Stress-Relief and Healthly Living
Living a healthy lifestyle isn’t only about the food we eat and how much we exercise. We also need to consider other aspects of our lives, like the quality of our sleep and how much stress we have to deal with. Of course, it goes without saying that stress is just a given in the world. Whether it is that overdue bill you forgot to pay, the person that cut you off in traffic this morning, or taking care of an ailing loved one, we all experience stress in one form or another.
However, if left unchecked, stress can wreck havoc on our health. Whether we see changes in our body (like headaches, chest pain, weight gain, or sleep issues), in our mood, (like anxiety, lack of motivation, or sadness), or in our actual behavior (overeating, exercising less, angry outbursts), chronic stress can lead to a multitude of problems. Not to mention that stress can even lead to the progression of chronic diseases. However, there is a way to keep the stress at bay: relaxation techniques.
Relaxation techniques can help to slow the heart rate, improve digestion, lower stress hormones, reduce muscle tension, enhance sleep quality, maintain healthy blood sugar levels, and of course, keep our stress at healthy levels. For these reasons, identifying the stress-relieving techniques that work for you is essential to living a healthy and balanced life.
The Stress-Reducing Techniques
Below are some examples of techniques that you can add to your stress-relieving toolbox. Experiment with a few of these when you are feeling stressed and see which strategies help to bring you to center. All of the strategies might not work for you, but identifying the top 2-3 that do can be a powerful resource to keeping you calm:
- Light yoga
- Soothing music
- Calming teas
- Art therapy
- Petting your cat/dog
- Enjoy a massage
- Write in your journal
- Being in nature
And for those that are dealing with weight gain during a stressful time, I wanted to share some tips with you to keep you on track:
- In periods of high stress, keep the comfort foods away (out of sight, out of mind)
- Make sure to get enough sleep, to increase your chances of making healthier decisions
- When journaling keep track of your foods, so you can keep track of the emotions and activities of the day that cause you to overeat
- Don’t skip out on meals, so binging won’t happen later
- Be mindful about your food, tune into why you are eating, and make sure it is because you are hungry
Keep in Mind
Remember, developing our techniques takes time. It’s important to be gentle with yourself and practice using these techniques. Also, if you notice a particular method doesn’t work for you, that’s okay. Everyone is different and will respond differently to particular practices. Just be mindful of what works for you.
“Relaxation Techniques: Try These Steps to Reduce Stress.” Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 19 Apr. 2017
“Stress Management.” Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 20 Jul. 2017
What is your go-to way of keeping your stress in check? Share with us in the comments below!