I’m sure we never thought we would be living through a world lock down. It’s a scary and daunting time for many of us. Things are starting to add up and we’re starting to feel the effects of this stressful time.
Stress is our body responding to change. And because our lives involve constant change (from traffic in the morning, bills, not enough hours in the day, work and family responsibilities, the list goes on) there is no way of avoiding stress. Because we are unable to eliminate all stress from our lives, we need to effectively manage what we can. Stress management is taking control of your lifestyle, thoughts and emotions, so you can be happier, healthier, and more productive.
The ultimate goal is a balanced life. Time for work, relationships, relaxation, and fun. This may seem so far out of reach for most of us. But stress management is not one-size-fits-all. That’s why it’s important to experiment and find out what works best for you. The following stress management tips can help you do that.
- 1. Exercise
If you’re stressed, the last thing you probably feel like doing is exercise. But exercise is a huge stress reliever. Exercise will also help to relax the muscles which become tense when you are stressed, and, as it increases the blood flow around the body, it can help you to think more clearly.
You don’t have to run a marathon or spend hours at the gym to experience the benefits. Exercise releases ‘feel good’ endorphins, and it can also be a great distraction from your daily worries.
While you’ll get the most benefit from exercising regularly for 30 minutes or more, you can build your fitness levels up gradually. The first step is to get yourself up and moving. Good choices include walking, running, swimming, dancing, cycling, tai chi, yoga and aerobics. But whatever you choose, make sure it’s something you enjoy so you’re more likely to stick with it.
- 2. Stay Positive – Smile and Laugh
Ever heard of ‘laughter is the best medicine’? Well laughter triggers the release of ‘feel good’ endorphins and can relieve tension and stress, leaving your muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes after a good laugh. Do you think to yourself when you are in a stressful situation ‘I will look back at this and laugh’? Why not laugh now? You can turn the most stressful parts of a situation into the funniest and share those bits of humour with those closest to you (or your 600 closest friends on Facebook) and receive support in the form of shared laughter. You also can’t be stressed, angry or mad while you’re laughing.
- 3. Relaxation Techniques – Mediation, Yoga, Breathe, Tai Chi
Quite often we think we are ‘relaxing’ in front of your favourite TV show. But this does little to reduce the negative effects of stress. To effectively fight stress, we need to trigger the body’s natural relaxation response. You can do this by practicing relaxation techniques such as meditation, yoga, deep breathing, low impact exercise, and yoga. Fitting these activities into your life can help reduce everyday stress, boost your energy and mood. There is no single relaxation technique that is best for everyone. You need to find something that resonates with you and your lifestyle.
- 4. Nutrition – Eat Healthy, Well-balanced Meals
Well-nourished bodies are better prepared to cope with stress. Would you put ‘cheap’ petrol or diesel into your Lamborghini? We need to think of food as fuel. We want to make sure we fuel ourselves with the right food. Start your day off right with a good, healthy breakfast and keep your blood sugar levels stable and your mind clear with balanced, nutritious meals throughout the day. Ideally, we want to reduce the amount to caffeine and sugar we consume. Though sometimes you want a ‘quick fix’ this is often more damaging in the long run and short term can often leave you feeling more nervy and edgy than you did before.
- Some great supplements to include in your day are:
Helps to keep us full and keep the bowel environment healthy by stimulating the good bacteria in the gut to produce short-chain fatty acids which decrease stress.
aL3 (Alpha Lipid™ LifeLine™)
Containing 1 billion probiotics per dose, probiotics reduces the effects of stress by providing healthy gut microbiome which directly affects your brain.
Alpha Lipid™ SD2
Protein sources provide amino acids, which the body converts into the mood-lifting neurotransmitters, such as serotonin.