18 May Reduce Stress and Improve Health.
Traditional stress management strategies can focus on optimum nutrition, exercise rituals, yoga and meditation. However in real life, health retreats, green juice cleanses and a raw food diet is just not real or practical for highly stressed people who just have to get on with things. Time consuming, idealistic strategies are not only hard to maintain but they can be difficult to even begin.
Busy, stressed and overwhelmed people need real-life solutions. We need changes that are workable, practical and achievable that assist and support improved health and wellbeing. Here are my top ten ways to help you reduce stress and improve your health immediately.
- Aim to gain health with nutritious food.
When we are stressed we tend to crave chocolate, ice cream, cheese…Unfortunately, indulging these cravings just end up adding to our self-sabotage. Strive for plenty of fresh, colourful and unprocessed food. Ideally we should be aiming to eat 5 serves of vegetables per day and around 2 serves of fruit. Combine this with lean protein and wholegrains to stay healthy and function with energy and improved mood.
- Get more sleep.
For busy people with not enough hours in the day – sleep can seem overrated. However without enough sleep we can’t function well. Most adults need between 7 – 9 hours of sleep a night. Much less than this affects our ability to cope.
Hands down the best thing you can do right now to help yourself settle. Not only does it fire off its own set of physiological processes that promote relaxation and positive feelings, it enables us to get rid of that unwanted tension and the build-up of adrenalin pumping through our body. Simply start with small steps of something you enjoy.
- Learn to say no.
Accept that you are never going to be all things to all people. Ask yourself, is this something I want to do, something I need to do or something I have to do? If you can’t answer “yes” to any of these questions, your answers should be a definite “no
Breathing engages our relaxation response which turns off our reaction to stress. Try breathing in slowly for four counts and exhaling slowly for four counts. Repeat this five times and notice how much more calm and present you feel.
- Clear the clutter.
It’s much easier to have a calm, clear mind when you live in a calm, clear environment. Try not to hold onto things you don’t need.
- Practise Gratitude.
When we are ‘busy’ it is easy for us to get bogged down, complain a lot and feel sorry for ourselves. Being grateful can put us in a very different state of mind. Taking some time out to be mindful of things we are grateful for (big or small) can really help us appreciate what we have. Start a new ritual of writing down or saying out loud each day three things you are grateful for. Watch your perspective change.
- Make ‘Me’ Time a Priority.
For ‘busy’ people nurturing ourselves can feel selfish or indulgent; but sooner or later unless we start prioritising ourselves we can start to feel frustrated, fatigued, self-loathing with an overall lack of fulfilment. Self-renewal leads to a more balanced, happy and satisfied life. Book personal time in like you would for a meeting and do things that make you feel rested, cared for and peaceful.
- Watch the Coffee and Grog.
Warming up with coffee and cooling down with a glass/es of wine…everyday? I would never suggest to anyone under enormous stress to give up these things entirely however the secret is to consume them wisely, to ensure they enhance our day and not destroy it. Make sure you control ‘it’ and ‘it’ doesn’t control you.
- Spend time with the people you love.
At the end of the day it won’t matter if you were a size 8, had the big job, got the promotion or had a tidy house. What will matter is that you lived a life with connection, meaning and had real relationships filled with laughter and joy.
If you’re ready to commit to change and know you need some support, I’m here to help. Why not book a free 20 minute discovery session with me – let me help you get clear on what your next steps need to be so you can feel less stressed and empowered on how to take back some control.