Everyone from time to time experiences stress. Whether it’s something temporary – such as worrying about a home repair or a deadline at work, or longer lasting such as poor health or financial troubles – stress effects our bodies on many levels. Symptoms of stress can range from fatigue and tension headaches, to depression.
There are both healthy and unhealthy ways to manage your stress. When faced with stress, many of us revert to unhealthy patterns or coping mechanisms to ‘weather the storm’. The issue is that many of these patterns end up increasing our stress even more. for example, when we eat junk food to curb our stress, the sugar from it might keep us awake at night, or move us into more long-term health issues. We have put together some tips on how to reduce your stressors and manage your life positively!
Identify the Source(s) of Your Stress – Begin by trying to understand where your biggest sources of stress come from. There are some stressors we can avoid and others that are a natural part of life. Once you can understand where your stressors are, brain map ideas that can help you curb if not eliminate the stress all together. There are a lot of ways to reduce your stress, but that doesn’t mean that it’s an easy task. Take time to figure out how best to support you + your stress. Try not to avoid, deny, or withdraw from the problem, because it will continue to exist and affect you.
Access Social Support - Talk to someone you trust, whether it be a friend, spouse, family member, or counselor. Social support has been found to reduce stress and improve mental and physical well-being. Sometimes delegating things to people around you can be a huge way to reduce your individual stress.
Balance Your Time - Time management skills can help you find balance, order, and control in your life - all of which reduce stress. Figuring out how to manage your days is a wonderful stress reducer. That might mean taking some unnecessary things off of your plate, or managing your time more effectively by having a daily planner. Procrastination increases stress, so work to organize your days efficiently.
Eat Well – Processed foods that are loaded with preservatives and
sugar don’t help your body or mind maintain balance, instead they can take us through highs and lows throughout the day. Stock your fridge with nutrient
dense, fresh foods and meal prep. Think of food as your fuel! Skipping meals can leave your tank empty, try and create a well rounded food intake, preferably at the same time of day, every day.
Pro-Tip: Keep a fruit or veggie bowl out on your counter to encourage small healthy snacking! We love carrots, snap peas and grapes.
Avoid Caffeine & Energy Drinks - Stimulants keep the body from relaxing and can overtax your body. Drink plenty of water and monitor your caffeine intake. Try increasing your water intake and allow your body to detox and find it’s natural rhythm.
Get Active - Exercise reduces stress and improves health and well-being. Do something that you enjoy doing like walking, jogging, swimming, biking, yoga, or dancing and you will reap the stress-reducing benefits immediately. Work towards a minimum of 30 minutes of physical exercise a day.
Learn + Practice Relaxation Techniques - Take the time to slow down and relax. Relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, visualization, and yoga reduce stress and improve health.
Get Enough Sleep - Sleep helps the body to repair itself and reduces stress. A lack of sleep is one of the biggest problems we face when it comes to increased stress– but luckily there are many things you can do to set yourself into a positive sleep routine. From supportive smart phone controls and apps (nighttime mode, screen time etc.) to committing to a bedtime, take the necessary steps to get yourself those much needed Z’s!
Most of us know the keys to managing our stress in a positive way, but reminders are important. Take the time this week to nurture yourself and manage your stress effectively. Remember you are the creator of your life, choose where you exert your energy wisely, and you will reap the rewards physically and mentally!