Ten Simple Ways to Reduce Stress

By Guest Contributor Ysolt Usigan, Shape.com

simplewaystodestress

These days, everyone is “stressed out.” There isn’t a week that goes by that you don’t hear the phrase. Margaux J. Rathbun, certified nutritional therapy practitioner and creator of nutrition website Authentic Self Wellness, points out the obvious sources of stress: deadlines at work, relationships, financial issues, etc.

“Some people handle stress well, but for others it can be devastating. Stress can cause fatigue, chronic headaches, irritability, changes in appetite, memory loss, low self-esteem, withdrawal, teeth grinding, even cold hands,” she says. “All of these symptoms can have an extremely negative effect on our quality of life, our health, and can ultimately lead to a shorter life span.”

To cope with stress and anxiety, and improve your life, follow these expert de-stressing tips…

1. Drink Tea

“Chamomile tea is a gentle relaxant that acts as a nerve tonic and a sleeping aid,” Rathbun says. “If you experience a long day and can’t seem to calm down, brew yourself a nice cup of chamomile tea with some added honey for a boost of nutrients.”

2. Say No to Coffee

Limit your intake of caffeine to de-stress, Rathbun says. It can contribute to nervousness and mood swings.

3. Avoid Processed Foods

Processed foods can create stress on the digestive system, Rathbun says. “These foods include artificial sweeteners, soft drinks, fried foods, junk/fast foods, sugar, white flour products, and foods that contain preservatives.”

4. Eat Ginger

“The next time you are feeling stressed or tired from anxiety, reach for some ginger. There is nothing like a little spice to perk you up,” Rathbun says.

5. Have Some Flaxseed Oil

Flaxseed oil has also been known to help improve moods and boost brain function. “I always add Barleans Organic Flax Oil to my morning smoothies for a boost of omega-3 fatty acids,” Rathbun says. “I recommend this brand because it’s been cold-expeller pressed to keep all the mood-boosting nutrients intact.”

6. Just Breathe

Janel Ovrut Funk, a Boston-based registered dietitian and blogger of EatWellWithJanel.com, suggests to breathe! “This stress reduction tip can be done anytime, and anywhere—when you’re stuck in traffic, working on a massive project, or plowing through an extra-long to-do list,” Ovrut Funk says. “Deep breathing instantly calms you down, and sometimes imagining that you’re blowing out any stress or negative feelings helps!”

7. Unplug

That includes your phone, Kindle, iPod, iPad, laptop, and even TV. “While these are all great inventions, they make us feel like we always have to be plugged in, responding to messages as soon as we receive them, or browsing the Twitter/Instagram/Pinterest/Facebook updates,” Ovrut Funk says. Give yourself a break. “Even unplugging for 30 minutes a day can help you relax,” she says.

8. Get Moving

“[Exercising] sounds counterintuitive since it’s the opposite of relaxing, but I find working up a good sweat helps me sleep deeper and feel more relaxed at night,” Ovrut Funk says. “Even a few stretches before bed can help you relax and fall asleep quicker.”

9. Analyze

Katie Clark, registered dietitian in San Diego and blogger of FiberIstheFuture.com, says learning to recognize the signs of stress is also a good strategy. That way, you can bypass it if you know it’s coming.

10. Take a Day Off

Your boss may not agree, but taking a personal day or even a half day can do wonders if you’re stressed out. “Giving yourself an occasional day off — particularly a weekday — helps clear up room to really relax on the weekend,” Clark says. “How often do you find yourself clamoring to get everything done in a weekend and before you know it, it’s Monday morning again? An occasional day or half-day off gives you an opportunity to get some of your personal errands and tasks out of the way so you can truly relax on the weekend, for once!”

What helps you de-stress?

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