Modern life has never been so stressful. What with financial strain, juggling a family and career, and health worries amongst the constant demands of everyday life; it’s no wonder the pressure can build up and bring us to breaking point. Stress affects both body and mind, and is a risk factor for many health conditions.
Luckily though, there are ways to combat it, and here’s how to give yourself a stress-busting makeover:
Identify the problem
Identify the root cause of your stress and tackle it head on. Brushing problems under the carpet will only exacerbate worry and increase bad-feeling. Being open about your anxieties will promote a positive mental attitude whilst providing you with a valuable support network. If you need help, ask for it; after all, a problem shared is a problem halved.
Nothing feels as bad after a refreshing full night’s sleep. OK, while that may not be accurately true, the sentiment is spot-on. It is during phases of deep sleep that our bodies repair themselves and revitalise. In order to avoid the exhausting, foggy-headed effects of sleep deprivation, aim to get around 8 hours unbroken sleep a night. Try avoiding all technology in the hour before bed and relaxing in a warm bath, or curled up with a good book.
A little exercise goes a long way in promoting general well-being and self esteem. Just 10 minutes of moderate physical activity releases feel-good endorphins that also act to relieve pain; so get walking; cycling; taking the stairs instead of the lift – anything that will increase your daily activity levels and get your heart pumping.
Although comfort and convenience foods will give an initial energy rush, they are often processed and loaded with sugar which will leave you feeling sluggish. Eat a balanced diet with a good helping of nutrient-rich vegetables, and slow-release carbohydrates to maintain steady blood sugar and energy levels. Reducing salt intake can help to lower blood pressure. Swap your morning coffee with a metabolism-boosting mug of hot water with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice; it will kick-start your digestive system to make you feel more alert. Trade your evening cuppa with camomile tea which has properties that can reduce anxiety levels. Drink more water!
If you follow these pointers you’ll be well on your way to beating stress, and be better equipped both physically and mentally to deal with it when it rears its ugly head.