Many people are in a constant struggle with reducing the stress that life brings on. Stress means different things to different people, but for many, stress includes struggling with keeping anxiety and depression at bay. There are several techniques and activities that you can make a part of your life that will help you de-stress your life.
1. Watch Your Food Intake
Stay away from those foods that give you immediate energy boosts but just as quickly make you crash…leaving you feeling depressed and full of stress. Simple carbohydrates like pasta, sweets, and legumes will give you this feeling. Greasy foods and those with a high fat content make the body work twice as hard to metabolize your stomach contents and leave you feeling lethargic and even trigger anxiety. Additionally, stay away from energy boosters loaded with caffeine including coffee, sodas, and energy drinks that will only bring you up to drag you down just as quickly.
Instead, take in more high-fiber and green foods loaded with vitamins and anti-oxidants that contribute to boosting your energy over time and building a healthier immune system. These include sweet potatoes, citrus fruits, and green, leafy vegetables. Allow yourself some food indulgences occasionally, but don’t binge on a regular basis.
2. Focus on Products with Natural Ingredients
Chemical exposure occurs in all aspects of our life. We breathe them in through cleaning products, absorb them into our pores from pollutants in the air, and even ingest them in the foods that we eat or drink through preservatives. The result is that many people experience health issues associated with these types of chemical exposures over a long period of time including stress. You can be more mindful of where and what you are being exposed to if you take some extra measures to do the following:
- Observe signs around your home and work alerting you to contaminants in the area.
- Wash your hands frequently (after most activities and after being in a public place).
- Wash all fruit and vegetables thoroughly before eating them.
- Read and understand the list of chemicals on your food labels.
- Make sure your home is properly ventilated.
- Install a water filtration system on your kitchen faucet and refrigerator water system.
- Avoid exposure to cigarette smoke.
- Use natural cosmetics and avoid aerosol beauty products.
3. Create a Relaxation Room
There is a reason why most spas offer you a moment to sit in a separate, quiet space before you begin your spa treatment…it gives you a moment to relax and unwind. You can create your own version of a relaxation room at home as part of a daily routine to de-stress your life. This means making sure that everyone in your house knows that this is a dedicated space for relaxing. Fill it with things that will contribute to helping you decompress after a hard day like comfortable seating (longue chair, fluffy pillows, a blanket, etc.), a dim light, and a speaker where you can enjoy some soft, relaxing music.
In addition, you should try to leave your technology somewhere else. Make it a rule that no cell phones, tablets, computers, or any other type of communication device is allowed in this space to maximize the opportunity to relieve stress. If you use this room on a regular basis, you will find that your blood pressure will improve and any other health symptoms that may be associated with stress like migraines and insomnia will begin to subside.
4. Taking Time for Yourself
Everyone has a busy life, but if you want to reduce your stress burden, you will have to start taking time for yourself. Find an activity you enjoy and carve out a section of your day to fit it in. It can be as short as 5 minutes, but this will make a major improvement in lowering your stress level. From reading to yoga to running, carving out this time for yourself is crucial to reducing your stress levels.
You should also treat yourself to a happy every so often. Whether it’s a bottle of new nail polish or a massage, you should indulge yourself in something that brings you joy. It doesn’t have to be expensive and shouldn’t blow your budget, but you need to treat yourself with something that will make you smile. When you treat yourself every now and then, you are showing yourself (and others) that you are worth it.
5. Find a Balance Between Work and Home
You cannot relieve stress overall if your life is full of chaos, and stress can occur from spending too much time at work when you should be home enjoying family and friends. Today, many employees feel the pressure of competing with an overabundance of people vying for their jobs and their potential promotion. The result is additional stress due to people putting in more than the required effort as a way to impress their boss. This means staying well after the last person has left the office and showing up before anyone else in the morning, so everyone can see you are more than committed to the company.
What results is a work/home conflict that will only be alleviated if you sit down to really contemplate what your priorities are and how to organize your work schedule in such a way as to have a successful career and maintain your personal life. Make sure you are mindfully balancing both responsibilities in a way that will reduce most of your stress.
Stress can rule your life if you let it. Instead of stress dictating your life, take control over it. Establish healthy patterns to cut out the chaos and create relaxing patterns to help reel the stress level back in. Your current stress level might seem daunting and impossible to ever become manageable, but if you take a small step each day to de-stressing your life, you will consistently lower your stress levels. When you achieve your desired stress level, you will be happy you took the time and made the effort to achieve a lower stress level.
Valerie Cox is a contributing writer for IN:Total Wellness.