18 Oct How To Manage Stress In a Healthy and Effective Way
Unfortunately, stress is a part of life that you can’t necessarily avoid.
Do you manage your stress by unwinding with a glass of wine after work?
Or, do you soothe your stress by devouring a pint of Ben and Jerry’s on the couch?
Or, do you workout your frustrations at the gym?
Even if you don’t realize it, you have a strategy of dealing with your daily stress. Take a few minute to think about how you manage stress, without judgment. There is a reason you manage stress the way you do. It’s how you’ve programmed your body to deal with it – and it’s been successful to date – at least in the short term.
If you find you look to food or alcohol to manage your stress, perhaps you are ready to find a healthier way to cope, that may be even more effective and support your health goals!
Here are my favorite healthier ways to deal with stress!
This doesn’t have to be complicated. Something as simple as a walk around the block may be enough to release endorphins, which in turn boosts your mood. So, when you notice you are feeling stressed, get up and get moving. Even something as a few quick trips up and down your stairs can help! It also removes you from the temptation to soothe your emotions with food or alcohol.
- Deep Breathing
This is one of the simplest action steps out there to relieve stress. My favorite breathing exercise is square breathing. Which means, you breath in for 4, hold for 4, out for 4 and hold for 4 – and do it at least 4 times. This is something you can do when you are stuck in traffic, in the middle of an argument with your spouse, ready to lose it because your child isn’t listening to you, etc. Breathing takes you out of the fight/flight mode (sympathetic nervous system) and moves you into the parasympathetic or calm state. If possible, get in a comfortable position, close your eyes, imagine your favorite place, and breathe slowly in and out for a few moments, completely filling your lungs with each breathe.
- Self Care
Once again, this doesn’t have to be complicated. Just stopping to enjoy a cup of herbal tea outside can be the perfect way to calm down your nervous system and relieve stress. When you’re stressed out and tense, your muscles tend to tighten up. Instead, take 5-10 minutes to yourself: stretch a little, listen to a funny video, lay down, or relax in bed with your favorite book or TV show. And, don’t forget to get a good night’s sleep, as sleep deprivation can increase your stress hormones!
We all need to vent sometimes, right? Getting your feelings out on paper is a very healthy way to do this. You are able to get out your frustrations, without the risk of offending someone or saying something you don’t really mean. Often, you just need to take the time to get it out of your system, so you can stop rehashing it over and over in your mind. You need to release it and move forward. Journaling is an excellent way to get your feelings and emotions out on paper. Sometimes after you read what you wrote, you realize that you were over reacting and the situation isn’t actually as bad as you made it out to be in your mind! Don’t keep your feelings trapped inside as stress can exacerbate systems and lead to dis-ease.
- Have self-compassion
It’s easy to beat yourself up for getting so stressed that you can’t focus or concentrate on what needs to be done. One question I love to ask myself when I’m stressing over a situation is: “Will this be important to me in a year’s time?” That helps me to get centered on what’s happening and the true importance of the particular situation. So often, we get ourselves crazy about small things that we won’t even remember in a week’s time. Everything is temporary, including whatever you’re stressing about right now!
It’s so important to treat yourself like you would treat your best friend – and be kind and compassionate. You are truly doing the best you can and you are exactly where you need to be at this moment!
If you find yourself leaning towards sugar and sweet or starchy carbs to soothe your mood, you are not alone. Our brains have been hijacked by sugary and starchy foods. Research has proven that sugar can be as addictive as cocaine – so don’t beat yourself up if can’t seem to kick the craving. As an Emotional Eating Coach, I’ve seen clients struggle with both physical and emotional sugar cravings. Unfortunately, processed foods have been created in a lab to light up the receptors in your brain to keep you coming back for more.
With the holidays coming, you might want a little help to reduce your sugar intake. From now until New Years we are inundated with sugar, cookies, treats, and special once a year favorites. I absolutely believe in mindful indulgences, but you don’t let your sugar cravings take control of your choices – choose your favorites and savor those that you will truly enjoy instead of the ones you will just mindlessly consume!
Why not gain control of your sugar cravings BEFORE the holidays?
After the sugar comma from Halloween has subsided, I’m running a FREE 5-Day Program to help you Say Goodbye Sugar!
With one simple daily action step you will become more aware of your sugar consumption, learn some strategies to reduce your daily sugar intake, and start to get off the endless sugar addiction cycle.
We begin on November 8th – so you can get back on track after Halloween and be prepared for the holiday season to come! REGISTER TODAY