Stress makes its way into all of our lives and sometimes it can even have positive effects. However when our stress is running rampant and is constant it can cause havoc to our health. The effects of stress can manifest both mentally and physically. It can appear as a headache, anxiety, exhaustion, brain fog, skin conditions, muscle tension, upset stomach, and many others. There are simple tips that we can incorporate into our day to day routine that help to mitigate the cumulative effects of stress and help us to lead a balanced and grounded life.
Here are a couple tips you can add into your day to keep stress at bay so that you can continue to show up each day as your best self.
Breathwork & meditation – Can be used in the moment of an acute stress response to help elicit the body’s relaxation response and even reduce blood pressure. Taking some deep breaths in a stressful situation will keep us grounded. This is helpful to practice regularly so that you can train yourself to consciously use a tool in more difficult situations.
Scheduling downtime – A busy jammed packed schedule can be overwhelming, lead to burn out, and increase stress! It is important to plan out scheduled downtime to maintain sustainability in a busy schedule. Ways to do this include marking it off on your calendar and sticking to it. Remind yourself it’s important to put yourself first so you can continue to put your best self forward for others.
Restorative exercise – walking, biking, swimming, yoga, and group classes will move your body and release endorphins that boost mood. In addition, regular exercise will help you maintain a good sleep schedule.
Eating well – maintain a diet well rounded in nutrients and whole foods. Make meal time a point of the day to focus on being present and enjoying the food you’re eating. Skipping meals, scarfing down food on the run, and relying on processed “convenient” options can exacerbate stress and lead to heachaches, upset stomach, and other negative effects. Also be mindful of overeating when stressed, try to substitute eating with another activity such as walking, catching up with a loved one, or spending time with a pet. Be conscious about excessive caffeine and alcohol consumption, they may feel helpful in the moment and can lead to increased stress down stream.
Get enough sleep – Aim for 8 hours a night to be fully rested. Our body recovers when we are asleep! A consistent sleep routine and getting enough each night has positive effects on mood, judgement, decision-making, and helps you cope with stress in the moment.
Make time for a hobby – Preferably a hobby that gets you away from screens and into your flow state. Think about exploring your creative side, making art, creating music, visiting a bookstore, or revisiting some of your favorite childhood pastimes.
Gratitude journal – Writing down three things a day that you’re grateful for will shift your perspective and keep you looking out for things that are going well. Suddenly the world will be a little brighter.
Oftentimes when we feel the effects of stress we want to zone out and binge watch TV, scroll on social media, or surf the web. These are counter productive to stress management and we should aim to substitute them with some of the techniques above.
Weaving tools into our lives consistently are a great defensive mechanism for stress and will help you to move through your day more calmly, consciously, and with a little more energy!