Stress is a necessary emotion; it helps our body respond to danger and provides subconscious motivation to push through challenges. Yet when our bodies experience stress for a longer period of time than intended, it can start to take its toll. Stress can cause wear and tear on our bodies after time, leading to things like immune system weakness, hair loss, exhaustion, and more. Unfortunately, in this day and age our stress levels can remain high for long periods of time pretty regularly. So here are five tips you can utilize to manage and reduce your stress levels.
Surprising? Probably not. Exercise has long been proven to reduce stress levels. Think of your activity as a way for your body to release the worries you carry.
It doesn’t have to be intense — even a 10 minute walk can help. If you struggle to remember to move around during the day, you can set an hourly alarm that reminds you to get up, take a walk to the break room, and grab a glass of water.
Even just stretching your legs quickly like this every hour will contribute to improved stress levels, and is much better than staying stationary for hours on end. Remember, exercise shouldn’t be a chore, but a way to help your body process your stress.
Your diet is intrinsically linked to stress levels. We’ve probably all participated in ‘stress eating’ every now and again. When we’re stressed, the body releases hormones that make you crave unhealthy foods in an effort to activate the pleasure centers in the brain. Saturated fats and processed sugars may add temporary relief, but the stress will return, and so too will the cravings. Instead, try eating foods that contain healthy fats, such as avocados, bananas or fish. These will improve your stress levels while also reducing your blood pressure. Tea is another calming element to add to your diet. Peppermint, chamomile, or lavender teas are a good place to start. If you’re not a fan of tea, a small squeeze of honey can sweeten it up.
Chaos leads to stress. You need to combat a lack of structure by taking control of the situation and getting organized. There are many methods you can try to get your act together.
A planner is a great thing to incorporate into your daily routine, but can be a little overwhelming at first. Try starting your day with a small to do list of 10 tasks. Work on that throughout the day, and if you get to the end, add five more items. If you’re worn out after a day of errands and don’t complete the list, that’s fine too. Move the tasks over to the next day. It’s okay to rest.
Studies have shown that regular interaction with family and friends releases stress. While COVID-19 has of course made this difficult, we’re lucky to live with the technology we have. A phone call or video chat with a loved one could be exactly what you need. Having someone to talk to about your pressures is an excellent way to relieve your stress. We’re all in this together, so we may as well help each other out!
Self care is different for everyone. The point is to recharge however you need to — whether that’s with a massage, sitting in a hot tub, a day of shopping, or even throwing on some comfy clothes and binge watching your favourite TV show. Use your imagination! It’s important to take time for yourself every now and again so you can be the best possible you.
Now you’ve got some idea of how to lower your stress levels, you can take some time out and start applying them right away. You’ll feel less stressed and ready to tackle the world again in no time!
Maddy has worked in the health and fitness industry for 5 years. She has a bachelors in Exercise Science and has recently received her Masters in Exercise Physiology. She has worked with a wide demographic of clients as a Personal Trainer and loves helping people reach their goals and continue to grow. She is an outdoor enthusiast and dedicates her workouts to rock climbing, hiking and whatever new experiences may come her way.
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