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13 Tips to Help You Manage Stress Like a Pro

Stress is an inevitable part of life. It’s not hard to feel overwhelmed once in a while, especially when you’re handling the seemingly interminable demands at work, taking care of your family, and juggling other commitments. It may seem as if anxiety and tension hold the reins to your life – but they don’t need to. In fact, you’re much more in control than you might think! Here are 13 bulletproof tips to help you manage stress and maintain a healthier, happier, and more balanced life:

How Do You Know When You’re Stressed?

Signs of stress might not appear in an obvious manner; often stress manifests in more insidious ways and can quietly take a toll on your health over the long term. Here are some of the most common symptoms you may experience when you’re overly stressed:

  • Back pain
  • Decreased immunity
  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Dizziness
  • Falling back on negative behaviors such as overeating, smoking, or drinking alcohol
  • Fatigue
  • Feeling sad, frustrated, helpless, or even numb
  • Heart palpitations
  • Impaired concentration
  • Increased muscle tension in shoulders, jaw, abdomen, pelvis, or other areas
  • Indigestion, heartburn, or other forms of digestive distress
  • Irritability
  • Mood swings
  • Tension headaches
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Weight gain

If not properly managed, stress can raise your blood sugar, contribute toward leaky gut syndrome, cause hormonal imbalances and mood imbalances like depression and anxiety, weaken your immune system, and pave the way to cardiovascular disease. Fortunately, making a few easy changes can help you control the hold stress has on your life.

Address the Underlying Causes of Stress

Take a close look at your life – what are your biggest pain points that are worrying you? Is it your job or commute? Have you been unwillingly sacrificing your time to address others’ needs? Draw up a strategy to eliminate or at least reduce these sources of stress. Learn to say “no” wherever you can. You may also be experiencing some internal stressors like mercury toxicity or a deficiency in magnesium or vitamin B12. A functional doctor can help you pinpoint exactly what’s going on and how you can change it!

Tune into Your Body

You know how it feels to be overwhelmed – your muscles are tense, your breathing is shallow, and you experience a myriad of negative emotions. Interrupt your stress and calm your heart rate by focusing on your body. Breathe slowly and deeply for 5 to 10 minutes to activate your parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) and visualize yourself in a serene setting. Loosen your muscles by stretching, taking a warm shower, and trying progressive muscle relaxation. If you suffer from chronically tense muscles, learning some tricks about myofascial release could benefit you as well.

Optimize Your Nutrition

You may feel the need to indulge in sugary treats when you’re feeling frazzled, but try to resist for your body’s sake. Caffeine, alcohol, refined sugar, and processed foods do nothing but starve your nutrient-craving body. Avoid these foods and choose whole, nutrient-dense foods like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, and sources of lean protein. A well-balanced diet will work wonders in helping you fight stress, bolster your brain’s health, and improve your mental well-being!

Try Herbs and Supplements When Appropriate

Sometimes the right combination of specific supplements, vitamins, and/or herbs could be the key to helping you cope successfully with stress. A multivitamin is a good step in the right direction; however, you may want to increase your intake of particular vitamins like C, B5, B6, the B-complex vitamins, zinc, or magnesium. Certain adaptogenic herbs like ashwagandha, cordyceps, and ginseng can also help you live a more balanced life. We can help figure out which combination works best for you and your unique body!

Reframe Your Stressors

When things feel overwhelming, it’s always wise to take a step back and slow down. Break down big jobs into more bite-sized ones, take time for some deep breathing, and accept what you can’t change. Try not to shoot for perfection – it isn’t possible – and do your best to keep your sense of humor about the situation. Laughing is always the best medicine!

Talk It Out

Sharing your feelings and your problems with people who care about you is an excellent way to lower stress. Your friends and family are vital when it comes to maintaining a healthy way of living for the long term! Even if you can’t physically be with them, connecting through a variety of online platforms or talking on the phone can work just as well. If you find you need more help, speaking with a professional counselor can also benefit your well-being.

Disconnect From Your Devices

It seems like our smartphones are always with us anymore. Take time to unplug and disconnect from your smart devices, computer, and television, and limit the news and media you consume. Reconnect to yourself and your surroundings by watching happy or funny movies, listening to your favorite music, or immersing yourself in nature.

Get Up and Exercise

The mind-body connection is real, and one of the best ways to shut off stress and heal your mind is getting up and exercising on a regular basis. That means about 150 minutes of moderate exercise like brisk walks or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise every week. Working out makes you feel great in so many ways – it floods your brain with endorphins, combats depression, boosts your energy, and helps regulate your sleep. Bonus points if you can get outside to exercise; vitamin D is a powerful, feel-good vitamin that your body needs!

Activate Your Vagus Nerve

The vagus nerve is the headquarters of your PNS and communicates with the brain, heart, gut, lungs, and liver. When stimulated, the vagus nerve helps alleviate anxiety and inflammatory issues. You can activate this all-important nerve in many ways, including singing your favorite songs, taking a cold shower or splashing your face with cold water, diaphragmatic breathing, yoga, meditating, and more!

Get Plenty of Sleep

Guess what – if you regularly log in fewer than 7 hours of sleep a night, you aren’t doing your body any favors. It’s crucial that you get plenty of quality shut-eye each night! Shoot for between 7 and 9 hours of sleep to help you keep stress at bay more easily.

Tap into Your Spiritual Side

Losing yourself in prayer, guided meditation, tai chi, yoga, or even the beauty of nature can work absolute wonders for your entire well-being. Whatever it is that helps you tap into your spiritual side – do it. Make time for it. Additionally, waking up every day with a purpose, regularly expressing gratitude, keeping a gratitude journal, and doing acts of kindness for others promotes greater activity in your hypothalamus, which plays a big role in how you handle stress.

Keep Your Hands Busy

Want to get out of your head? Focus on doing something with your hands for a while. When your hands and fingers work in familiar rhythmic motions, it sends a grounding message to your brain that you can relax. Great examples include sketching, playing an instrument, knitting, baking or kneading bread, or even rock climbing!

Always Make Time for Your Hobbies

If all you do is work and worry, you’ll wind up feeling unhappy and destroying your overall well-being. Carving out even 15 to 20 minutes a day to engage in a relaxing activity you love can help relieve stress. Read a novel, make a scarf, draw a comic, play some golf, watch a few funny videos on YouTube, put a puzzle together, or play a board game with your family!

Let The Wellness Connection Help You Tackle Stress

Learning how to manage your stress properly takes time, practice, and patience, but if you follow these tips regularly, you should see success! If you’d like to dig deeper and see how you can further optimize your life, rely on the team at The Wellness Connection. We take a holistic approach to helping you live your best life possible! Call us today at (636) 978-0970 or schedule a virtual or in-person appointment with us!

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