What you eat can play a big part in decreasing or increasing your stress levels. When we are stressed we tend to make poor food choices often opting for the fast food, high fat, high sugar takeaway. These foods leave you feeling sluggish and tired. Get your diet and meal planning under control and that’s one less stress to worry about.
Water is often forgotten about, but keeping hydrated keeps us alert and clear headed. Try to drink water regularly to avoid symptoms like tiredness, headaches, poor concentration, blocked plumbing and irritability which are often caused by low water intake. Six to eight glasses of water a day is the recommended intake. Squeeze a little lemon or orange juice into the water and it will help your body absorb it better and although we love our cold fridge water, room temperature water will hydrate you much quicker.
Sleep is the time our bodies and minds need to rest, recharge and allow alot of other body process to ‘do their thing’. If you are stressed though, you either have trouble getting to sleep or you go to sleep quickly but wake frequently and often your brain decides to fire up with jumbled thoughts and won’t settle. Remember sleep deprivation was once used as a form of torture so making sure you get enough sleep is vitally important to coping with stress. A 10-20 minute nap during the day can also be a terrific boost for your overworked brain and should leave you feeling revitalised and refreshed.
Write a list of your stressors and then a separate list of what you can and can’t control regarding each of those stressors. Literally scrunch up and throw away the list of things you can’t control because they are totally wasting up time and taking space up in your head. Then write each thing you can have some control over on separate pieces of paper and store them in a worry box. Each day take out your worry box and one at a time look at each piece of paper and ask yourself what you can do today to improve/control/work on regarding that stressor today. Once its sorted throw it away. If it’s not sorted, then put it back in the worry box to work on another day. This is a simple but very effective way of taking the stressors out of your head, giving them the attention they want on paper but keeping control of them by storing them in your worry box to work on as you can.
However while you’re doing that, if you find you’re not sleeping well, you’re not eating well and your stressors are making you feel like your head is going to explode then you most definitely need to be doing some regular exercise. When you exercise your body releases ‘feel good’ hormones and in turn this reduces your anxiety and stress levels. There are many options of exercise available these days. Don’t just rely on one exercise type to be your key to destressing. Having a few options of activities you like to do, may benefit you especially if you have different levels of stress. For instance, you may really enjoy destressing at a Fighting Fit session or hard Personal Training session when you’re stress is accompanied by frustration or you today’s stress may be better relieved by a solo run, swim or walk on the beach if you need some time to yourself.
Don’t underestimate the benefits of regular exercise. No matter how stressed you feel, being active will reduce your stress levels to a more manageable level quickly.
Don’t forget to take time to consciously Breathe in and Breathe out.