Since 1992, healthcare professionals across the country have teamed up to increase awareness about the causes of and cures for the epidemic of stress.
What, exactly, is stress?
While it’s a word we’re all familiar with, it can be tricky to define. Stress is the body’s reaction to any change that requires an adjustment or response — whether that response is physical, mental, or emotional. Stress can be the consequence of a person’s environment, body ailments, and even thoughts. It can cause serious health problems, both mental (such as depression or anxiety) and physical (such as heart disease and high blood pressure). The bottom line is that stress is something to be prevented whenever possible.
The good news is that there are many ways to promote stress management in our lives, and self-care may be the most important. One vital goal is to get enough sleep. So, starting tonight: turn off Netflix, fluff that pillow, and truly get at least eight hours of shut-eye. Download a meditation app and — here’s the important part — actually use it, every day. Put down your phone and take a daily walk … and remember that its benefits will increase if you set out with a friend. Swap out your creaky desk chair for a yoga ball. Tackle the clutter in your life, both literally (yes, it’s time to empty out the junk drawer) and figuratively (yes, it’s time to end that toxic friendship). As you increase your self-care, your stress will decrease … it’s that simple.
Many people combat stress with drinking … and we’re not talking about a pitcher of martinis. There are several simple, healthful, and delicious beverages that have been proven to reduce anxiety. Tea, hot or cold, is always a great idea; chamomile, peppermint, lemon balm, and rose teas all offer relaxing benefits. Smoothies are not only good for you, but — depending on their ingredients — they also can work to combat stress. A favorite anti-anxiety blend includes avocado, chia seeds, cacao, and almond butter. Fresh fruit and vegetable juices are another great way to drink away stress. Studies have shown that vitamin C significantly reduces the body’s reactions to anxiety, and fresh juices are a healthy source. Finally, there’s always water. Flat or fizzy, straight-up, or with a twist of lemon, it’s a pure and delicious (not to mention easy) way to keep your cool physically and emotionally.
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Consistent visits to a day spa are another way to prevent and manage stress. Having a block of time to detach from everyday demands and reconnect with yourself is vital, and the spa is the perfect place to do both these things as you’re being pampered. The dim lights, aromatic relaxation and the tranquil music, will contribute to keeping stress at bay. They’re all examples of self-care that bolster the spirit, relax the mind, and renew the body.
Stress: it’s just about impossible to get rid of it entirely, but we can learn to live with it in a way that minimizes its effects. Self-care is imperative! This month, focus on ways you can combat stress, from small (a cup of hot tea in your favorite mug) to large (a day of head-to-toe pampering). You’ll notice a difference, we promise.
*source: Mayo Clinic