Stress manifests itself in different ways for different people, and can be part of everyday life or something much more challenging. We at Fox & Rae have favourite ways to tackle the everyday feeling of stress, that all relate to how one takes care of themselves, as we believe that self-care isn’t selfish, it is a necessity.
Check your fuel.
How you fuel your body is key to managing our stress levels. According to BBC Good Food, eating a balanced and healthy diet helps to stabilise our blood sugar levels, which are affected by stress hormones. The advice includes the classic minimum of five-a-day fruit and veg rule, ensuring you are ‘eating a rainbow’ of colours. Don’t skip meals, particularly breakfast, and avoid highly refined foods such as white bread, pasta, chocolate, biscuits, sugary cereals, and sweets or foods with added sugars. Finally, ensure you are eating plenty of lean meat, chicken, fish, eggs, beans, lentils, nuts and seeds for protein, as when chronically stressed the body has an increased demand for protein, which helps to slow the release of sugar into the blood stream.
Have a massage.
As advised in the book ‘Self-care for the Real World’, “being touched physically helps release the stress from your body. Treat yourself at least every couple of months.” Once considered an indulgent luxury, massage has increasingly been known as a powerful tool to help you take charge of your health and well-being, whether you have a specific health condition or are just looking for another stress reliever. Massage has been proven to reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol, and create more oxytocin, the feel-good hormone.
According to the NHS, “exercise won’t make your stress disappear, but it will reduce some of the emotional intensity that you’re feeling, clearing your thoughts and letting you deal with your problems more calmly.” Being active is not only great for your physical health and fitness, NHS.uk goes on to state: “evidence also shows it can also improve your mental wellbeing by raising your self-esteem, helping you to set goals or challenges and achieve them and causing chemical changes in your brain which can help to positively change your mood.”
The mental health charity Mind are big advocates of spending time outdoors in nature and bringing nature into your everyday life for many positive reasons, including reducing stress and improving mood. Mind suggests, “doing things like growing food or flowers, exercising outdoors or being around animals can have lots of positive effects, and can benefit both your mental and physical wellbeing.”
Can you take an honest look at your diary and schedule in some non-negotiable time just for you? The day might run away once you get stuck into work for example, so you may need to allocate some ‘space’ for yourself before starting. Or ‘book in’ self-care activities like a yoga class, walk with a friend (or dog!), a cup of tea with your favourite programme or a relaxing treatment as appointments, so you are committed.
This article shares Fox & Rae’s thoughts and ideas for reducing stress and leading a healthy lifestyle. However, if you’re feeling overwhelmed, depressed or struggling to cope, help is available – visit the NHS website or speak to your GP.
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