April 6, 2016
April is Stress Awareness Month. Chronic stress is bad for the immune system and increases our risk for many illnesses. While most of us are “aware” of our stress, many are not sure how to best reduce or manage it. Here are some tips on decreasing your stress level.
Plan ahead. A lot of our stress comes from the rush: to get to work, to get dinner on the table, to get the kids to swim lessons on time. Planning ahead and doing some preparation can make a big difference. Iron clothes and make breakfast the night before and avoid the morning hassle. Make a batch of chili on the weekend and have leftovers set aside for those busier evenings. Figure out your biggest time stressors and find ways to alleviate them by planning and preparing ahead.
Be physically active. It may seem strange to add something to your already busy day, but being active has been shown to reduce stress levels. Even 10 minutes can have a benefit. Being outside in nature can also calm the mind, so plan a hike or bike ride to combine these two stress reducers.
Try meditating. Just a few minutes of quiet time to concentrate on your breathing can help clear your mind of stress. Meditation is free and can be done anywhere! Start with a 60-second mini-meditation.
Eat fresh, whole foods. Stress can lead us to grab “comfort” foods, which are often unhealthy. Eating more fresh foods is actually best to keep your energy up and nourish your body in times of stress. Keep fruits and vegetables handy, so they are convenient to eat during those hectic moments.