Top 10 Tips to Reduce Stress
We can be pretty certain that in the last couple of years, people have experienced stress in a way they may never have experienced it before. Stress is certainly something that I’m familiar with myself. As a single mum of 2 kids, I have juggled full time study to earn a degree and 2 diplomas, while starting two businesses.
There were many challenging times along my journey and I had to learn some coping mechanisms to get through it. It was either sink or swim and I chose to keep paddling.
Here are some of my top tips for coping with stress:
Every thought has a corresponding physiological response. Positive thoughts = less stress.
Exercise helps you sleep better and helps you let off steam when you’re feeling wound up.
BreatheBreathe properly. Breathe into your belly instead of your chest and count to 6 on the out breath to slow your breathing down.
MeditateFind a meditation app you enjoy and meditate for at least 5 minutes every day.
LaughWatch comedy shows or movies, laugh with your friends and have fun with your partner.
Eat wellAdequate protein, carbohydrates and fats are essential for healthy neurotransmitter function. 5+ veggies and 2 pieces of fruit are vital for a healthy mind, body and soul.
Ensure an adequate intake of vitamins B, C and D
When a person is stressed, the adrenal glands require higher levels of vitamins B5 and C in particular. Vitamin D helps to manage mood.
Increase intake of calcium, magnesium and zinc and avoid copper
Having a hot cup of milk to relax isn’t just an old wives tale it’s a good idea! Calcium and magnesium are relaxing minerals and when taken at night may help you to drift off to sleep. A well absorbed, high quality form of calcium is calcium citrate. High quality forms of magnesium include magnesium citrate and magnesium amino acid chelate. A therapeutic dose of calcium is 500mg of elemental calcium (make sure you check the label for the word elemental, it's the amount that is actually in there). Your body can't absorb more than 500mg at one time so if your health practitioner has advised you need to supplement with more than this, you should split up the dose. Calcium supplements should contain vitamin K2 to help direct calcium into bones and out of the arteries (this helps to reduce cardiovascular risk). Ask your naturopath or nutritionist to check your zinc and copper levels. Zinc is required to make serotonin, a neurotransmitter that is depleted under long term stress. High copper levels are associated with heightened anxiety.
Sleep is so important for our mental health and wellbeing so 7-8 hours a night is a priority. Invest in blackout curtains, keep a window open at night for ventilation, read a book before bed rather than a screen and keep the lights low for a few hours before bed to promote the production of melatonin. Go to bed and get up at the same time each day.