Manage Your Stress The Quick And Easy Way
When you read the title of this post, what did you think? That you’d have to make a complete overhaul of your life all at once? Be honest!
Sometimes when you’re super stressed out, you need to level up by not only finding ways to relax but changing your daily lifestyle. Making healthy choices helps you to proactively avoid being stressed out by life’s changes, instead of just trying to find relief when it gets bad.
Read on to see four different healthy lifestyle changes to consider making to manage your stress before your stress manages you.
Get Some Z-Z-Z-Z-s
Being stressed out can cause problems with your sleep, usually in the form of insomnia, but sometimes one may sleep too much. The problem with insomnia is that it leads to more stress. Since it works both ways, it’s essential that you focus on getting 6-8 hours of sleep each night. I’ve had periods of insomnia and know firsthand that it’s no fun – you’re watching the clock at 2 or 3 in the morning and thinking about how you have to get up at 6 and all the things that you have to do that day & inevitably those nights you can’t sleep are right before a day that’s jam packed with activities! ☹
So, what you want is to have your sleep as uninterrupted as possible in order to get into a deep REM sleep.
An article in Medical News Today discusses the connection between the REM (rapid eye movement) stage of sleep and stress. But here’s a quick paraphrased breakdown of what REM sleep is according to the Cleveland Clinic:
REM sleep usually happens about 90 minutes after a person falls asleep; and is usually characterized by intense dreams due to heightened cerebral activity. A person’s legs, face or fingers might twitch during this time as well.
Sleep is important for proper cognitive function which can also help reduce your stress levels naturally. Here are some tips for getting better sleep:
Buy a better mattress
Develop a relaxing bedtime routine in the evening
Have your room set at the proper temperature
Don’t bring your cell phone into your bedroom
Hang up light blocking curtains
Keep the television turned off
Invest in an eye mask
Sleep when your kids are asleep
I personally like the idea of developing a relaxing bedtime routine. It helps to signal to your body that its time to wind down. You look at the activities that you like to do (or usually do) and see what helps induce sleep and what interferes with sleep. Increase those activities that help you sleep and decrease those that interfere.
For those activities that increase sleep, map them out into a doable routine and see what works. You can always make changes if necessary.
Move It Or Lose It
Physical activity is often recommended for many different problems, such as anxiety and depression, and for good reason. It’s super helpful in relieving stress. When you work out regularly, you help both your body (getting stronger and more fit) and your mind (distraction from worries). Which gives you deeper states of relaxation and releases endorphins to help you feel happier and more energized throughout the day.
Just get your body moving more. It doesn’t have to be as drastic as suddenly going for a run every morning if you’ve led a sedentary lifestyle for the past five years. Something as simple as walking your dog more often can be helpful.
Make a challenge out of it how many steps did you take today? Can you do 100 more tomorrow? What about the day after that? Are there any fun incentives that you can motivate yourself with? Maybe a new pair of sneakers if you hit your goal each day for 3 months.
A Place For Everything And Everything In Its Place
Organizing your life is another way of moving towards a healthier lifestyle. The more organized you are in your daily home and work life, the less stress you’ll experience overall.
For instance, you may get stressed out at work because your files are all over the place and your desk is filled with piles of paperwork. Just looking at that can be stressful.
So, take a deep breath.
When you’re ready to straighten up, go to your local office supply store and get some decorative boxes and bins that’ll help you organize your office. You can do the same thing at home by organizing your kitchen, living room, home office, bedroom, and other spaces that feel a little bit chaotic.
And of course, you don’t want to overwhelm yourself by doing everything at once because that could lead to more stress. Start small, even if you just tackle one corner of a room or one drawer at a time it’s okay. Eventually, you’ll reap the rewards of your efforts.
Eat To Banish That Stress
Believe it or not, eating healthily, can help you lessen your stress levels. How? Vitamins and minerals like vitamin B and folate can trigger melatonin and other happy chemicals in your brain and body to help you feel happier and relax your mind; so that you can carry on with your life.
When your body has the nutrients that it needs, you should find it easier to cope with whatever stressors you encounter as those nutrients help your body form a hedge of protection in your fight against stress.
The easiest way to begin making healthy lifestyle changes so that you can manage your stress before your stress manages you, is to make those changes one at a time. That way you’re not overwhelmed, you’re able to evaluate what works and what doesn’t and over time, it’s easier for you to see the progress that you’ve made, especially if you’re using a device such as a habit tracker to help monitor your new change.
So, there you have it, a few simple things that you can do to manage your stress. It’s all about making time.
Let’s talk, let me know in the comments section, what’s one healthy lifestyle change that you plan to make to decrease your stress levels?
Cassandra Martin-Himmons is a trainer, wellness coach and consultant who believes in empowering her clients and providing the tools that they need to make positive changes in their lives to manage their stress and increase their self-care. In her spare time, she enjoys papercrafting, volunteering and travel. Connect with her on Instagram or Linked/In