Get More Sleep. If your body is rested and you’ve gotten at least 7 hours of sleep, your body will be better prepared to deal with stressors as they present themselves throughout the day.
Take breaks throughout the day- While this may be counter-intuitive, taking breaks from working or studying actually makes a person more productive and boosts their performance, and health. I’ve heard these breaks called ’strategic renewals’ which I think is brilliant! Taking a short, five to ten minute break every hour or two is advisable, while taking a longer break of at least 30 minutes every two to four hours is also suggested. During these breaks you could take a quick nap, work out, take a short walk, or grab an apple.
Reduce the amount of stimulant you consume per day, which includes caffeine and sugar. Stimulant like caffeine (and yes, sadly this includes chocolate) can exacerbate the bodies stress response and merely make you feel worse.
Eat well. I know you probably hear this ALL the time, but the less processed food you eat, the healthier you will be. The body does not respond well to processed foods, which include fried foods, foods that contain high fructose corn syrup, anything with preservatives, artificial coloring or flavors and most everything you can get through a drive through window…. Try and eat fresh whole fruits and vegetables, especially those that are brightly colored and organically grown.
Consider taking a multi-vitamin and multi-mineral. Growing up I always had my Flintstone Vitamins every morning… Turns out my mother was on to something! Maintain your health by supplementing with a multi-vitamin and multi-mineral is a great way to ensure that your body has the nutrients and micro-nutrients it needs to function properly.
Drink Water. I’ve always believed a person should drink eight- eight ounce glasses of water per day. This is sometimes called the 8×8 rule, which I found easy to remember. And for those of you who prefer to think bigger, this is also roughly 2 liters of water, which is what I carry around and drink from most days. Two liter bottles just seems like a lot less than eight- eight ounce glasses!! 🙂
Organize your desk, office or work space. Studies have shown that clutter can absolutely cause stress. Now, I am not suggesting you have a pristine work area… (You should see my desk- Oh MY), What I am saying is that a more organized and less cluttered work space creates less stress.
Managing your time more efficiently can absolutely help reduce stress. Setting a schedule and sticking to it, while not always fun, is a great way to ensure that you are able to accomplish what you need too. Time is a finite commodity, and there is only so much a person can do in a day. Ensuring that you are realistic with your expectations for yourself and what you can accomplish is important. Additionally, scheduling to for yourself and your loved ones goes a long way in overall health and happiness.
Exercise… Now, before you roll your eyes, I am NOT suggesting you go and get a gym membership, join expensive classes or dedicate endless hours to sweating and working out. While all those are wonderful, they are not always feasible. Especially if you are already stressed and spend your entire time at said gym worrying about what you should be doing or feel the pressure of an already unrealistic deadline looming. What I will suggest is that you begin by walking. Simply walking. Instead of taking the closest parking spot, park farther away and walk. Walk the dog. Walk at lunch. Walk to your next client appointment. Walk home from school with your children. Walk across campus… Simply walk. Not only will the time outside do you a world of good, but walking is great exercise.
And finally, when you find that you are in a stressful situation or when you feel yourself becoming stressed, pause and take a good full deep breath. Even one deep breath will begin to relax the body… When the body experiences stress, a person’s breath migrates from the abdomen to the upper chest, and it becomes more shallow, and the body tenses. By breathing slower and more deeply a person can begin lowering his or her heart rate and respiration, and ultimately lowering their stress levels as well.