Stress is a natural reaction from your nervous system that can be helpful at times, but excessive levels of stress can lead to health problems and even a higher risk of chronic diseases.
The key to limiting stress is understanding what causes it and finding ways to cope with it. Taking a break, exercising, eating right and sleeping well can help.
1. Take a break.
Taking a break from work can reduce stress, help you focus and boost productivity. It also helps you maintain a healthy level of work-life balance.
The best way to get the most out of your breaks is to take them on a regular basis. This can mean planning a vacation, staying in a hotel or simply going on short walks to unwind.
While it can be difficult to find the time to take a break, you can try interleaving tasks and switching your focus. For example, you might switch from writing an essay to reading for your literature class or revising a paper, which can feel like a break in your mind because it uses a different part of the brain.
But it is crucial that you and your partner agree on what a break will look like before you initiate one. You also need to discuss what you want out of the break and what checkpoints will help you keep track of your progress.
Many people are afraid of adding exercise to their busy schedule, but it’s actually a great way to limit stress. Just 10 minutes of brisk walking, for example, can relieve anxiety and calm your heart rate and mind.
You can also take on a more challenging workout with friends or co-workers to give yourself extra motivation. Team sports like basketball, football, or soccer can also help you relieve stress while having fun with the people you love.
In addition to promoting health, physical activity can reduce stress, improve sleep, and boost your mood. It can also make you more resilient, which helps you deal with stressful situations in a healthy way.
3. Eat right.
Eating right is important for health, but it can be a real challenge for those feeling stressed. This is because stress can trigger cravings for foods high in fat and sugar, which may have short-term benefits but are also bad for the body.
Instead, try to eat more healthy and nutritious foods that are low in saturated fat and have no added sugar. These include vegetables, whole grains, fruits, and lean meats.
Eating right can reduce stress and help you stay at a healthy weight. It can also improve your sleep quality and help you maintain a balanced energy level throughout the day.
4. Sleep well.
Getting enough sleep is one of the most important things you can do for yourself. It boosts your immune system, improves memory and cognition, and helps you feel more energized during the day.
Moreover, it can help you build better relationships. When you’re well-rested, it’s easier to be a good listener and empathize with others.
Sleeping well also promotes heart health and blood sugar control. Besides, it prevents weight gain and inflammation. It can even enhance athletic performance.
5. Take care of yourself.
Taking care of yourself is an important way to limit stress. It helps you feel more in control of your life and improves mental health.
Self-care doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming. It can simply be about freeing up space in your schedule to do the things that are most important to you.
It’s also about removing those things that drain your energy and take you away from the people you love.
One way to get started with your self-care routine is to make a list of things that you’d like to do more often and a list of things that you’d rather not do at all. When you’re stuck in a cycle of stressors, this simple exercise can help you move on and find a new balance in your life.