So many of us experience ongoing stress and anxiety throughout our days. Some of us experience high stress for months on end. There are certain situations where the cause of our stress or anxiety is seemingly out of our hands like a challenging course load in school, a difficult job or an intense family situation. Under stress, it’s easy to get caught up in habits that are comfortable and feel safe, but probably aren’t the most helpful.
Something that can be truly impactful during those times is focusing on things we do have control over, those things we know automatically improve our sense of overall well-being.
Learning to sit with our anxieties and stressors can feel less daunting when we improve the things in our day to day that we can.
- Eating habits – A poor diet can be the start of a snowball effect to poor health – both mentally and physically. When our bodies aren’t getting the nutrients they need, it goes under stress just trying to stay alive. We can eliminate that added stress by feeding our bodies healthful and nourishing foods. Nourishing our bodies with love stimulates brain health which can help aide your struggles with anxiety and overwhelming stress. Try to add some greens, fibers, vegetables, etc where you can. Don’t worry about eliminating things from your diet, start with adding in some more of the good stuff! (Click here to learn more about how changing my diet effected me mentally!)
- Nature – I’ll be honest, I used to roll my eyes at anyone who would talk about the calming effects of nature or how much they enjoyed being outside. Growing up in New York, I didn’t really get it because outside to me was mostly concrete and busy-ness with cars zooming by. It wasn’t the same as things and places I’ve experienced living in different parts of the country. Now, I get it. GET YOUR BUTT OUTSIDE! Breathe in some fresh air and find some solace. Is there a small park you really love, a patch of grass or body of water? Somewhere to sit, walk or just be? If there is not a place that comes to mind, seek it out. Nature and grounding can bring you peace and quiet in a world full of chaos and constant movement.
- Exercise/Movement – Along with fueling your body with nourishing foods, exercise or movement is a crucial component to living a healthy life. Movement doesn’t have to look like a grueling workout class, an hour at the gym or anything super intense. Pay attention to what your body is craving and DO THAT. This can look like stretching for 10 minutes before bed, a 15 minute walk post long work day or a 5 mile run. You choose. Your body. Move it. This is your chance to connect with your body and allow the aches and pains of stress to pass through.
- Sleep – How many nights per week do you get enough sleep? I’m talking at least 6.5-8 hours. I want to challenge you to think back for the past week and write down the amount of hours you got each night. I know for me, I am super proud of myself when I look back and see 5 out of 7 nights I got at least 7 hours of sleep. Sleep is the time we give our bodies and brains time to rest. If we don’t allow them to recharge and restore, how can we expect them to function and combat stress that comes our way? Check in. How can you add more sleep to your schedule?
- Connection – Feeling alone is stressful. As humans, we crave connection with other humans. Identify some people in your life that you can chat with and share your experiences. Whether it is one person or five, make sure you are proactively connecting with others. It can be a best friend, parent, sibling, stranger or therapist. Connection is vital to the human experience.
Interested in learning more about how you can apply these skills to your life? Let’s chat!