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:


If you are struggling with negative self talk and wonder how to change it, this post can be your starting point for understanding how to deal with and respond to those negative inner thoughts and work towards finding inner peace.

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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