Stress is one of the most difficult things to deal with in life but there are some daily things you can do to reduce your stress that you may want to consider. Stress can cause more harm than you realize. It’s important to take small, daily steps to reduce your stress however you can, such as these below. Within a week or two, you’ll hopefully see a greater reduction in stress, along with less risks for high blood pressure, diabetes, overeating, and depression- which all come from added stress. See how these work for you and start taking some time to take care of yourself however you can. You deserve it!
1. Eat Whole Foods
Processed foods contain additives that can increase your cortisol, lead to insulin surges which create more stress, and also contribute to diabetes if they’re high in added fats and sugars. Eat a whole foods diet and one full of whole grains (not whole grain bread but actual grains like oats and quinoa or rice), fruits, vegetables, raw nuts and raw seeds, legumes, beans, and avoid excess salt which contributes to high blood pressure. You’ll feel much calmer eating actual whole foods since you’re body isn’t overwhelmed when trying to process them.
2. Keep it to One Cup
When it comes to coffee, it’s great for reducing stress in small amounts but too much can have the opposite effect. Keep it to one cup (or two at the max) and if you must have an afternoon java, make it decaf or opt for chai tea instead. Caffeine increases cortisol and adrenaline in the body which is good for that mid-morning rush and the need to focus but overdoing it will just leave you fatigued, moody, and yes- stressed.
3. Get Up Earlier
Getting up just 20 minutes earlier can do wonders for your morning stress level. It’s time enough to fit a morning workout in, or just gives you more time to be sure you get out the door in time to work without shoving breakfast down your throat. It also allots for traffic jams, wardrobe malfunctions, or spilling your coffee all over yourself. Hey- we’ve all done it, no worries!
4. Have Something to Eat
Don’t skip meals, just don’t. It’s a bad idea for your metabolism, your focus, and your cortisol levels. When your body becomes physically stressed due to hunger, then it also makes you more stressed in return. If you have a hard time finding time to sit down and eat during your workday, then at least keep some fruit on hand and a few nuts for healthy snacks. Make time for breakfast however you can. Great grab and go options include oatmeal, a banana and some raw nut butter, an apple and some almonds, a green smoothie, or some chia pudding with banana and berries.
5. Sleep At Least 7 Hours
Getting 8 hours of sleep is best but at the minimum, you should at least get 7. Sleeping triggers certain hormones that decrease stress and relieve anxiety all throughout the next day. Make it a habit to go to bed early and stick to it, no matter what. If you need something to fall asleep faster, a couple of safe options include valerian root or tea, a supplement known as GABA (which is a natural amino acid), along with magnesium oxide or magnesium citrate.
6. Try Superfoods
Superfoods like chia seeds, cacao, maca, acai, spirulina, and raw coconut all help your body deal with stress more efficiently. They help your body produce serotonin and they give you energy without jitters or anxiety like caffeine. Superfoods contain more nutrition than common fruits and vegetables and make great additions to a smoothie for a quick meal in the mornings. I like Bright Earth Foods brand, along with Amazing Grass, Navitas Naturals, and Vega One.
7. Eat B6 Rich Foods
Vitamin B6 is a nutrient that helps send a sense of calm to your body. Luckily, it’s found in many foods and easy to get enough of it through your meals. You can also take a B complex supplement, which also helps fight stress. Vitamin B6 is found in bananas, figs, avocados, pumpkin, squash, green peas, oranges, spirulina, almonds, chia, sweet potatoes, raisins, oatmeal, rice, and quinoa.
8. Read Something Enjoyable
Reading activates your parasympathetic nervous system, which naturally calms you down. However, reading your bills doesn’t count! Make it a habit to read something each day and it doesn’t have to be an actual book. The newspaper, a magazine, your favorite inspirational website,and even reading blogs counts. The key is to read something for 15-20 minutes to take your mind off the day. I like to do this during breakfast and at lunch and I’m naturally less stressed afterwards.
9. Talk to Someone
Talking out your troubles, thoughts, or sharing good news with others is great to manage your stress. We all need an outlet sometimes and other people can be a listening ear or might be able to help us stress less by sharing something they’re dealing with. We’re all here to help one another and part of that is talking about things so we don’t have to deal with everything ourselves. While I don’t suggest sharing every single life situation with everyone you know, having someone to talk to can make all the difference in how you feel each day.
10. Leave Work at Work
Work shouldn’t be taken home but we all know that’s hard to do sometimes. Try your best to leave work at work and when you’re home, then be home. Remember, jobs come and go but you only have one you! Take care of yourself and don’t let your job take that away from you.
11. Do What You Love
Speaking of work, it’s important to do what you love, even if that’s part time at first. Having a job that fulfills you is one of the best things you can do to reduce your stress and be happier in general. I realize that’s not always easy to do but work towards your dream job or work towards finding out what it is however you can. Doing something small to reach your goals is better than not doing anything at all and regretting it later.\r\n\r\nRemember, stress can run you if you let it, so take the wheel and show stress who’s boss once and for all!