A new school year is starting, and for a lot of people that means the return of stress. But did you know how harmful stress can really be? I’m talking diabetes, heart disease, depression, obesity and even addiction-inducing harmful. So what can be done about it?
My own stress has been a huge problem in the last couple of months. I’m not going back to school, but I’ve got the new-job-new-internship-new-kitten kind of stress that’s eaten away at me and left me wondering where all my hair went. Is this what adulthood feels like?
If so, I’m determined to put a stop to it! Too many exciting things are happening in my life and my anxiety shouldn’t be holding me back. So I’ve done some research, and here are some super easy tips to naturally de-stress (after all, de-stressing shouldn’t be stressful!):
1. Eat better
No more turning to cheeseburgers and the bottle of wine (it’s hard, I know). In reality, fatty foods and alcohol add more stress to your body. They can slow your digestion and mess with your sleep pattern, and they often leave us feeling bloated—hence, more stress. Try fresh fruits and veggies (a no-brainer) like mushrooms for their vitamin D or raw beets for their high levels of folate. Green tea, whole grains, and even dark chocolate have also been said to help.
2. Make lists
I don’t know about you, but when I’m tossing and turning at night and worrying about everything I haven’t finished, there is only one solution: make a list. As soon as I write out everything that’s bothering me I can sleep easily. It’s like magic! In paper form! It helps to visualize your to-do list because it always seems smaller in writing than it does in your head. It also helps to know that you won’t forget anything because it’s written down.
I know how hard it is to go get your sports bra on when you’d rather curl up on the floor and cry. But, from one lazy girl to another, it is so worth it. Not only does exercise take your mind off the problems, but that high you get from endorphins can help tackle the wall of stress. New scientific studies are also suggesting that habitual cardio can reshape the brain to make it more resistant to feelings of stress and anxiety.
4. Treat yourself
Remember earlier when I said no wine? Don’t listen to me! You can have wine. Or a damn cheeseburger. Or massages, or pedicures, or playing with kittens, or a Lord of the Rings marathon…whatever it is that makes you smile. If a happy hour bitching session is what it’s going to take to get you through a tough day, then I say go for it! Just remember: moderation is key. Moderation, my friends.
5. Tell yourself it’s all in your mind
This is the best advice I ever read. Just know that when it feels like your world is falling apart and you feel like you’re drowning, the world is entirely intact and chances are you probably aren’t drowning. Ha. Jokes aside, it helps to tell myself that what I’m feeling is just in my head—it’s not outside of me. That gives me the control. Granted, there are physical signs of stress: hair loss, loss of appetite, amenorrhea, etc. But when I’ve having one of those moments on the verge of a panic attack, a deep breath and a “snap out of it, brain!” can bring me back from the ledge.
I need to start giving each of these tips some serious attention if I want to get back to a more peaceful state of being. I’ll let you guys know how it goes!
In the meantime, share some of your de-stressing tips!