Let's talk about stress
Let’s talk about stress. It’s pervasive today. Unless you live under a rock, there is virtually no way to escape it. But what effect does it have on you, your body and your well-being? Let’s break it down.
Your mental health
- Lack of focus (ironic cause you likely wish you could focus when you’re stressed)
- Excessive use of drugs and alcohol
- Exercising less
- Withdrawing from friends or family
On your body
- Sleeping problems
- High blood pressure
- Chest pain
- Muscle pain and tension
From this list, I think we can all agree that limiting stress is critically important. To that end, I’ve compiled a list of 10 simple ways you can help manage your stress.
- Light a candle. You don’t have to go all new age but studies show that aroma therapy does help to relieve stress and improve sleep. Some scents—lavender, rosemary, orange, chamomile—can be especially calming.
- Limit your caffeine intake. There are plenty of studies that show caffeine in moderation is good for you but too much of anything isn’t good. If you’ve every had too much coffee and had the resulting “jitters,” you know what I’m talking about. Too much caffeine can cause anxiety and anxiety can amp up your stress.
- Laugh. When you’re stressed, you may find it hard to find a reason to laugh…all the more reason to do so! Watch a funny movie or go to a comedy club. Laughing relieves tension and improves your mood.
- Write things down. This can take two forms. When I’m stressed, I tend to forget things, which in turn, stresses me out even more. I find if I write things down, I worry less about forgetting things and can relax. Writing things down that you’re grateful for is also stress-relieving. It helps place the focus on what is good and reminds us to be thankful.
- Exercise. OK listen, I don’t love going to the gym. I never really have. But I do love being active and outdoors. That said, I have always worried that taking a walk wasn’t enough exercise. Well it turns out that not only is a walk good for relieving stress, it is also great exercise. You don’t have to get your heart rate going all that much to put you into your target heart rate zone (unless you’re a professional athlete) to reap the benefits. My point is, you don’t have to go to the gym if that isn’t your thing. Just get moving and do something you will enjoy.
- Saying No is OK. Managing your time against other people’s expectations can be tough. But taking on too much just adds to your stress levels. There will always be things you cannot turn down or people you simply cannot stay no to. But some of these instances are within your control so learn to say no when you can.
- Meditate. Meditation teaches you to clear your mind, focus on yourself and be in the moment—even if that moment is 10 minutes. And everyone can spare 10 minutes!
- Snuggle. As I have a black lab, this is one of our all-time favorite activities. She and I are world class! Any kind of positive physical contact can help lower your stress and improve your mood. So curl up next to your pooch, cat, spouse, parent, child.
- Listen to music. Normally, when it comes to music, I say listen to what you like. But when it comes to stress, listening to soothing music or nature sounds or meditation music will help lower your blood pressure, your heart rate and can help suppress the release of stress hormones.
- Be social. No, I do not mean social media. I mean actually hanging out with friends or family, in person. Without a phone or tablet involved. Connecting with people you like promotes a sense of wellbeing and can help to give you perspective about the things that are causing you stress.
What are some of the ways you relieve stress? Share them below and we might just send you a free bottle of Cerveau!