Being healthy is not just about diet and exercise, it’s about the whole picture – so it’s important that you are taking care of your mind and spirit as well as your body.
You could be eating the healthiest diet in the world and working out everyday, but if you’re not happy with your life, it will have a negative impact on your overall health. The things that cause us to be unhappy can be anything from financial stress and bad relationships, to working at a job that doesn’t spark our passion or living a life that’s not inline with our beliefs. What ever it is, it will put stress on your body and cause your overall health to suffer.
We all have stress in our lives, and it usually goes up and down depending on the circumstances. While it would be nice to avoid stress entirely—for most of us —that’s not possible. But what is possible is learning how to deal with it.
8 Ways to Relieve Stress
Whether you go for a run, a hike, hit the gym or simply take your dog for a walk, getting your blood moving releases endorphins that can improve your mood instantly.
Taking time to step outside whatever it is you’re going through to breathe can provide instant stress relief. If yoga or meditation isn’t your thing, try practicing some simple breathing exercises like these.
Listen to Music
Music can help you get through common daily stresses, (like traffic) and help you make sense of whatever it is that’s bringing you down. Classical music is a known stress reliever, but music is personal so go with whatever works for you.
Stress and a bad diet are very closely related. Try to avoid sugar and fatty foods and replace with healthy foods like fresh fruits, veggies and omega-3s – as all 3 have shown signs to help reduce stress on the body.
High doses of caffeine cause a short-term spike in blood pressure which can cause your hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis to go into overdrive and cause unnecessary stress. Tea (even some caffeinated varieties, like green tea) doesn’t cause this spike – making it the perfect thing to drink in times of stress.
Spend Time with a Friend
Taking a break to reconnect with a friend to talk about your problems is a great way to reduce stress and put things into perspective. Good relationships are important to any healthy lifestyle.
Get a Good Night’s Rest
It’s no secret that stress can cause you to lose sleep. But unfortunately lack of sleep also causes stress, so you need to manage the amount of sleep you’re getting on a regular basis. If you have trouble falling asleep, try drinking calming tea, eating dinner earlier, and/or reading a book instead of watching TV at night. Avoid staring at your computer screen at night as well, as the bright lights of your laptop can make it hard for your body to drift off to sleep.
Spending Time Outdoors
Humans are meant to connect with nature on a regular basis, but most of our daily routine’s force us to spend our day inside. So break the cycle and try making time for at least 15-minutes of outside time. Whether that means going for a lunchtime walk with co-workers or heading out for a jog after work, make time for the outdoors. Especially during times of high stress.
All of these simple activities have proven to reduce stress levels and increase happiness. So if you’re feeling stressed, make sure that you incorporate at least one of these activities into your day-to-day life.
If you feel like your life’s getting away from you—which most of us do—listen to what your mind and body are naturally craving, and make time for that. For you that might mean that you need to spend less time on your phone or watching less TV so that you can make time for the things like, reading or taking a much needed walk. Whatever it is, make sure that you allot time for it – as you are the only one who can change your routine and make your life better.
The good news is: it’s hibernation time.
As is the case for most of the animal kingdom, the fall/winter is our body’s natural time to quiet down and take stock of what we are craving in our life. During our hibernation months, (October through February) we typically need more sleep and to spend less time being social – as our body’s go through a natural course of rest and recovering after our summer’s packed with activities and travelling.
So if you’re feeling tired, listen to what your body is telling you and get some rest. Just as we feed ourselves when our body tells us that we’re hungry, or grab a glass of water when it tells us that it’s thirsty, you need to train yourself to listen to what your body is asking for. As doing so is the first step to saying goodbye to unnecessary stress.
Here’s to leading a happy and healthy life!
PS – If you need extra stress relieving tips or just need to talk, come see me at the studio. I’m always up for a chat