Stress is something that comes into everyone’s lives. There might be times of the year or in your life when tensions grow high. These are the times to take extra care with your wellbeing. Luckily there are ways to manage your stress so that you can get through tough times.
Stress is something that can affect not only your mind but your body too. Your health is a priority, and so stress management is an essential part of life for us all. Everyone should get in touch with their stresses and learn how to manage them.
Different types of stress
Let's take a moment to recognize the two main types of stress that impact our lives.
Acute stress is a sudden fight or flight situation that spikes your cortisol and metabolism. Examples include a car accident or a confrontational situation.
Chronic stress is continuous stress and worries over things like money, jobs, and families. While these often get pushed off and not dealt with, this type of stress can have a significant effect on your health and wellbeing.
According to The American Institute of Stress, at least 77% of individuals regularly feel physical symptoms caused by stress. Given this statistic, it's clear most adults' stress is affecting their bodies.
The trick to staying healthy and feeling great is managing the stress that affects you. These stresses could come from your job, relationships, poor nutrition, or even sleep deprivation.
Here are some simple things to focus on to manage your stress.
1. Get adequate sleep
While this might seem like a no brainer, many of us, especially those working long hours, don't make enough time for a decent night's sleep.
Getting the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep every night can reduce the tension you feel in your everyday life. Also, when you consistently miss out on adequate sleep, your risk of heart disease, weight gain, and depression increases.
TIP: Try creating a schedule with a set bedtime that you can stick to and feel refreshed when you wake up to take on the day.
2. Eat a balanced diet
When we feel stress, many of us turn to trigger foods such as sweets and comfort foods to feel better. But eating these foods won’t lessen your stress. Quite the opposite, they’ll leave you feeling sluggish and low energy.
Try instead to focus on a whole and balanced diet. Being well-fed with nutritious foods will not only help your body feel good but your mind as well.
Foods that have vitamin C, complex carbohydrates, magnesium, and omega-3 fatty acids are the best for stress reduction. These nutrients work to lower your cortisol (aka stress hormone) levels and your blood pressure. Making sure that you fuel your body correctly will help reduce your overall stress.
TIP: Make sure you’re eating enough vegetables and fruits. Try to eat balanced meals throughout the day. Foods like sweet potatoes, tomatoes, mangoes, strawberries, green and red peppers are great options because they’re high in vitamin C.
3. Get active
Activity is one of the best ways to reduce and manage your stress. Nothing helps ease everyday tension like the rush of endorphins that a workout can give you. Exercise is a proven mood elevator that will also benefit your physical health. Being active can help with better sleep, lower blood pressure, and a clearer mind.
TIP: Try finding an activity you enjoy. It doesn’t have to be an hour-long HIIT workout. A long walk, an exercise class, or even yoga are great ways to reduce stress.
4. Find your outlet
What goes along with exercise is finding an outlet for your stress. It could be something active, or something on the more creative side. A pastime or activity that is a distracting and fun task for you can give you the outlet you need to release your stress while enjoying yourself.
You may find creating art or music an expressive way to manage your stress. Or you might discover you prefer more physical activities like boxing or building something.
TIP: Try some new hobbies to find what relaxes you.
5. Write things down
While it may seem like a small task, writing down the things that stress you out can give you more space for your thoughts. Often the best way to make sense of something is jotting it down for yourself. It can also be beneficial to write down lists or notes to plan out things that might be stressing you out.
TIP: The next time you have a very stressful and packed day, try writing out a list of all the things that are weighing you down and focus on one at a time. Doing so can help organize your thoughts and make tasks more manageable.
Ready to Manage Your Stress?
These five simple yet crucial tips can help you manage the stress in your life. Try including these in your daily routine and see how they affect you. You might find that one of these areas can transform your life and the stress you experience.
What do you do to manage stress? Let me know in the comments below. I’m always looking for new ideas.