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Is the stress getting to be too much? Do you find yourself feeling easily irritated, having memory issues or suffering from a constant upset stomach? Our chronic stressors, whether they be project deadlines or paying bills, aren't going to suddenly go away. But luckily, there are 7 easy things you can start doing today that will work to decrease stress, naturally.
What Stress Does To Your Body
Do you ever notice yourself starting to sweat when you're about to give a presentation, or do an interview? Back in the day, our ancestors developed a very important physical response to stressors: a "fight or flight" response. This includes spiking cortisol and adrenaline (our stress hormones), an increased heart rate, muscle tensing and dilated pupils, all things that would help our ancestors survive the immediate threat. These spikes turn off all immediately unnecessary bodily functions, so that your body can put all of its energy into fighting said threat. While our ancestors received this bump of cortisol from life threatening events, in the current day our stressors look a lot different and are a lot more constant.
When we're stressed with work, kids or chores, our body feels like it is life or death. This long term stress on our bodies negatively impacts our memory, immune system, digestive system and heart health. No one wants to feel stressed and no one wants to deal with these long-term issues, which is why we must take steps for ourself, to feel better. Here are 7 things you can do today to reduce stress, naturally.
Create A Regular Sleep Schedule
This looks different for everyone. Want to go to bed at 9pm and wake up at 5am? Awesome. Want to sleep at 2am and get up at 9am? Great. Just try your best to keep it as consistent as you can.
Our bodies love consistency, especially when it comes to our sleep schedule because it helps maintain our circadian rhythm. Even though it's just a fancy word for "internal clock", it is super important and connected to a variety of issues, including stress management, but also coordination, cardiovascular activity, brain health and maintaining a healthy weight.
Get 30 Minutes of Exercise Every Day
Exercise releases happy hormones in your brain like serotonin and dopamine that make you feel better and happier. This makes you a better person for you and the people around you. I personally believe that every single person can find exercise that they enjoy, and that it looks a lot different for everyone. Not into weightlifting? Completely understandable. But, don't give up that easy.
Try something new. Find your form of exercise: yoga, horse back riding, online workouts on YouTube, adult gymnastics classes, hiking, swimming laps in your local pool, spin classes, walks with your dog, tennis, rock climbing, kickball with friends, dancing
There is something you like, you just have to find it.
Don't Skip Breakfast
Breakfast is debatably the most important meal of the day, but that's besides the point: the point is that all meals are important. Skipping any meals can make you feel jittery and more anxious. And, you're more likely to pick less healthy meals when you get to finally eating. Try to have set meal times so that you're eating frequently and making healthy choices. No need to binge junk food when you're eating consistently and mindfully! Your mental and physical health will thank you.
Schedule in Self-Care
You can't work 24/7. Whether you use an online calendar or a physical journal, sketch out at least 30 minutes of non-negotiable self-care time. During this time, do something for yourself that relaxes you and allows you to actually spend some time with yourself, in your thoughts. Now, this looks different for everyone, but this is not watching TV or aimlessly scrolling TikTok. The whole point is to spend time with yourself, mindfully and intentionally.
Here are some examples of ways you can spend your 30-60 minutes:
- Journal out your thoughts
- Write out 3 things you're grateful for
- Read a self-help book
- Practice deep breathing while sipping a cup of tea
- Do a yoga video on YouTube
- Get an adult coloring book and color a page
- Make up lyrics to a song (even if it's no good at all)
- Go on a walk or jog in nature, without music
Spend Time With Loved Ones
Studies have found that spending time with loved ones can reduce stress and anxiety and can actually lengthen your lifespan. As social beings, humans need to spend time with those they are bonded to: family, friends, significant others, etc.
Plan time every week (or every day if you can) to see people you love. Talk about things going on in your life, play games or get a meal together. This time is fun, but also productive because it will help you be a better version of yourself the rest of the week.
Let’s go back a few thousand years, to a time before the invention of Haagen-Dazs and Krispy Kreme. When you wanted something sweet, you ate fruit. Mother Nature was smart and kind and packed fruits with loads of fiber to slow the release of sugar into your blood (many people have actually healed hyperglycemia by eating high-fruit diets), polyphenols to buffer the acids from the sugars, antioxidants to protect you from aging, vitamins to keep you healthy, enzymes to keep your digestion strong and your gut healthy, and loads of water to make everything within you work like a charm.
On the other hand, added sugar will spike your blood glucose levels, leading to inflammation in the body. Basically, stressing your body out. We have enough stress in our lives without the sugar, so say no to the pastries and say hello to fruit instead and a happier and less stressed you :)
Drink These Teas
- For anxiety: If you find yourself struggling with feelings of general anxiety, Zen AF might help relieve some tension. It is carefully curated with herbs like Lemon Balm, Peppermint, Valerian, Skullcap that promote stress relief and can even help settle the tummy. The more consistently you drink it, the better it will work.
- For stress: Lush Lavender contains soothing botanicals that promote relief of the feelings that happen during times of stress. Lavender flowers are well known for their ability to reduce tension. Even just smelling the aroma of lavender can have a profound effect on both the body and mind. However, the star ingredient is butterfly pea flower. The flower is used in Thailand to reduce anxiousness and support mental focus. This tea is beautifully blue and is even relaxing to look at!
Thanks for reading! I hope you take this needed time for yourself to improve your mental and physical health! If you found this blog helpful, check out 5 Signs That Your Body is Chronically Stressed.