Stress reduction is a crucial aspect of a healthy lifestyle, just like diet and exercise. Here are a few tips to help you keep your stress levels under control.
Working out on a regular basis is one of the best ways to relax your body and mind. Additionally, exercise will improve your mood. However, you have to do it often for it to ultimately pay off. So, how much should you exercise every week?
- Good: At the very minimum, 3 to 5 times for 30 minutes
- Better: 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate intense exercise like brisk walks
- Best: Add 75 minutes of a vigorous exercise such as swimming laps, jogging or other sports that get your heart rate up
Set fitness goals for yourself that you can meet so you don’t give up. Most importantly, remember that doing any exercise is better than none at all.
Relax Your Muscles
When stressed, our muscles get tense. Help loosen your muscles up on your own and refresh your body with the following activities:
- Enjoying a massage
- Taking a hot bath or shower
- Getting a good night’s sleep
Taking a moment to stop and take a few deep breaths can take some of the pressure off you right away. You might be surprised how much better you feel once you get good at it. Here are few steps to follow for stress relieving success:
- Sit in a comfortable position with your hands in your lap and your feet on the floor, or lie down.
- Close your eyes.
- Picture yourself in a relaxing place, such as a beach, in a beautiful field of grass or anywhere that gives you a peaceful feeling.
- Slow take deep breaths in and out.
- Do this for 5 to 10 minutes at a time.
Eating a regular, well-balanced and nutritious diet will help you feel better in general. In addition, it may help control your moods. Your diet should be full of vegetables, fruit, whole grains and lean protein for energy. Also, you should never skip meals as it’s not healthy and can put you in a bad mood, which can actually increase your stress.
Life can be hectic, and sometimes we just need to slow down and relax. Look at your life and find simple ways you can do that. For example:
- Set your watch 5 to 10 minutes ahead so you will always get places a little early and avoid the stress of being late.
- Switch to the slow lane when driving on the highway so you can avoid road rage.
- Break down larger jobs into smaller ones. For instance, don’t try to answer all 100 emails if you don’t have to—just answer a few of them.
Take a Break
You need to plan some legitimate downtime to give your mind time off from stress. If you are someone who enjoys setting goals, this may be difficult for you at first. However, if you stick with it you will look forward to these moments. Restful activities may include:
- Tai chi
- Listening to your favorite music
- Spending time in nature
Make Time for Hobbies
Make sure to set aside time for things you enjoy. Try to do something each day that makes you feel good, and it will help relieve some of your stress. This doesn’t have to be a ton of time—even just 15 minutes will do. Relaxing hobbies may include:
- Doing an art project
- Playing golf
- Watching a movie
- Doing puzzles
- Playing cards and board games
Eliminate Your Stress Triggers
Figure out what the biggest causes of stress are in your life. This may be your job, your commute or even your schoolwork. If you are able to identify what’s causing your stress, see if you are able to eliminate them from your life, or at least reduce them.
If you can’t identify the main causes of your stress, consider keeping a stress journal. Note when you become most anxious and see if you can determine a pattern, then find ways to remove or lessen those stress triggers.
Everyone feels stress—it is impossible to avoid it all the time. However, it is possible to keep stress under control be setting realistic expectations of yourself, learning how to keep problems in perspective and enjoying relaxing breaks from the daily demands of life. Are you feeling anxious or stress? Don’t hesitate to contact Brashear Family Medical with the link below for more information or to schedule a visit with our doctors to get started on a treatment plan to alleviate your stress.