Stress, whether physical, mental or emotional in nature, can have a negative impact on your health. Ongoing stress can weaken your immune system, increase the likelihood of illness, and slow the healing process. Researchers believe that stress and anxiety contribute to as much as 80% of all major illnesses. Eating a well-balanced diet, sleeping restfully, getting regular cardiovascular exercise, incorporating nutritional supplements, as well as introducing relaxation practices such as meditation, yoga, and deep breathing into your daily life, can help buffer the effects of negative stress on your body.
Here are 10 tips for reducing your stress level.
1. Get moving. Physical activity can help reduce and prevent the effects of stress. Make time for at least 30 minutes of exercise, three times per week. (More is better!) If you are limited to where you can go, there are tons of videos on YouTube to help you move while you are staying put.
2. Eat well. Keeping your body nourished with nutritious foods can help you better cope with stress, so watch what you eat. Start with a good breakfast and eat well-balanced, nutrient-dense foods the rest of the day. Fruits, vegetables and nuts are great snacks, chock-full of vitamins, minerals and healthy fats that help nourish the nervous system. Protein-rich foods like fish, poultry, eggs and beans will also give you sustained energy throughout your day. If you are limited to how many times you can go to the grocery store, or the selection is not what you are used to, try and choose foods that will last longer and give the best nutrition for your buck. Canned or dried beans and legumes, frozen fruit and vegetables, brown rice and quinoa can last a long time and are healthy food options.
3. Reduce caffeine and sugar. They may provide a temporary energy boost, but you’ll soon come crashing down and feel more tired than before. When you need a lift, try natural energy boosters such as an apple with nut butter, carrots with hummus, or a protein smoothie instead.
4. Find a furry friend. Studies have shown that the simple act of petting a cat or dog can reduce blood pressure, and animals have a natural knack for showing us how to relax and enjoy ourselves. Spend some quality time with your four-legged friends and you’ll be reminded of the really important things in life.
5. Sleep. Adequate sleep is vital to your well-being and helps you cope with stress. Studies have shown that lack of sleep increases your stress because it may cause you to think irrationally. Watch for a blog about sleep this week!
6. Avoid alcohol, cigarettes, and drugs. Self-medicating with alcohol or drugs may seem like an easy escape from stress, but the relief is only temporary. Don’t avoid or mask the issue at hand; deal with problems head-on and with a clear mind. Self-medicating can also negatively impact your immune system, which is the last thing you want right now.
7. Don’t forget to breathe. Deep breathing is a great way to reduce stress, help yourself relax, and increase your energy level. It’s easy to do and can be done in any quiet spot. Here’s how to do it. Begin by sitting comfortably. Take a deep breath through your nose, counting from 1 to 4 as you breathe in. Exhale through your mouth as your count down from 4 to 1. Repeat 20 times.
8. Journal. Many people find that writing down their problems or their stressors can help them develop a plan of action to deal with them. Writing can also help you feel less burdened.
9. Connect: FaceTime, Zoom, Viber and Houseparty are all video sharing apps that allow you to connect with family and friends in a time where you need them the most. Set up a weekly time, to sit down and catch up with everyone.
10. Supplement. Along with a good quality multivitamin and omega-3 supplement, there are many additional nutrients can help strengthen your body and support your nervous system. You could try Pathway Relaxation Support or Pathway Adrenal Support or even our new Pathway Rhodiloa Rosea , an adaptogenic herb that helps your body manage stress.
Photo from here, with thanks.