Feeling stressed? You’re not alone. According to a recent study published in the American Psychological Association, three quarters of Americans experience symptoms related to stress in a given month.
Proper stress management is crucial to wellness and in honor of National Stress Awareness Day, let’s all take a moment to de-stress and calm down, so to speak.
Below are some tips and wellness hacks to help you steal a moment of calm and help you deal with everyday stress.
Reach for the right foods.
People typically reach for sweets and comfort foods when they’re feeling stressed. Instead, choose foods such as sweet potatoes, leafy greens and blueberries, all of which contain vitamins and nutrients known to reduce stress. When your stress levels go up, your vitamin C levels go down, so it’s especially important to eat fruits like oranges, pineapple, and grapefruit, and vegetables like Brussels sprouts, squash, broccoli and spinach.
Fish for dinner can also lead to a calmer state of mind. Fish helps to stabilize serotonin levels, which helps to manage stress.
Enjoy a relaxing massage.
Beyond feeling awesome, massage is a great stress reducer. Massage lowers your heart rate and blood pressure, relaxes your muscles, and even increases your endorphins. When you don’t have time for a full massage, certain acupressure points can reduce stress and even ease a tension headache.
Feel a tension headache coming on? Try this quick tip: Apply gentle pressure to the two points on the back of your neck, just below the base of your skull. These spots are known as the “gates of the consciousness.” Take a few full, deep breaths, as you press underneath the base of your skull on both sides, about four finger widths, or three inches, apart. Use your thumbs to gradually apply pressure into the hollows of your skull. Close your eyes as you tilt your head back slowly. Take long, slow deep breaths as you hold for two to three minutes. Direct the pressure slowly and firmly into the center of your head.
We may be a little biased, but a MyoBuddy percussive massage is super relaxing and feels amazing!
Work it out with a workout.
Exercise is great for staying fit and controlling your weight, but did you know that it can also do wonders for lowering your stress levels? Emerging research suggests that aerobic exercise increases your levels of norepinephrine, a chemical that helps the brain deal more efficiently with stress. For the best results, aim for 30 minutes of exercise five times a week.
Essential Oils to the rescue!
Lavender essential oil is our favorite stress reducer. Clary sage is also relaxing and de-stressing, and also has a warming and uplifting effect on your emotions (which is especially helpful when you’re feeling extra stressed!) Try putting a few drops of one or both oils in a diffuser or if you’re on the go, put a drop of oil in a tissue and smell it occasionally.
Mother nature, think of it as nature’s totally free anti-anxiety medication! When you live in urban areas or work indoors with a desk job, you are very likely suffering from a lack of nature. Go for a walk, sit outside and listen to music, take your dog for a walk in the park, or meditate in the grass. It may seem daunting to do so, but research shows mindfulness is an important skill to master, and that people who meditate (even for 5 minutes a day) receive amazing health benefits!