April is Stress Awareness Month, which aims to increase public awareness about the causes and curses of stress. Did you know that 73% of people report having stress that impacts their mental health? Stress can be defined as any change we experience that causes us to feel overwhelmed, frustrated, or nervous. Thankfully, there are lots of ways that we can be mindful and work to decrease the everyday stress that we experience. In honor of Stress Awareness Month, we’ll discuss 5 daily practices that you can incorporate into your routine to help reduce stress!
- Maintain a Healthy Diet
When we eat sugary foods, our blood sugar spikes which leads to a blood sugar crash. During that crash, you can experience stress and anxiety because your body starts to produce adrenaline. Saying no to sugary foods, focusing on maintaining healthy diet, and eating at regular times can help reduce stress and avoid your next sugar crash.
- Get Moving
Walking is a great way to reduce stress. Cardiovascular exercise helps to boost endorphins which work to reduce stress hormones. Going for a walk, bicycling, yoga – any movement that you enjoy that gets your heart pumping can help reduce your stress level.
- Stay Hydrated
Cortisol is a stress hormone. When we’re dehydrated, we can have higher levels of cortisol. Drinking water isn’t an easy fix for stress, but it’s something we should all be mindful of to ensure our body is functioning the best it can. Try to drink 2 liters of water each day to reduce your stress level and stay hydrated!
When we’re dehydrated, we can have higher levels of cortisol. Drinking water isn’t an easy fix for stress, but it’s something we should all be mindful of to ensure our body is functioning the best it can. Try to drink 2 liters of water each day to reduce your stress level and stay hydrated!
- Practice Meditation
Meditation is great for stress relief, but did you know that it may help relieve symptoms from heart disease and high blood pressure, too? Start by practicing just five minutes of meditation. Sit in a quiet, comfortable space, and close your eyes. Try to put your thoughts aside and focus on your breathing. Keep in mind, this is a practice! It may be difficult to focus at first, but the more often you try, the easier it will get.
- Get Restful Sleep
In 2016, 40% of Americans said their stress level contributed to their lack of sleep. When we feel stressed, we are actually signaling to our brain that we are in danger. This impacts our ability to fall asleep. To help yourself get restful sleep, try to avoid blue light and bright lights an hour before you plan to lay down for the night. The Sleep Foundation recommends removing all electronic devices from your bedroom if possible. When we get restful sleep, our bodies are able to fully recharge and help us combat stress for the next day.
It’s important to pay attention to our stress levels and prioritize our well-being. Daily stresses in our lives will continue to exist, but as we try to focus on our diet and exercise, hydrate, practice mindfulness, and get restful sleep – we can make a positive impact on our stress level.