Whether struggling to meet a tight work deadline or navigating a tense family situation, many of the stressors we encounter are largely beyond our control. To help rise above such dilemmas, you can empower yourself by adopting a few key stress management techniques.
Try these tips to help lower stress levels and bring a little calm back into your life.
1. Sleep it off
In order to wake fully rested in the morning, we need to sleep for a sufficient duration (usually six to eight hours, though some people need more) and at a sufficient quality. To achieve this, consider a few simple sleep hygiene techniques such as ensuring your room is dark and quiet enough at night and avoiding screen time (including TV and smartphones) for 30 minutes before bed.
2. Hit the gym (or trail … or swimming pool …)
Regular physical exercise is a great way to get the blood moving and work out the stresses of the day. It may also improve mood and sleep quality and promote the release of endorphins—the body’s natural “feel good” hormones.
3. Don’t forget to breathe
By taking slow, deep breaths, we provide our bodies (including our brains!) with the oxygen they need to function optimally. This can help reduce stress levels by promoting relaxation and easing muscular tension.
4. You feel how you eat
Nutrition is key for overall health, including for stress reduction. Good choices include healthy fats (think avocado, fish, olive oil, nuts, and seeds), veggies, lean protein, and complex carbohydrates such as brown rice and whole grains. Try to limit sugar and caffeine.
5. Turn to a little natural support
To go beyond the benefits of a healthy diet and lifestyle, consider adding a few key natural supplements, after chatting with your health care practitioner. For example, magnesium has been shown to help reduce stress and anxiety. Not all types of magnesium are well absorbed; however, magnesium bisglycinate is a highly bioavailable form. The natural compounds GABA and L-theanine have also been found in clinical studies to help relieve tension and promote relaxation.
Dr. Erik Boudreau, ND, is a naturopathic doctor practising in Fort Langley, BC. He maintains a focus in stress management, men’s health, and integrative cancer care. integratedhealthclinic.com