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Dear Stress, Let’s Break Up: 10 Tips To Help You De-Stress

Dear Stress, Let’s Break Up: 10 Tips To Help You De-Stress

The mind and the body feed one another continuously, so if you are challenged by stress, this can certainly affect your overall wellness. Long-term stress can bring about significant changes in your body, and even bursts of short-term stress can temporarily decrease your overall health.

Getting rid of all the stress completely from your life may be challenging, but in this fast-paced world, it is vital to develop coping skills that can help you avoid the serious health impacts that can arise from unmanaged stress. If your stress levels are overwhelming and debilitating, be brave enough to seek support from stress-management groups and practitioners.

Life is far too short and way too precious to share it with stress. Your wellness is priceless. You deserve to feel calm and at peace every single day.

These 10 tips are not only easy to incorporate into your day, they can help to relieve your stress and bring balance back into your body, mind, and spirit. There is no time like the present to break up with stress.

1. Learn the power of deep breathing

Breathing is something we all do, and yet it is something we rarely pay attention to. Focussing on breathing is one of the most powerful ways to calm and connect the mind, body, and spirit. When we focus on the breath, we can learn to control our stress levels, calm ourselves, and regain clarity of mind.

If you can only remember one piece of information when you are drowning in stress, remember this: Take 3 deep breaths.

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Such a simple yet powerful way to help reduce those feelings of anxiety and panic that often accompany stress.

2. Don’t underestimate the value of a good night’s sleep

Chronic stress can really interfere with sleep. Sleep directly affects almost every area of our health, so a restless night tossing and turning can increase our stress levels dramatically.

Pay attention to your sleep environment. Create a restful atmosphere that supports a peaceful sleep. From sprinkling a little lavender oil on your pillow to ensuring there are no televisions, computers, or electrical devices in the room, create a comfortable setting that encourages rest.

Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and big meals in the evening. Stay away from computers and late night TV and instead, wind down with some relaxing music, some beautiful herbal tea, and empty your mind of any stressful thoughts.

3. Try calming foods

When we are overly stressed, many of us reach for stimulants like coffee, alcohol, and unhealthy food for comfort. Particularly during times of stress, we should be reaching for calming foods — not comfort foods.

The best way to increase your energy levels is to consume delicious healthy food. Whether it is because of the specific nutrients or the steady reliable source of energy that healthy food gives you, eating nutrient-rich foods that promote wellbeing will support your body during stress.

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Pay attention to your diet. The food you eat can change your life in more ways than you can ever imagine.

4. A scent can evoke peace

The part of the brain that processes odours is very close to the part that houses emotions as well as memories. When you inhale a scent that you love, like perfume or the scent from a flower, you naturally breathe more deeply, which can help you to relax.

Just by inhaling essential oils, we can minimize our stress, anxiety, or any other emotional trauma instantly.

These scents are particularly helpful for easing stress:

  • Lavender – reduces mental stress
  • Jasmine – uplifting and relaxing
  • Rose – nourishes the heart and evokes feelings of reassurance
  • Peppermint – reduces fatigue

5. Meditation, yoga, and prayer

It is possible to reduce your stress levels and improve your mind health by incorporating 20 minutes of either prayer, yoga, or meditation into your day. Relaxation and spiritual support is vital for managing stress. Although it may seem strange, one of the best things we can do during times of high stress is actually not much at all. By that I mean, be still, be quiet, and be observant.

6. Manage your energy

Throughout every minute of every day, you are presented with opportunities that will either deplete or replenish your energy.

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Negative relationships, negative environments, gossip, negative thinking. These are all things that will drain your energy.

Healthy relationships, productive environments, positive thinking and participating in activities that will lift you up are all things that will increase your energy.

Learn to say no, to set clear boundaries and make positive choices in all areas of your life to help alleviate stress. Keeping your energetic body healthy is a surefire way to replenish a weary soul.

7. Use positive statements

We all know that there is great power in the spoken word, so when you are faced with stress, acknowledge the benefits of positive affirmations.

I choose to feel calm.
I am clearing my mind of stressful thoughts.
I am releasing stress from every cell in my body.

Positive affirmations can change your body’s energy. They can raise your vibration and release stress.

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8. Shake it off

Exercise increases endorphins, the brain’s feel-good transmitters. It improves your mood, energizes you, helps you to relax and sleep better, and when your body feels good, so does your mind.

9. Laughter is the best medicine

Laughing is a fantastic way to release more of those feel-good endorphins throughout your body. Get together with your favourite friends and share some laughs. Watch a hilarious feel-good movie. When you are going through a stressful time, laughter can instantly release some of that negative energy.

10. Make time for simple pleasures

Often, when we are overwhelmed with stress, the simplest of acts can improve our outlook as well as our mood. When you are drowning in stress, make the time for simple pleasures. It is amazing how healing a walk along the beach can be. Witnessing a sunset or sunrise can put life back into perspective. Getting back to nature and walking through a beautiful park or forest can ground us. It is often the simplest of acts that holds the most profound solutions to all life’s stresses.

Unmanaged stress can impact your health, your family, and reduce the quality of your life. When you invest in your wellness, mind, body, and spirit, you show your family and your loved ones an example of positive self-esteem. How well you manage your stress determines the quality of your life.

Featured photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/eflon/ via flic.kr

More by this author

Jo Ettles

Jo Ettles is a published self help author, international writer, speaker and extremely gifted intuitive life coach.

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Last Updated on October 16, 2018

The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

It’s well past midnight and you’ve got to get up in less than six hours. You toss and turn all night. Before you know it, another hour passes by and you start panicking.

If I don’t get to sleep in the next 30 minutes, I’m going to be exhausted tomorrow!”

One thing is for sure, you’re not alone. Over 70M+ Americans have stated that they don’t get the proper sleep they need at night.[1] So what could possibly be causing this insomnia epidemic?

Throughout my entrepreneurial journey of building my language learning company, I have experimented and researched dozens of best sleep practices. Some have flopped but a few have dramatically improved the quality of my life and work.

In this article, I’ll look into the reason why you’re sleep deprived and how to sleep through the night tonight.

Why you can’t sleep through the night

The first step to improving anything is getting to the bottom of the root problem. Different studies have shown the reasons why most people cannot sleep well at night.[2] Here are the main ones that the average person faces:

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Stress

If you’ve ever stayed up at night worrying about something, know that it’s a major sleep inhibitor. When you’re feeling stress, your mind and body becomes more activated, making it incredibly difficult to fall asleep. Even when you do manage to sleep, it won’t be deep enough to help you feel rested the next day.

Exposure to blue light before sleep time

We’re exposed to harmful blue light on a daily basis through the use of our digital screens. If you’ve never heard of blue light, it’s part of the visible light spectrum that suppresses melatonin, our sleep hormones. Other harmful effects include digital eye strains and macular cellular damage.

While daytime exposure to blue light is not very harmful, night time exposure tricks our brain into thinking it’s daytime. By keeping your brain alert and suppressing melatonin, your mind is unable to shut down and relax before bedtime.

Eating close to bedtime

Eating too late can actually be an issue for many people, especially those who are older than 40. The reason is, eating before laying down increases the chances of Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), in which stomach acid backflows into the esophagus.

Another reason not to eat too late is sleep quality. Even if you manage to sleep right after eating, it’s likely that you’ll wake up tired. Instead of letting your body rest during sleep, it has to digest the food that was entered before bedtime.

Rule of thumb: eat 3-4 hours before bedtime.

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Medical conditions

In some cases, it could be medical conditions that cause your sleep problems. If you can’t relate yourself to the above reasons or any of these common sleep problem causes, you should visit the doctor.

The vicious sleep cycle

The biggest danger to repeating the bad habits mentioned above is the negative cycle that it can take you through. A bad night’s sleep can affect not only your energy but your willpower and decision making skills.

Here’s an example of a bad sleep pattern:

You get a bad night’s sleep
–> You feel tired and stressful throughout the day.
–> You compensate it with unhealthy habits (for example junk food, skipping exercises, watching Netflix etc.)
–> You can’t sleep well (again) the next night.

    You can imagine what could happen if this cycle repeats over a longer period of time.

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    How to sleep better (throughout the night)

    To help you break the vicious cycle and stop waking up in the middle of the night, I’ll explain to you a list of actionable steps to solve your trouble staying asleep.

    1. Take control over the last 90 minutes of your night

    What you do (or don’t do) before bedtime have significant impact on the quality of your sleep. Many times, it can be the difference between staying up until 4am and sleeping like a baby.

    Here are a few suggestions:

    • Go from light to dark – Darkness stimulates production of the sleep hormone melatonin. Turn off unused light around the house, and think about investing into warm light that you can use in the bedroom before bedtime.
    • Avoid screens (or wear blue light blocking glasses) – Keep the bedroom a technology-free zone as the light from electronic devices can disturb your sleep. If you need to work, wear blue light blocking glasses (also known as computer glasses) throughout or before you sleep to prevent sleep disruption.
    • Find an activity that helps you to wind down  This could be anything that calms you down, and reduces thinking (especially unnecessary stress). Fir example, listening to soothing/good feel music, taking a hot bath, reading or meditating.
    • Keep any electronics you have on the other side of the room or outside the room – One of the most harmful things that can disrupt your sleep is the notifications you get from your smartphones. The simplest way to avoid this is to keep it away from you.
    • Create a bedtime routine – A night routine is a couple of things you do prior to going to bed. By doing these things every night, you’ll have a more restful and high-quality sleep. Learn how to pick up a night routine here: The Ultimate Night Routine Guide to Sleep Better and Wake Up Productive

    2. Eat the right nutrients (and avoid the wrong ones)

    What you eat (not just when we eat) plays a critical role in your sleep quality. If you’re ever in doubt of what to eat to improve your sleep, take the following into consideration:

    • Kiwi – This green fruit may be the ultimate pre-bed snack. When volunteers ate two kiwis an hour before hitting the hay, they slept almost a full extra hour. Kiwis are full of vitamins C and E, serotonin and folate—all of which may help you snooze.
    • Soy foods – Foods made with soy such as tofu, miso and edamame, are rich in isoflavones. These compounds increase the production of serotonin, a brain chemical that influences the body’s sleep-wake cycle.
    • Fiber-rich foods – Eating more fiber could be key for better sleep. Eating fiber was associated with more restorative slow-wave sleep—the more you eat, the better you sleep—per a study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. Fiber prevents blood sugar surges that may lower melatonin. Get a fiber boost from beans, artichokes, bran cereal and quinoa.
    • Salmon – Most fish, especially salmon, halibut and tuna boost vitamin B6, which is needed to make melatonin— a sleep-inducing hormone triggered by darkness.

    3. Adjust your sleep temperature

    Once you’ve gone through the first 2 recommendations, the last step to experiment with is temperature. According to Sleep.org, the ideal temperature for sleep is 60-67 Farenheit. This may be cooler than what most people are used to, but keep in mind that our body temperature changes once we fall asleep.

    Rule of thumb: sleeping in cooler temperature is better for sleep quality than warmer temperature.

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    Find out how to maintain the optimal temperature to sleep better here: How to Sleep Faster with the Best Temperature

    Sleep better form now on

    Congrats on making it to the end of this guide on sleep. If you’re serious about taking the necessary steps in improving your sleep, remember to take it one step at a time.

    I recommend trying just one of the steps mentioned such as taking a hot bath, blocking out blue light at night, or sleeping in cooler temperature. From there, see how it impacts your sleep quality and you can keep doing what works, and throw away what doesn’t.

    As long as you follow these steps cautiously and diligently, I know you’ll see improved results in your sleep!

    Featured photo credit: pixabay via pixabay.com

    Reference

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