Stress is a normal part of life, something we all deal with in varying levels. And right now, stress is prevalent in our world. Our body is equipped to handle stress for short periods of time, but long-term activation of the stress response can cause an imbalance in the body. This can result in a variety of problems, such as digestive disorders, high blood pressure, illness, skin disorders, sleep disturbance, and other problems. Natural remedies and lifestyle changes can calm frazzled nerves, and help restore balance. Do something good for yourself by utilizing these 6 tips to relax and reduce stress levels:
1. Make Time for Exercise. Exercise is an important part of stress reduction and good health. It helps you look and feel better. Something as simple as a short walk in fresh air can ease tension and allow you to handle stress better. Try deep breathing and yoga exercises during the day and before bed to help you stay calm.
2. Connect. Stay connected during challenging times. If you can’t physically connect with friends and family, you can do this digitally through video chats, through letter writing, or with phone calls. But it’s critical to stay connected with those you love.
3. Be Intentional with Gratitude. Look for the positive, even if you have to really seek it out! What are the things around you that you can be grateful for – family, friends, a job? Use a journal or journaling app to record your thoughts and gratitude. In the future you can look back at difficult times and be encouraged at what you came through!
4. Nourish your Body. Stress eating is not uncommon, but it seems we tend to choose the most unhealthy foods when we are stressed! How about shifting the focus to foods that are nourishing and that provide nutrients that can help combat stress? Try to get these nutrients each day:
– Magnesium to calm and relax the body: nuts, seeds, dark chocolate, avocado, whole grains.
– Omega 3 to support mood: avocado, seeds, salmon or other fatty fish.
– Vitamin C to support adrenal gland function: citrus fruits, berries, kale, red and yellow peppers.
– B Vitamins to support nerve health and function: eggs, leafy greens, legumes.
If you are not eating plenty of these foods each day, consider adding a supplement during periods of extended stress.
5. Adapt with Adaptogens. Adaptogens are herbs that can increase resistance to stress and have a normalizing or tonic effect in the body. They help reduce the negative effects of stress on the body. These herbs not only help you handle stress, but also help maintain energy levels. Good adaptogens include ashwagandha, rhodiola and ginseng.
6. Get Good Sleep. Getting a good night’s sleep helps with overall stress reduction, along with helping to restore the body. Sip a cup of hot passionflower tea, or take a hot bath before bed and use aromatherapy oils such as lavender or ylang ylang to relax the body and calm the nerves. If you have trouble sleeping, try a gentle, natural sleep aid containing the mild sedative herb, valerian.
While we cannot avoid stress, stress does not have to control us. Take care of yourself when stress is common in your life. Maintaining good health and well-being will also help you stay calm, cool and stress-free.