Is stress stressing you out? Prolonged stress is not just bad for your mental health, but your physical health, too. It can alter your hormones, mess with your appetite, upset your stomach, contribute to mental health disorders and much more.
Managing stress is a crucial component of lifestyle medicine and can also help you manage your weight. Many people report that undergoing constant, chronic stress leads them to overeat, avoid physical activity and feel fatigued throughout the day.
Could you use some stress relievers to help you lighten the load? Consider these tips for stress prevention and management.
1 – Write a List of What You Need to Handle
Having a mental list of all the things you need to take care of can leave things feeling chaotic and unorganized. Instead, write them down on a notepad, an agenda or a sticky note. Try to work your way down the list so that you feel on top of things.
2 – Move More
Physical activity pumps up the production of your brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters called endorphins. It also decreases your overall levels of tension, elevates and stabilizes your mood, improves sleep, boosts self-esteem and reduces fatigue.
3 – Add Relaxation to Your Schedule
Treat time for relaxation like you would a doctor’s appointment or a work meeting. Relaxation is vital to both your physical and mental health and can reduce tension caused by stress and burnout. Use this time to take a bath, read a book, work on a hobby, take a nap, have a movie night or spend quality time with a loved one.
4 – Share with Someone
Don’t bottle up your stress and let it slowly eat away at you. Talk to your family and friends about your stressors and see if they can help you work through them. At the very least, opening up can be a good mental release and help you process what is happening. If you need extra support, don’t be afraid to talk to a mental health professional.
5 – Prioritize Sleep
A regular sleep routine that allows for 7-9 hours of sleep each night can calm and restore the body, improve concentration, regulate mood, sharpen judgment and decision-making, and much more. You will be better able to cope with life’s various stressors if you are well-rested.
6 – Try Relaxation Exercises
These can be deep-breathing exercises that open up your diaphragm or even meditative yoga to help your body unwind. You can also try progressive muscle relaxation, or “deep muscle” relaxation, in which you progressively tense and relax each muscle group in your body.
7 – Take Time to Unplug
Too much time spent on your digital devices (laptop, phone, TV, tablet, etc.) can leave you feeling drained and over-stimulated. It can also increase your sedentary time and tighten muscles in your neck, back and arms. Try to establish a designated time frame each day where you put aside your digital devices (yes, that includes anything related to work!) in favor of something more relaxing and better for your mind and body.
For more tips on managing stress and feeling your best, click here.