Stress is part and parcel of everyday life. Although it is impossible to eliminate, learning to manage it well can vastly improve your quality of life. To avoid feeling too overwhelmed, Isowhey Personal Trainer, Lauren Hannaford, 5 tips that I recommend to start living your life to the fullest!
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1. Get physical
Exercise is one of the most highly recommended coping mechanisms for stress as it improves both your physical and mental health, helping to regulate and elevate your mood. Getting sweaty and hitting the gym may not be everybody’s cup of tea, but don’t let that stop you from getting those endorphins pumping. Find forms of exercise that you enjoy. Yoga and pilates are great ways to help you clear your mind while building your muscle strength! For the more adventurous, you can even try sports like pole dancing or aerial yoga. For those who don’t have much time for exercising or travel a lot even short workouts like my FHIT program can be effective and can be done when you’ve got a spare 15 minutes – no excuses!
2. Address your stress
I find that making a list of things that I need to get done daily helps to give me a sense of structure amidst the chaos. List the tasks down in terms of importance and revel in the small sense of satisfaction you get as you manage to cross these tasks off throughout the day.
Ensure that these daily lists are realistic and achievable. Take it one day at a time and don’t try to squeeze a week’s worth of goals onto it.
3. Make sure you eat right
By this, I don’t mean stress-eat. Believe it or not, your diet plays a huge part when it comes to regulating your stress levels, and there’s a huge difference between gorging on high calorie, feel-good snacks that temporarily help you cope with your emotions and food that will actually make a difference to your mental wellbeing. Instead of reaching for your crisps, snack on berries instead. Fruits like blueberries and strawberries have been proven to have extremely high levels of antioxidant and vitamin C[i]– all of which help to combat stress.
4. Don’t skimp on sleep
It’s not always the case of ‘you snooze, you lose’ when it comes to dealing with stressful periods in your life. In fact, studies[ii] have shown that there is a positive correlation between getting more sleep and lowering stress levels. It is recommended that you get at least 8 hours of sleep to ensure that you feel pumped up and ready to take on the next day.
5. Have more ‘me-time’
Put your life on hold for an hour everyday and focus on YOU. Although this may seem counter-productive when you feel like you have a million and one things to get done, setting aside time to relax plays an important role in ensuring that you feel rejuvenated. Whether it’s soaking in a tub while sipping on a glass of wine or catching up on your favourite Netflix series, taking time out to care for yourself is essential to help you unwind. This in turn, would lead to an improvement in concentration and an increase in productivity in your day-to-day life.