Spotlight on Stress: Tips for Managing Stress
So in my last two posts, I talked about what stress is, what can cause it in modern daily life and how it can mess with your healthy, happy glow.
Chances are you are going to experience some level of stress on a day to day basis unless you decide to become a monk and devote your life to meditation (and even then I’m sure there could be things that could stress your system out).
As someone with an autoimmune disease I have to be diligent with managing stress as stress can cause a flare up of my disease. Here are some of the things I do (or at least I’m working on doing) to help with managing stress while looking after my adrenal glands.
Eat nourishing food that supports your body. Eating over processed, sugar-laden, nutrient-poor foods and drinks uses up a lot of your body’s resources whereas eating nourishing real whole food supports your immune system and your body’s healing system which can in turn help your body cope with other sources of stress better.
Keep hydrated. Again, if you are dehydrated it can put the body under some stress. Drinking water throughout the day is an easy way to avoid this type of stress.
Exercise regularly. Regular physical activity and exercise is one of the best ways to bust some of the tension caused by stress and create energy. Exercise releases endorphins, the feel good hormones. In saying that, training too hard can put your body under stress so listen to your body to see if what you are doing is helping or hindering you.
Get quality sleep. I talked about sleep in a previous post. Your body heals and recharges when you are asleep so getting enough quality sleep is a very easy way to help with stress levels. If you aren’t getting enough quality sleep, figure out why and work on resolving those issues.
Take breaks in work. Get up and walk away from your desk. Not only will you get a mental break and give your eyes a break from staring at the computer screen you’ll also avoid too much sitting which is said to be the new smoking.
Go outside. Even better if you can take breaks outside. It’s thought being close to nature lets you feel removed from the things that cause you stress while being in the sun is a natural source of vitamin D which is a mood booster.
Try meditation. I’ve built a morning meditation into my daily routine. I’m not going to lie, I found it hard to begin with (and still sometimes do….) but those precious moments of inner peace and calm first thing in the morning are priceless. I need to be guided in my meditations so I’ve found a few apps on my iPhone that are great. The one I use most is Headspace which I’ve paid a yearly subscription for but I also use the Mindfulness app which is a great free option.
Relax. Engage in activities that promote relaxation. It could be gardening, painting, playing music or going for a massage, facial or sauna. Now that it’s coming into spring I’m hoping to develop a green finger or two and I’m also intrigued to try an infrared sauna.
Express Yourself. It is said that unexpressed and repressed emotions can be the building blocks of pain and illness so it can be good to vent. I find that sharing my emotions and feelings on a regular basis is an important part of my own stress management and healing process. Writing a journal or doing morning pages are good options if you don’t feel like you can express yourself full to another person.
Find Your Joy. What makes you really happy? Finding the things that bring you joy and prioritising to do those things more is a great way of combating stress. It’s hard to be stressed if you are laughing, having fun and enjoying yourself. I’m still figuring this one out all the time. I write a gratitude journal every night and when I’m reflecting on the day I try to remember those things that made me light up, that brought me joy.
Develop good relationships. Having authentic friends and partners who support you and will listen and advise without judging cannot be underestimated. While being a good friend or partner and showing love can be hugely fulfilling also.
Watch Out for your Mean Girl Bitch Brain. Becoming aware of your inner dialogue can highlight when your ideas or views aren’t serving you and can give you a chance to get curious about them and adapt them. Are you hanging on to old resentments, frustrations or playing victim? Are you critical about yourself, do you give yourself a hard time? Maybe there’s an opportunity to stand back and see the big picture. Is there an opportunity to practice compassion, kindness and forgiveness towards yourself and others? What can you do to find and experience self-worth, self-respect and ultimately self-love?
Digital Detox. Is there a way to tune out from social media, the internet and even electronic devices for even a portion of your day or week? Maybe there’s one day a week when you ban all social media and electronic devices (I’ve just come over in a cold sweat even typing that!). Or if that’s too tough (for me it is!), maybe you have a curfew that you don’t look at emails or your phone in the morning until after you have a cup of tea or do your meditation? Or maybe you turn off all devices an hour before you go to bed to give you that time to totally wind down. This is one I really need to work on!!!
Detox your cosmetics and toiletries. Get to know what you are putting on your body. Are there toxins you are using and don’t realise? This is one I’m constantly working on. I’ve either dumped make-up items or cosmetics or I’ll wait until I’ve finished something and will replace it with a more natural alternative. Some of the big toxins I try to avoid are parabens and phthalates. There are more and more great natural options out there and it’s fun to try new stuff.
Swap out your cleaning products. Just as with the cosmetics and toiletries, I’m always swapping out household cleaning products with more natural versions. A lot of the big supermarkets now have more eco-friendly and natural options so it’s easier than ever to make the switch. Or there are loads of ways to make your own (but I’m too lazy to do that at the moment!).
So there are just a few suggestions on ways to help manage stress and help reset fatigued adrenals. I’d love to hear what works for you as I’m forever looking for new hacks to help me manage stress better.