5 Ways to Reduce Stress for Better Quality of Life
Feel like you have so much to do and not enough time to do it? That is me practically everyday. Between work, maintaining the house, meal-prepping, working out and trying to make time for a little fun, life can be hard! For some reason it is hard to let go of the expectation that if I haven't completed everything on my to-do list, I've failed.
While I can't always control the stress put on me at work, I can control the way I react to it. Also, I can try to reduce stress that is self-imposed. It isn't always easy but I can try. Intuitively, we all know stress is bad for our health. But what are the real effects on your body?
According to the Mayo Clinic,stress can lead to stomach problems, insomnia or disrupted sleep, high blood pressure, weight gain, heart disease and diabetes. That's some pretty serious stuff! In fact, if you are stressed, your gut health is affected. Turns out our brains send signals to the gut when we are stressed that can result in diarrhea, feeling nauseous and having abdominal pain.
The only way to avoid the negative effects of stress, is to practice positive actions in our daily routine. Below are 5 actions that you can take to reduce stress. If you want to start any of the below, take it slow. When making a change in our life, it is critical that we start one day at a time. That is the only way lasting change can occur.
I recommend taking one of the below and trying to do it three days a week for two weeks. Once you are used to the change in your routine, add a fourth day. Then find a second activity to add to your routine. Don't be afraid to make the activity yours! Find what really makes you feel good and do it. That is the best way to reduce stress!
I know, I know, you've heard it all before. Exercise can reduce stress but you have limited time to squeeze in a workout, making you more stressed! But here is the beautiful thing about exercise and stress reduction - it doesn't have to be an intense workout at the gym!
Nope - if you can walk just 30 minutes a day or do 30 minutes of a YouTube exercise class at home or jog in place for 30 minutes while you watch your favorite TV or Netflix show, you will get the benefits of stress reduction. A lot of people take a walk during lunchtime, which I know can be hard to do during a busy work day. It simply takes practicing the change and finding what works for you. The health benefits are worth it.
#2: STOP PUTTING PRESSURE ON YOURSELF
This is a hard one for me. I constantly feel like I have to get it all done. I get so overwhelmed that my mood changes and I start to get cranky. When I feel this way, I stop what I am doing and take 3 deep breaths. I breath in slowly for a 6 count, pause for a 3 count, and then breath out slowly for an 8 count. It really helps me calm down. The great part about slowing down your breath is it can be done anywhere. Even in the middle of a meeting!
Then I say to myself: Who cares if I don't get all the laundry done? Who cares if the house isn't perfectly clean? Who cares if I haven't meal prepped for the entire week - I can always put together something quick from the freezer. By recognizing that I do not have to get it all done takes a lot of pressure off of me.
#3: SET ASIDE TIME FOR SELF-CARE
What makes you feel good and comforted? That is the activity you need to do regularly to take care of yourself. It may be reading, cooking, baking, yoga, meditating, taking a bike ride, going for a walk, or simply reaching out to friends and family to see how they are doing. The key is that whatever activity you really like to do - make sure to do it regularly.
#4: EAT A HEALTHY DIET
A healthy diet can help manage stress. According to Everyday Health, there are certain foods that can help increase levels of hormones that naturally reduce stress. Dark chocolate is one such food. But make sure you don't overindulge because too much of anything is never a good thing! Dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants which helps reduce stress hormones in the body. Check out the infographic below for more healthy foods that help fight stress.
#5: INCORPORATE HERBS INTO YOUR ROUTINE
There are certain herbs that can help you de-stress. One of the best well-known is Chamomile. Often found in tea, Chamomile is rich in calcium and magnesium which is useful in calming nerves and promoting sleep. (Source: Delicious Living Magazine). A couple of other herbs to try are Kava, Lemon Balm and Passionflower. You can find them in supplements, as powders or liquids, that can be added to smoothies or drinks.
Above all, if you are stressed, you need to find a way to reduce it. If you try one of the above tips, let me know how it worked for you. If you have another way to reduce stress, leave a comment below. I love hearing your tips & tricks to combat stress.
If you are suffering from physical ailments of stress or feel like you need help creating a routine to combat stress, working with a Certified Holistic Nutritionist like myself may help.
Book your call directly here. It’s very simple. No jumping through hoops and NO PRESSURE. If we determine it’s not a fit, we’ll go our separate ways for now. If it is a fit, we can take the next step and get you started on the path to healing your gut.
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