Do you live your life as if you’re running a never ending marathon? Too much stress over a too long period not only depletes your body of nutrients, leaving it exhausted, it also alters your body's biochemistry, making it more likely to crave and overeat junk food and store weight. The effects of stress tend to build up over time. Taking practical steps to maintain your health and outlook can reduce or prevent these effects. If stress has become your way of life, it’s time for some stress relief.
Exercise regularly – Regular exercise is a great way to boost your mood and manage stress. Exercise is one of the best ways to combat the effects and causes of stress. Have at least 20 minutes of exercise three times a week. Even explore stress coping programs, such as meditation, yoga, ta chi or other gentle exercises.
Relax – Make sure you give yourself some time to relax each day and try to spend time with people who make you feel good about yourself.
Eat well – A nutritious diet is important. Limit sugars and eat foods high in monounsaturated fats, vitamin B and other important anti-stress, anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients - foods like olives, legumes, avocados, and grapes.
Sleep – Everybody knows of the notion that stress affects sleep - who hasn’t felt irritable at work after a poor night’s sleep? But the relationship between sleep and stress is actually cyclical. Lack of sleep can cause stress and stress causes lack of sleep. A good sleep routine is essential, so do something calm and relaxing before you go to bed like listening to music or reading if you have difficulty falling asleep.
Set Priorities – Decide what must get done and what can wait. Learn to say no to new tasks if they are putting you into overload. Avoid dwelling on problems. This should also save you from the stress of forgetting something important and will also free up time to start up a stress-killing hobby or activity.
Support – Stay in touch with people who can provide emotional and other support.
Avoid conflict – avoid situations that make you feel stressed as much as you can. Avoid unnecessary arguments and conflict if you find them stressful (although ignoring a problem is not always the best way to reduce stress). Assertiveness is fine but becoming distressed is not.
Seek Help – If you are feeling overwhelmed, feel you cannot cope, have suicidal thoughts or are using drugs or alcohol to cope, seek help from a qualified mental health care provider. Get proper health care for new or existing health problems.