Clients often ask me what they can do to “get rid” of their stress. The truth is – you probably can’t, completely. However, there are things that you can do to greatly reduce stress and that will help keep you in a better mental state to be able to tolerate stressful situations more effectively when they arise. I believe that the best way to handle stress is to prevent it from becoming a problem in the first place, or at least decrease the likelihood and the intensity. Here are a few key suggestions that help with stress and anxiety, and that are also related to better general health and wellbeing:
1. Get adequate sleep. The amount of sleep your body needs depends on your age and it differs from person to person. The average adult usually needs 7 or 8 hours of good sleep a night. If your body and mind are not adequately rested, you’re not going to function to your fullest potential and you’re likely to be more sensitive to stressors.
2. Eat healthy. We are what we eat and if you’re eating crap, well, you’re going to feel crappy. Try sticking to a natural diet, eating a lot of veggies and fruit, and avoiding processed foods. Especially during stressful times, avoid caffeine – the side effects mimic the symptoms of stress and anxiety.
3. Exercise. Get your body moving. The mind-body connection is so strong -the better you feel physically, the better you will feel mentally, and vice versa. Exercise is great stress relief and has been proven effective in the treatment for many mental health disorders.
4. Make a list of your favorite activities to do during your free time. Try to do at least one of those things every day. With the fast pace of our culture, we often forget to slow down and enjoy ourselves. We call this self-care and it is essential for your health!
You’ve probably heard of most of these suggestions before. None of this is new or cutting edge information. But, our lives get so busy that we can sometimes neglect to do these simple things, or we convince ourselves that we don’t have the time. Make the time - for the health of it!