Stress! It affects everyone, and has both internal and external factors. While we can’t always change our job, or change our environment, there are plenty of ways that we can reduce internal stressors. This article from Oxygen Magazine has some great pointers on reducing internal stress:
Banish Stress Now
By Anna Lee Boschetto
Keeping active is the number-one way to relieve stress, period. So get a move on and carve out some gym time. While an hour a day may sound impossible, you don’t have to jam it all in at once.
Your Plan: Blocking out two 30-minute or four 15-minute sessions throughout the day will give great results!
PLAN YOUR (CLEAN) EATS
We’re not suggesting you stave off the office treats, happy hour, caffeine or sugary treats for good. Just keep it simple by planning your indulgences accordingly.
Your Plan: Think clean and choose a variety of lean meats, fresh fruits and vegetables and drink tons of water throughout the week so that you can enjoy some guilt-free treats.
GET YOUR D-OSE
Unless you’re in Alaska, you’re not living in darkness 24/7. Sun exposure is the best source of vitamin D, which helps combat stress, depression and chronic fatigue.
Your Plan: Get your daily dose from a day of skiing, downing a glass of fortified OJ or eating a piece of grilled tuna. But if these don’t seem likely then make sure you’re getting enough with a daily vitamin.
ENLIST THE ELVES
Contrary to your mother’s (or mother-in-law’s) opinion, there is nothing wrong with delegating tasks to keep from coming undone. When you’re looking at your schedule, consider what’s important to you and send the rest packing.
Your Plan: To-do lists are also great ways to banish stress. Does everything on that list need to be done right now?
Booking a spa treatment might seem like the last thing you would do, so think small – even a mini-mani will do wonders. According to Premier Spas of Ontario, spa treatments help reduce the occurrence of stress-induced muscle pain, headaches and depression.
Your Plan: Don’t sweat it – just book a time and a location. And don’t cancel – no matter what.
CREATE YOUR OWN SPACE
Peace in your own home can be as simple as creating a little room just for you. When you’re nestled into your own space you have nothing to worry about, so just kick back and relax.
Your Plan: Arrange your most comfortable armchair in one corner, light some scented candles and make sure you have plenty of pillows to lay your weary head, feet and back upon.
LISTEN TO THE MUSIC
Look for the latest compilation from your favorite artists. Go on, treat yourself; they all have at least one! And if you prefer your music live, check out local listings, indi-bands and theater groups for concert promotions.
Your Plan: Download remixed versions of your old favorites. Most cost less than a buck per song!
TAKE IT TO THE NET
When it comes to mall crowds, avoidance is the only cure; so don’t shy away from doing it all online. Where else can you buy those new yoga pants while the kids are in bed. That’s efficient!
Your Plan: Coordinating a mid-week date with your BFF means avoiding shopping among the masses.
While you’re not likely to have the luxury of cross-continent house swapping à la Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet, according to iVillage.com, getting in touch with the outside (and seemingly saner) world is just a mouse click away.
Your Plan: Join hands and support your gals stressing out around the globe. Think you’re suffering in Seattle? Wait until you hear your counterpart rant about her Russian in-laws.
LAUGH INSIDE AND OUT
Laughter relaxes arteries and boosts blood flow, in turn reducing those stress knots in your stomach. Try it for 15 minutes a day as part of a healthy lifestyle.
Your Plan: Gather your best gal pals – you know they’ll be thankful – stock up on Will Farrell flicks and hunker down for your own private laugh-in.
Excessive stress can lead to more than over-eating or sleepless nights, too much stress can really impact your body. Common stress effects on the body include: headache, muscle tension, increased blood pressure, chest pain, fatigue, stomach pains, sleep problems, and libido changes. Stress can also negatively effect mood, some symptoms are: anxiety, restlessness, lack of focus, lack of motivation, irritability, anger, and depression. Behavior changes can also occur due to stress, like over-eating, under-eating, drug or alcohol abuse, and even social withdrawal.
If you experience these symptoms, you should start making positive changes to relieve stress in your daily life. Women’s Health offers some healthy solutions to avoid stress traps:
Outsmart Stress Traps
According to the American Psychological Association, 70 percent of women make a beeline for fast-acting, unhealthy stress solutions. Next time, sub in one of these much better anxiety busters.
Tempted to…Dig into a bag of chips? Try this instead…Grab a handful of almonds. The omega-3s in nuts may help keep stress hormones such as cortisol in check, says Bernadette Latson, R.D., a nutritionist in Dallas. Other key angst-nulling noshes: oatmeal (it boosts the calming brain chemical serotonin) and oranges 9the vitamin C counters stress hormones).
Tempted to…Swing an energy drink? Try this instead…Take a nap. You can’t beat stress without shut-eye. A 20 minute siesta is enough to trigger the hormones needed to balance excess cortisol.
Tempted to…Bitch out a coworker? Try this instead…Pop a multi. That irritation and impatience may be the result of depleted stores of calcium, copper, and zinc that come with stress. Down a multivitamin to raise those levels and mellow out, says Pamela W. Smith, M.D.
Tempted to…Curl up on the sofa? Try this instead…Go out with a friend. A study in Behavioral Neuroscience found that simply being around other people may quash stress.
Tempted to…Reach for the remote? Try this instead…Spend 15 minutes in silence. This helps because “the brain doesn’t have to filter out stressful sounds,” says acupuncturist Kristen Burris.