In this modern world, no one is immune to stress. Life can be stressful and everyone experiences this from time to time. The important thing, when it comes to stress and your health, is learning how to manage that stress.
There are many simple strategies that you can incorporate into your daily life to ensure that stress does not start to take over and impact your health.
Decrease caffeine and alcohol
When we are stressed it is often enticing to want to pick yourself up with a cup (or several cups) of coffee during the day and “wind down” with an alcoholic beverage in the evening. However, this up and down wreaks havoc on your body, especially when you are stressed. Caffeine, though making you feel more alert, increases feeling of anxiety and affects the quality of sleep you get (even if you are able to fall asleep without issue). Alcohol may help to bring you down from the effects of your coffee, and the stress of the day, but will also affect the quality of your sleep. Though alcohol can make you feel calmer in the short term, it enhances feelings of anxiety and depression later on. The cycle of caffeine to wake up and alcohol to calm down is simply a band-aid for the inevitable feelings of stress, anxiety and fatigue. Instead keep yourself well hydrated through the day and make sure to eat regular meals in order to nourish your body through the day.
Set and preserve good boundaries
Building healthy boundaries is one of the most difficult things that a person can do. However, it is an important step for reduce stress. In order to build those boundaries, you have to be able to stop saying yes to things when you mean to say no! For too many people the issue with setting boundaries is that it is often viewed as a negative thing, something selfish. It is ok not to be there for everyone all of the time. Over time, you will find that this practice will improve your stress and maybe even free up a little bit of time for you to focus on you!
Get some sleep
Sleep is essential to our well-being. Lack of sleep can contribute to feelings of stress and fatigue, but stress can also contribute to lack of sleep. Try to give yourself some time to wind down before bed and try to stay away from anything stimulating during that time. In addition, make sure that you give yourself enough hours to spend in bed.
Many studies have found that meditation is an effective tool for stress reduction. If done daily, meditation can actually reprogram the brain, improving its capacity to tolerate stress or manage it. The good news is, it doesn’t take a lot of time to incorporate an effective meditation practice, just 10 mins per day is enough.
Stress can affect many areas of the body if it is not managed. Naturopathic doctors can ensure that your stress management practice is effective. In addition, the affect that stress has on the body is complex and may require a full body treatment approach. Therefore, we may also order tests to assess your nutrient status, thyroid and other hormones.
If you are looking for a tailored approach to your health, I would love to hear from you!