Remember the popular 1980’s song by Dolly Parton, “Working 9 to 5 what a way to make a living” If only we were just working 9 to 5, right? Let’s face it, working 9 to 5 is not cutting it in this fast paced, go, go, go world. By the time our feet hit the floor in the morning, we are non-stop running from here to there, work deadlines, family commitments, have to get the two kids to different sports and clubs each day throwing a makeshift “dinner” together because, let’s face it, who has time to shop, prepare, eat, and cleanup a real, healthy meal?
The American Psychological Association (APA) states that stress occurs when life’s demands, like work, relationships, or school, that are placed on us exceed our ability to cope. There is good stress, called eustress, that can be beneficial at times, giving us that boost to get things done like work deadlines and exciting life events. However, an extreme amount stress takes its toll on our health and can cause health problems like attacking our immune, cardiovascular, neuroendocrine and central nervous systems, and not to mention take a severe emotional toll.
As long as we are living, let’s face it, we are going to have stress, so how do we deal with stress in a healthy manor? Things can’t stop while you deal with stress, here’s seven tips on how to manage stress in a healthy way without putting your life on hold.
Take a Break, the Work Can Wait: We know, we know, we just said we were going to give you tips to manage stress without putting your life on hold, we hear you. For real though, a twenty-minute break in the midst of the stressor will do wonders for you. As the APA says “when you give yourself permission to step away from it” giving yourself a chance to view a new perspective or practice new techniques to feel less overwhelmed will allow your body to reset.
Exercise: Take the stairs instead of the elevator, park in that parking spot farthest from the building, walk around the soccer field while the kids are at practice, or instead of tethering the dog actually take him for a walk. By not staying dormant in your downtime, proper exercise releases endorphins that leave you feeling refreshed not stressed.
Don’t Forget to Smile and Laugh: Did you know that our brains are interconnected with our emotions and facial expressions? Laughing and smiling can help relieve tension that is kept in our face, and in turn relieving stress in our lives simply by keeping a good sense of humor. Find comedy podcasts to listen to while on that long commute, take turns telling jokes and ask your kids how their days were, after all kids do say the funniest things.
Get Social Support: Pick up the phone, call someone. Send a text. Talk to a friend. Find someone you trust! Remember, we were made for community. While there are times we need that twenty-minute break to ourselves, we all need that one person to confide in. Studies show that a quick, ten minute chat can boost problem solving skills and overall mental agility. Those quick ten minute chats can even help to improve mood, reduce stress, and may even boost your immune system.
Meditate: The APA states “Meditation and mindful prayer help the mind and body to relax and focus.” When practicing mindful meditation, you can begin to release emotions that may have been causing your body physical stress. Research has shown that meditating, even for just a brief moment, can reap immediate benefits. So grab that yoga mat, pick up that book, take that walk and meditate if only for a few minutes.
Get Plenty of Sleep: The amount of sleep we need can vary, but getting the quality of sleep is imperative to a healthy life and the way we manage stress. Something we’ve found to be a total game changer is sleeping with an eye mask. By sleeping with an eye mask to block out all light, your brain senses pure darkness and produces a chemical called melatonin which aids in sleep. This allows for a deeper more restful sleep. Without proper sleep our bodies can experience affected memory, judgement, and mood which can increase stress in our lives.
Eating Healthy: Our busy, stressful lifestyle doesn’t always lend for much time to eat healthy. We eat on the run or skip meals altogether because our lifestyle demands it. The truth is, we can’t afford to not take our diet seriously, especially when it comes to managing stress in a healthy way. Eating right provides our body with sound nutrition and support which helps to manage stress. And when you can’t always find the time to eat an adequate meal, make sure you are adding vitamins and minerals to your daily routine. The easiest, and most delicious way (if we do say so ourselves) to do this with your busy lifestyle is with our customized Buddy Shots – grab and go, specialized to each of your individualized needs.
Your stresses don’t have to be non-stop, takin’ and no givin’, kick those stresses to the curb today! What’s your go-to way to manage your stress in a healthy manor? Let’s continue the conversation in the comments below!