Sometimes, our day to day lifestyle can become very stressful with all that we have going on. It’s important that we take time to take care of ourselves not only physically, but mentally, as well. Here are a few tips to help reduce your stress levels.
Make sleep a priority. It’s easy to just stay up late, sitting at the computer or watching movies, playing video games, etc. but regularly getting 7-8 hours of sleep will make you feel so much better in the long run. It takes time to get your sleep schedule under control, but you have to do it. You can’t go all week getting 5 hours sleep and just “catch up on the weekends.” Regular sleep affects your mood so much. Another example is that you won’t feel like you need to drink caffeine all day, which makes you edgy and also increases your stress levels. http://www.fi.edu/learn/brain/sleep.html
2. Less Caffeine
If you want to sleep well, you can’t drink coffee until bed time. You might think you’re sleeping fine, but once you cut back on the coffee, you will sleep much deeper throughout the night and feel more rested the following day. 1-2 cups of coffee a day is fine, but don’t drink caffeine past 5:00. http://www.naturalnews.com/012352.html
3. Eat Healthy
If you fill your body with junk, then you will affect your healthy negatively in multiple ways. Emphasizing fresh fruits & vegetables while limiting processed foods will affect your energy levels and your mood tremendously. Let’s be honest here, it will make everything better. Your skin, your weight, your sex life, the list goes on and on and on. http://www.discovergoodnutrition.com/index.php/2011/03/5-healthy-eating-tips-to-reduce-stress/
4. Water Consumption
If you drink lots of water, it will help your body function better in a variety of ways. Everything will move through you faster (think of it as the best way to cleanse) and it also flushes toxins from your body. Drinking lots of water will eliminate water retention caused by sodium, so you will feel less sluggish and bloated. http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/water-stress-reduction
5. Remain Active
Exercise is another one of those things (like eating fruits & vegetables or getting lots of sleep) that benefits our bodies and mood in a variety of way. Being healthy overall is the best thing for your body in terms of everything. There’s a thousand reasons to be active, but let me just stress that being active is a key point of living a healthy lifestyle. Being healthy = less stress. http://www.stress-management-for-peak-performance.com/exercise-reduces-stress.html
6. Keep a Positive Attitude
This might be one of the hardest parts about managing stress levels. We can’t always choose the things that happen to us on a daily basis (car problems, money problems, relationship problems, etc.) We can only choose how we react to these things. If someone says something rude to you that upsets you, you can choose not only how you respond to it (kill them with kindness? it’s hard to be the better person) but whether or not you will let it ruin your day. Do you surround yourself with negative or positive people? Sometimes you just have to take a deep breath, smile, and remind yourself that you can only do your best and some things are beyond your control. Sometimes you have to take the negative people out of your life or distance yourself from them because they will only bring you down.
7. Not smoking
Not only do cigarettes put you into an early grave, but they literally cause you to be more stressed. I think this is intentionally done by the tobacco industry. You feel stressed and you grab a cigarette for short-term relief, but in the long run, there are chemicals in the cigarette that literally increase your stress levels and make you more edgy. http://generallythinking.com/smoking-and-stress/
You just have to make time for things that you enjoy. That might mean going outside and playing with your kids. It might mean watching a funny movie or going out with your friends (the kind that don’t bring you down.) You can’t be serious all the time and you can’t spend all of your time at work. Your sanity depends on it. http://www.helpguide.org/life/humor_laughter_health.htm
9. Drink a Glass of Red Wine
There are many health benefits of red wine, including antioxidants, polyphenols, and resveratrol. It helps you relax and unwind at the end of a long day. But you should limit to one glass a day because there can be negative effects of too much alcohol. http://www.meteck.org/wine.html
At the end of each day, set aside time to stretch, relax, and meditate. Dim the lights, light candles, drink calming tea, play ambient music, and clear my mind. Some of you might think “no way, that’s for hippies and there’s no way I’m doing that.” But don’t knock it til you try it. Meditation is about clearing your mind and focusing. So once you finish stretching, perhaps just sit on the floor, sip your tea, and focus on my breathing and clearing my mind. Also, try using Pandora’s “ambient” station.