite an early age) I needed a man to put me in place, because I was way too opinionated and assertive for a woman, or a guy at work daily trying to diminish my value by calling me ‘little girl’, instead of my name. After more than two decades of such regular undermining, I didn’t question them much – I believed them. I second-guessed my every single step. I would analyze my tone and what I was saying to not sound too assertive or commanding. I was in an emotionally abusive relationship for longer than I care to admit because I thought that was normal – somebody had to put me in my place, remember? It is a vicious cycle; the more you let them, the more they put you down. It takes a lot of strength to fight it, break the cycle, but it is possible. And once you beat them, beat all that undermining, underestimating of yourself, you are freaking invincible.

Everyone has their own path and their own demons, so there is no unique approach. I can only share my journey and hope it will inspire you to awaken that badass inside of you who doesn’t take other people’s shit and that marches to the beat of their own drum. So without further ado, here’s what I did:

I reversed my approach

Instead of always considering what others said to be the truth and second-guessing my every single thought, I started second-guessing what others said and started believing in myself.

I started saying no

I was so lousy with boundaries, in a way that others could really push me around. Once I changed that, some people left and took their toxicity with them.

I reassured myself daily

I haven’t converted overnight to this confident superwoman. As a matter of fact, I still haven’t. Everyday I remind myself of my own worth, remind myself of how strong I am and how I only lose my strength by second-guessing it.

I started taking it as a compliment

Once I changed the way I interpreted the undermining comments, it was much easier to just shake them off. Before, a comment like ‘you are way to opinionated and assertive’ or ‘you should focus on starting to build a family, not a career’ used to feel so belittling (which it still is, don’t get me wrong). I now see those comments as personal applauds for how provocatively successful I am.

I became more vocal about supporting others on their own quests for greatness

Not that before I wasn’t cheering for others, I just wasn’t that upfront or vocal about it (and I am sorry for that). Loudly cheering and supporting others really is an awesome feeling, an amazing deed, and a catalyst for your own greatness.


And there you have it. Every little step altogether resulted in a great new energy of, to put it bluntly, being a BADASS. And badasses do amazing stuff.

If you enjoyed this read, check out 10 Things You Can Do To Improve Your Mental Well-being.

Related topic:

How To Deal With Invasive and Nosy People

If you enjoyed this read, subscribe to my mailing list so I can keep you updated with the latest posts, regular freebies, amazing opportunities, exclusive discounts and more. Also, by joining the list, you receive right away for FREE the amazing 30 Day Self-Care Challenge and a Printable Calendar!

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.
Things You Are Missing Out On When You Stop Drinking - A woman peacefully enjoying her tea

5 Things You Are Missing Out On When You Stop Drinking

What To Expect When Quitting Alcohol For Good

As a self-proclaimed and newly formed advocate for sobriety, I’ve decided to make a list of the things I’ve noticed that I have missed out on ever since I ended my long-term and toxic relationship with alcohol (pun intended).

If you’re considering sobriety or you are in the early stages and need some additional tools to help you out, check out my post about 4 apps you can use to help you out in early sobriety.

If you ever wondered what would happen and what would you potentially be missing out on if you stopped drinking booze for good, this article is for you. So let’s dive right into it – here are the things I’ve been missing out on (but didn’t really miss) ever since I went alcohol-free:

Hangovers and hangxiety

As someone who struggles with anxiety and who used to have severe pain attacks, hangover anxiety was pretty awful. As much as I don’t miss the physical distress of having a hangover (headaches, nausea, dizziness, name it), the emotional one was even worse sometimes.

Feelings of embarrassment and shame the day after

I would remember some dumb stuff I’d said the night before and would just feel so embarrassed the day after. It was the little things – like I’d remember I really opened up to someone I barely knew or I’d be way to honest about my opinions with someone I didn’t care for sharing them.

Hanging out with people whose company you don’t actually enjoy

Okay, this one was a hard one to admit. I mean, that you’d hung out in bars with people whose company you didn’t even enjoy that much just for the couple of beers you’d drink together isn’t something you’d like to learn about yourself. But, nevertheless, it is the truth – and if you consider yourself a moderate drinker or you used to be one, there’s a good chance you have at least once experienced this (and that is okay – once we accept that part of us, we learn to avoid that behaviour and be better versions of ourselves).

Feeling bloated and swollen

I don’t know how common this one is, but it was a relief to get rid of it.

Restless sleep

Sure, after a couple of drinks I’d fall asleep (pass out) in a matter of seconds, but I usually wouldn’t sleep well for the rest of the night and would wake up tired, as if I slept half less than I actually did.


I could name some more, but these are the ones that first come to mind when I hear the words ‘you’re missing out’ or ‘then what do you do for fun if you don’t drink’. When I drank, I feared I would be missing out on the fun if I quit, but now I see that is not even close to the truth. Getting rid of the booze came down to just throwing out the bad stuff – and honestly it was the best decision I ever made.

What are the things you fear you’d be missing out on? Let me know in the comments – I’d love to address them in a future post. You’d be giving me great insight and I’d love to share my perspective. If you’re a fellow sobriety enthusiast or you’re sober curious (all of which are great shifts toward a better life), what are the things you’d add to my list? Let me know as well. I’d love to chat!

If you like this read, look into the 3 Things I Learned About Myself After Quitting Alcohol.

Until next time,

Common Unicorn

If you enjoyed this read, subscribe to my mailing list so I can keep you updated with the latest posts, regular freebies, amazing opportunities, exclusive discounts and more. Also, by joining the list, you receive right away for FREE the amazing 30 Day Self-Care Challenge and a Printable Calendar!

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.
Things I learned about myself after quitting drinking - a girl with a hopeful look on her face

3 Things I Learned About Myself After Quitting Alcohol

The Benefits of Giving Up Alcohol For Good

For some time I was playing with the idea of quitting drinking alcohol in my head, but the reasons not to were usually stronger (it seemed fun?!, a social thing, a celebratory thing, etc.). I did not like how booze made me feel neither while drinking (lazy, sleepy) nor after the fact (hangover anxiety, which was absolutely horrifying every time). Thinking about it now, I just don’t understand how I didn’t come to realise it sooner that it was doing me absolutely NO good and that I actually did not like it. But, when we normalise, even romanticise alcohol we usually do not see it for what it is.

Something changed for me at the beginning of 2021 (still not sure how or what exactly, but I am glad it did) and I decided to quit drinking for a while – you could say I was sober curious. After making that decision I drank twice more in January (which is nothing compared to my usual 2-3, okay 4 times a week) and both times even while still drinking I thought to myself what the ?! and why did I ever think this was enjoyable. Not to mention that the cripling hangover anxiety, or hangxiety, the day after is so not worth it. There was really no reason left for me to have that glass of wine now and then because I didn’t even want it anymore – that is when I made the radical choice not to drink anymore at all, and when the wonderful benefits of that decision came marching in my life.

During the month of sober curiosity and then a couple of months of sobriety, I can tell you at least 3 amazing things I’ve come to truly learn and appreciate about myself since going alcohol-free:

Noticing alcohol was only numbing me

If I was having fun drinking, it was because of the company and/or the activity and not the booze. Otherwise I was just numbing whatever needed to be numbed. Not wanting to drink anymore made me realise this and recognise it – now I attend activities and gatherings I want to, that are fun and exciting, and avoid the ones that are not (and only seemed like fun because of all the alcohol that numbed the truth).

Discovering I am a morning person

This may sound foolish, but for so long I thought I was not a morning person and hated waking up early, I was always tired and grumpy. Not drinking alcohol improved my sleep immensely. Being fresh and rested in the morning had an amazing effect on me – I developed an elaborate morning routine I am actually excited about and enjoy it. Now I can’t wait to wake up early – even on the weekends I am up before 8am, sipping my fresh cup of coffee by the window and just enjoying life.

Finding out my hidden passion for journaling and writing

This one is more of a rediscovery. Quitting alcohol has an amazing effect on ones introspection. I started to be more mindful and self-observing, allowing myself to reconsider my belief system, as well as my likes and dislikes. There was this surge of emotional revelations that needed an outlet and I somehow remembered myself as a kid – I LOVED to write. Journal, poems, short stories, you name it. I was always scribing something. And there you have it – the need to let all of these emotions out and my love for writing together created this blog.


I could name a dozen and more amazing things that happen when you decide your body and mind don’t deserve and don’t need to be abused by alcohol. But for now I will leave you with these 3, as they are the strongest and most captivating lessons I have experienced on this journey that has merely just began.

Related topic:

5 Things You Are Missing Out On When You Stop Drinking

If you’re considering sobriety or you are in the early stages and need some additional tools to help you out, check out my post about 4 apps you can use to help you out in early sobriety.

If you enjoyed this read, subscribe to my mailing list so I can keep you updated with the latest posts, regular freebies, amazing opportunities, exclusive discounts and more. Also, by joining the list, you receive right away for FREE the amazing 30 Day Self-Care Challenge and a Printable Calendar!

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.