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

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4 Types Of Apps You Can Use To Support Your Sober Journey - phone and notebooks

4 Amazing Apps That Can Help You In Early Sobriety

4 Types Of Apps You Can Use To Support Your Sober Journey

The number of available mobile apps present today is huge. Depending on how we use them, they can be just a distraction or they can actually be a helpful sober tool. If you’re just starting out on your sober journey and you are looking for some addiction recovery tips, or you’re a sober curious person (or maybe you’re still a drinker, but you’re researching and considering sobriety), this post is for you! Learning how to navigate an alcohol-free lifestyle in a booze-driven society can be challenging, to say the least.

There is a lot of things I want to say about sobriety, like what you’re going to be missing out on, or how it can fundamentally change your life – and there are already a couple of posts I wrote on these topics, so I definitely recommend you take a look. Here I want to talk about how you can use technology (precisely, apps on your phone) to help me you out on your quest to live a more mindful and intentional life. These are just my own views and opinions and this is not a paid ad, I just genuinely find these apps very helpful.

Top Apps To Boost Your Recovery:

Guided meditation apps

Where to even start with all the benefits of practicing mindfulness meditation! It is a great tool to help you stay grounded and be more present. To stop worrying about the future (or to learn how to worry less), or dreading over the past. It is a powerful way to deal with cravings and anxiety. And thanks to technology, there is a great deal of guided meditation apps on your phone for you to choose from. I personally tried a couple of them, and all of them got the job done.

What is a good meditation app?

Waking up – By far my absolute favourite app for guided meditations. It is created by Sam Harris, and it offers you a 28 day introduction into meditations, where the idea is for you to learn the basics of meditating and mindfulness. After that, you can continue with the apps daily meditations (which are updated daily 🙂 ). Beside that, the app offers a theory section, where you can learn more about the theory and general ideas of the meditation practice.

Calm – My second favourite app, and probably the most famous one is Calm. Beside being a meditation app, Calm also offers sleep stories (which I adore and listen to almost every night), breathing exercises, music, and more. You can also enter your mood each day and that way track your moods. You can even choose meditations that focus on certain aspects of life – for example, you can choose a series of meditations focusing on anxiety, performance, relationships, etc. It really is a multipurpose app.

Journaling apps

In those early stages you can sometimes lose perspective, feel down, and question your decision. All of these are normal, but remind yourself of why you made your decision. Remind yourself of all the things that bring you joy, and what you are grateful for. I keep a gratitude journal where I write in every morning 3 things I am grateful for. And yes, there is an app for that as well 🙂 There’s a bunch of them also, and you can find the one that best suits your needs.

The best journaling app?

Since I have only tried one journaling app, I can tell you about that one, and that’s pretty much it. But not to leave you hanging, here is a great list of journaling apps you might want to try out – go give it a look. As for me, I stuck with the one I tried first, the Five Minute Journal app, it is super easy to use, and takes very little time.

Fitness apps

I started my sober journey when the corona lockdown was active, so physical activity was a bit challenged. I first used a fitness app with a variety of workouts, and later on I switched to a yoga app, and I fell in love with it. Whichever it is, choose the one you’ll enjoy the most. This way, workout can become your new and healthy way of unwinding and relaxing. Evening glass of wine can become a vinyasa flow, or a cardio workout – your body will be grateful for this change, and you’ll love your decision in the morning!

What is the best fitness and exercise app?

There are so many different workout apps today, that I am positive you will find the one that fits almost all of your needs. I have tried so many fitness apps I stopped counting, but two always come to mind when I think of functionality and simplicity:

Down Dog – to be fair, I am a yoga enthusiast so I am definitely bias here, but this app is just amazing, and my top pick for a yoga app. It offers numerous ways to modify and customize your yoga practice so it can fit your needs almost perfectly. A bonus is that beside the voice that guides your practice, the app also has built in music playing in the background – and the tone follows your flow which is just brilliant.

FitOn – if yoga is not your thing, that is perfectly fine, because (for me) FitOn is the next best thing. It offers a bunch of filmed workouts by talented trainers that will push you further, and the best thing – the workout part of the app is completely free! They offer unlimited free access to the various types workouts from celebrity trainers.

Social media if used wisely

The “if used wisely” part cannot be stressed enough! Before, I had all of your usual social media apps, and it was not doing me a favour. I followed people that gave me bad body image, made me feel less, etc. I completely turned my social media apps around, started following only content that inspired me and made me feel good. To be precise, if you’re in early sobriety, and especially if you’re like me and you don’t really know a lot of (or none) sober people, the online sober community, in my experience, on both Instagram and Twitter are absolutely amazing. Their messages, comfort they offer, even their cheering on, is just astonishing. I honestly made friends with people I’ve never even met in person and I can say I care for them a lot. Self-promo ALERT – If you’re struggling where to start – here are my accounts, I am happy to connect with you and offer you support on your alcohol free journey!


Early sobriety can be challenging. Always remember that addiction recovery is not linear, and we all have different paths. The most important thing to remember is to be kind to yourself. Healing takes time, and if you are considering an alcohol free lifestyle, you are already doing better than you were before.

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With love,

Common Unicorn

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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 🙂

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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

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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!

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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!

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