10 TIPS TO MANAGE STRESS NATURALLY
Stress – it’s a symptom of modern life, but how well do you cope with the stresses you face daily?
A lot of people associate a ‘meltdown’ with a traumatic event like a job loss, a break up, or even death, but mostly they are just the last straw after months of chronic stress from everyday life.
If you’re constantly feeling stressed out, it can lead to something much more damaging to your health – adrenal fatigue.
So how can you avoid the meltdown and handle your stress levels naturally?
- Hydrate – drink eight glasses of filtered water daily. All of your organs, including your brain, need water to function properly. Studies show being dehydrated by just 500mL can increase your cortisol (stress) levels.
- Avoid caffeine – including coffee, tea and caffeinated soft drinks. Caffeine causes your adrenal glands to release adrenaline, giving you a temporary boost, but can make you feel fatigued and depressed later. Caffeine has a half-life of 4-6 hours. You can then end up in a cycle of highs and lows, relying on more caffeine to get you through the day. By the evening, you’ll be tired and agitated, but unable to sleep. It also increases your body’s level of cortisol, which can lead to other health consequences like weight gain, moodiness, heart disease and diabetes.
- Practice mindfulness while eating – chew well, eat slowly and don’t drink with meals (drink 15 mins prior, or 1 hour after). Every time you eat is an opportunity to stop, sit down, check in with how you’re feeling and take time out to nourish your body. Being mindful while eating helps to avoid making the wrong choices, overeating and aids digestion. My simple rules: don’t eat in front of the TV and never eat on two feet.
- Eat whole foods daily – include lots of organic fresh vegetables and fruits, as well as good quality proteins. Super foods like green tea, berries, salmon, broccoli and turmeric are beneficial for their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory qualities. You should also be mindful of ensuring
- Get moving! – Enjoy a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate activity 5-6 times per week. Go out for a walk in the morning or evening sun and get a healthy dose of vitamin D.
- Maintain a healthy weight – avoid sweets, refined foods and processed foods. Instead, snack on raw almonds, fresh fruit, yogurt, or hommus and carrot sticks. These low GI foods are also perfect snacks for maintaining a balanced blood sugar level, which can impact stress levels.
- Get plenty of sleep – ensure a minimum of 8-9 hours of sleep per night. Remember, it’s the hours before midnight that count!
- Practice relaxation regularly – try Tai Chi, Yoga or Meditation. Find something that works for you to take your mind off what stresses you. These free mediations from ABC’s LifeMatters have been helpful for me.
- Take natural medicines – take a good quality, comprehensive vitamin and mineral supplement which contains antioxidants (eg. Resveratrol), plus a good quality high-dose fish oil.
- Plan regular holidays – break the year up into manageable chunks. Also plan regular mini-breaks, particularly for special occasions such as anniversaries and birthdays to give yourself something to look forward to.