Do you feel like you have no energy to do anything? Do you deal with frequent headaches? Or maybe you experience digestion-related problems, rapid heartbeat, sleep difficulties, and loss of sexual desire? While all these problems seem random, they are symptoms of stress and a vast majority of people experience them at one point or another. The modern lifestyle gives us numerous perks, but at the same time, it can be very stressful.
Balancing home and work life can be very hectic for every person and let’s not forget that you need to have a social life as well. Stress is a physical response that occurs when the body thinks it’s under attack and switches to “fight or flight” mode. Most of us repeat the same mistake – we don’t take daily stress seriously and fail to do something about it.
When left unresolved, stress can create numerous problems and contribute to many health conditions. Besides the above-mentioned symptoms, other effects of stress are:
- Weakened immune system
- Rapid breathing
- High blood sugar
- Higher heart attack risk
- High blood pressure
- Fertility problems
- Skin problems
- Menstrual irregularities
- Tense muscles
According to the American Institute of Stress 77% of people regularly experience physical symptoms of stress while 73% report psychological symptoms and money is the leading cause of stress for 76% of people in the US. Evidence shows that young people spend more than six hours a day feeling stressed out, which is a major cause for concern. Yet another worrying discovery is that one in ten people feel like they have no one turn to in times of stress.
A recent study found that heightened activity in amygdala triggers a series of events throughout the body that raises the risk of cardiovascular problems, including heart attack. Amygdala is a part of the brain involved in the processing of intense emotions like fear, anxiety, and stress.
Although stress is a natural response made by our body, no cure or magic potion would stop stress from coming back again. But, you’re not powerless here!
There are many ways you can manage stress for peace of mind and better health. Options are endless and they start with a healthy lifestyle. This post will provide all the information you need to maintain your health and reduce daily stress. A team of experts’ on Consumer Health Digest is more than happy to share easy, practical, and effective ways you can do to feel better than ever.
- Cena Block
- Biet Simkin
- Peggy Sealfon
- Art Markman
- Kaleigh McMordie
- Madeline Basler
- Katherine Fox
- Toni Marinucci
- Mary Ellen Phipps
- Ajia Cherry
- Nic Makim
- Kelli Shallal
- Mary Sabat
- Carolyn Scott-Hamilton
- Maria Faires
- Karin Lawson
- Brittany Ferrell
- Dr. Lori Shemek
- Maria Sorbara Mora
- Evita Ochel
- Alisha Hawrylyszyn Frank
- Sarah Carlson
- Sarah Hortman
- Kristin Eyschen
- Kristyn Hall
- Jessica Malingowski
- Christina Carlyle
- Ellen Burgan
- Munira Saleh
- Roland Bal
- Tiffany Martin
- Amy Scott Grant
- Lindsey Pine
- Jess Ledwig
- Shallah Panjwani
- Amber George
Consumer Health Digest's Expert's Roundup on Tips & Strategies on How to Maintain Health & Reduce Daily Stress
Cena Block(Life and Business Coach for Professional Women and ADHD)
Remember, not all stress is bad. In fact, without stress, many people find life boring or even can fall into depression. Your first step to reducing stress is deepening your self-awareness, and working with your style rather than against your natural idiosyncrasies is the key.
Managing stress has to do with consistently focusing on your power rather than your problems, and making micro adjustments all day long to help you make the most of the tension you experience. Tension is often a result of pursuing things for which you are not well-matched.
Your style preferences are defined by what you do every day 'naturally'. Moving more toward ease, and recognizing when to move away from tension is much easier when you know yourself well.
Working with your natural style preferences help you achieve productive tension and avoid too much stress. To learn more about your style preferences, you can take the quiz: Time & Space Style Inventory at https://sanespaces.com/prm/tssimain/
Biet Simkin(Spiritual Teacher, Founder Center of the Cyclone Meditation)
We have stress every day. The reason for this is because we are being given the power to awaken to our highest selves. We are being given the needed
power to fulfill our highest wishes and walk out of our comfort zone and do epic things with our lives.
However, we don’t know what to do with all that energy, and so we waste it on worry, shame, regret, resentment, and anger, to name a few. We are doing our best, at our best, without a spiritual practice that's what we will do automatically.
If you want to be “stress-free,” you will need to find new ways to channel this energy. The energy is not going anywhere. It is who you become around this energy that is what matters. Do you tense up and fight it or do you relax and allow it simply be?
Sounds easier than it is I suppose, because when we try to relax, sometimes we tense up even more! One cannot use the mind to relax. That’s not where relaxation comes from. Relaxation comes from the need for you to “know” fading and in its place a deep sense of being. One cannot drop needing to know unless they have something to replace it with.
One needs to get into their body and their spiritual world if they want to relax. It is only in that space that feelings and thoughts can be processed at a proper speed. The brain is slow and processes things in black and white forever. It looks like this; yes, no, yes, no, good, bad, good, bad, yes, no, yes, no… on repeat forever!
No end to that game! When you move into your body and into a meditative state, then you find third energy, one that lives outside of yes or no paradigm, outside of good and bad, and just is filled with ease and flow. This place inside you is longing for you. It is the great marriage that all of us are looking for. I am sure you have heard it said, “you are the one you have been waiting for.”
With meditation, this space can be found easily. Meditation is the number one tool for getting out of your head and into your soul and body. Remember, your body is a travel instrument to the place inside you that isn’t locatable in the 3-dimensional space. The part of you that is unexplainable. The part of you that knows everything understands everything and is truly alive!
If you are new to meditation, simply begin by sitting in silence with no technology for 15 minutes a day. If you want to use music that is fine as well. If you have a hard time sitting still, fill the 15 minutes with intense breathing, swaying your spine back and forth gently as you inhale and exhale. Your life will never be the same, and by never be the same I mean… You will find out what an awesome life is!
Peggy Sealfon(Personal Development Coach, Author, Speaker))
An important way to stay healthy and manage daily stress is to be sensitive about keeping yourself in balance. Begin by becoming more aware of your own built-in red flags. What normally happens just before you get sick?
Typically, you'll have symptoms signaling that you're out of balance. These show up in the form of brain fog, excessive worry, frequent headaches, insomnia, chronic tiredness or body aches.
When they occur, stop in your tracks. The more you notice your personal signs, the more you can learn to develop better patterns and change the old ones that cause added stress and lead to illness.
Disrupt fruitless habits by purposely opting for better options that merge mind and body. When aligned, your entire biology works more effectively, and you feel great.
So if you're run down, pay attention (it's called "mindfulness"). Instead of going full steam ahead, add yourself to your "take care of" list. Go to bed earlier, eat nutritious foods (avoid sugar), take vitamin supplements like C and D, and deliberately allocate time to de-stress.
Learn to take time-outs for meditation, yoga, qigong, or another integrative technique. If stress is chronic, commit to a restful break every day. The real secret to optimal health is being consistent and making rest periods a priority. Even pausing for as little as a minute a few times a day can make a huge difference to your overall well being. Try my free audio: 3MinutestoDestress.com
Art Markman(Professor of Psychology at the University of Texas at Austin and author of Smart Change)
One key is to remember that stress is an emotion that comes from having some concern or calamity that you are trying to avoid.
Sometimes, there are important things you need to avoid, in which case, stress is a good response. Often, though, there are other ways to think about the situation you are in. Joy, satisfaction, and happiness arise when you focus on achieving some desirable outcome and succeed.
So, to reduce stress and experience more moments of joy, happiness, and satisfaction, you need to focus your efforts on desirable things you are trying to achieve rather than negative things you are trying to avoid.
Kaleigh McMordie(Registered Dietitian)
Stress is inevitable, but how we deal with can influence our health. One of the best ways to start off your day on the right foot is to make sure you're getting enough sleep. Everyone's needs are different but aim for 7-8 hours a night.
I also like to make sure I give myself enough time in the morning so that I'm not flustered when trying to get out the door. I get up with enough time to enjoy my coffee or tea, get ready and make a nourishing breakfast. If you don't have time to make breakfast in the morning, consider making breakfast ahead of time the night before or on Sundays.
Also, make sure that you're eating enough throughout the day. You should aim for eating every 3-4 hours, so stash some healthy snacks with protein, fiber, and healthy fat with you, such as nuts, fruit, or yogurt. Also, pack a healthy lunch if you can.
Making sure you're getting enough food and high-quality carbohydrates, like whole grains, fruit, and beans, on a regular basis will keep your blood sugar from dipping too low, which often causes irritability, cloudy thinking and mood swings, which can leave daily hiccups feeling more stressful than they really are.
One of the biggest stress relievers in my life has been practicing yoga. It helps me to clear my mind and really connect my mind and body through breath. Even if it's a quick 15-minutes, I try to do some yoga every day. Meditation is another option that has similar stress-relieving benefits of yoga. There are lots of guided meditation apps that can help you if you're new to meditation.
A shift in attitude and mindset can also be a big daily stress reducer. Adding a gratitude practice to your daily routine can be helpful for making day to day life less stressful. Whether it is a gratitude journal, or a family discussion at dinner, taking the time to recognize what you are grateful for makes you feel less stressed.
Madeline Basler(MS, RDN, CDN)
Exercise, a positive attitude, tons of anti-inflammatory foods such as fruits, vegetables, fish and nuts, and a great support system!
Getting outside and going for a walk has always helped me reduce daily stress, no matter what season of life I'm experiencing. The fresh air and light exercise allows my mind to drift away from the heavy stresses just long enough to feel recharged and healthy. While I love going for a walk on the beach, being able to go for a walk around the neighborhood helps me keep my health a top priority.
Practice presence! In this day and age - we're constantly stimulated and on the go. Because I work in the field of digestive health - I often encourage my patients to do a quick mindfulness check in before they eat. I get them to place one hand on their belly, one on their chest, and close their eyes - taking 5 deep belly breaths noticing sensations in their body from head to toe. This allows them to check in, get grounded, and can help with digestive issues!
Toni Marinucci(MS, RD)
As a Registered Dietitian, I encourage my clients to maintain their health and reduce stress by committing to a healthy lifestyle. That means saying "good-bye" to restrictive diets and embracing balance in their eating habits. It means adapting the 80/20 rule; at least 80% of their calorie intake should come from whole foods and 20% or less should come from processed foods.
Foods that have added sugar, salt, or fat should be limited but do not have to be eliminated completely. I also recommend that my clients get 7-8 hours of sleep each night and 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week to improve their energy levels and mood.
The combination of these three habits is the perfect recipe for success towards a healthy lifestyle. Eating healthy + exercising regularly + getting adequate sleep = reduced stress and improved health!
Mary Ellen Phipps(Registered dietitian and blogger)
Eat regularly! Skipping meals or allowing yourself to be hungry for too long can result in increased feelings of fatigue and mental anxiety. It also prevents your brain from staying properly fueled, resulting in an inability to think clearly for some people. It's also important to note that regularly skipping meals can lead to hormone and blood sugar fluctuations that can impair overall health and wellness.
Ajia Cherry(ACE Certified Health Coach & Personal Trainer)
There are a variety of ways to maintain health and reduce daily stress. The first 'way' is to understand that you are not alone. We all get stressed out. This is something I, as a Health Coach, have also struggled with. I find that I may get stuck on the 'What Ifs' and then - I'm simply stuck. I'm overwhelmed. I'm stressed. So what do I do? Well, I use to allow it to consume me. Then I realized I wasn't doing myself or my clients any good.
I've recently discovered the App Pacifica. It's a free app that empowers you via tools for anxiety and stress that is based on cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness. It's ok to need help to get yourself passed whatever has you stressed. With the help of some self-empowering tools, it will become easier and easier to deal with unexpected roadblocks.
Nic Makim(Holistic Nutritionist, Naturopath & Yoga Teacher)
Yoga, Healthy Diet, Walking, Jogging
Kelli Shallal(Registered Dietitian)
I start every day with gratitude journaling which sets me up for a positive mindset throughout the whole day and less stress. At the end of every night, I put together a schedule for the next day and do the most important thing first. That way I immediately feel less frazzled and more accomplished right away!
Mary Sabat(ACE Certified Personal Trainer and Registered Dietitian)
Diet and exercise are going to be key components to maintaining health and reducing stress. Let's face it, people nowadays are working too much and constantly on the go.
We are bombarded with too many choices, too much to do and not enough downtime to just reflect, meditate and enjoy life. Eat real food that is organically grown or animal sources that are grass-fed, organic and/or free-range.
Choose to work exercise into your daily routine - block out time in your schedule daily alternating between cardiovascular, strength training and flexibility. Maintaining health and reducing stress is all about finding balance in your life with diet and exercise.
Learn more about healthy eating and exercise, find great recipes and connect with people that want to live well by visiting my website and joining me on social media.
Carolyn Scott-Hamilton(Holistic Nutritionist, Plant Based Foods Chef, Media Personality and Author)
Get plenty of restful sleep, take at least 5 minutes to yourself to meditate or sit quietly without technology, eat clean, exercise (if even a 10 minute walk) and breathe.
Maria Faires(Registered Dietitian and Master Personal Trainer)
Stress can increase the risk for chronic diseases and other health problems so minimizing stress is beneficial for long-term health.
Exercise is an excellent stress management tool. Studies have shown that those who report greater physical activity report less stress and lower levels of depression, decreased levels of tension, and elevation and stabilization of mood. Not only does exercise produce “feel-good” neurohormones, but benefits are also seen because of the psychological boost got from sticking to an exercise program that is enjoyable.
Exercise and stress research is usually focused on aerobic exercise. There have been consistent findings that people’s mood is enhanced after a twenty to thirty-minute session of aerobic exercise, and the positive effect can last for several hours after exercise.
But psychological benefits are also seen with strength training and mind-body exercises like yoga or tai-chi. The key is to find something that is enjoyable and includes that exercise as part of an overall stress reduction program since the evidence is strong that regular activity and stress reduction could lead to better health.
Karin Lawson(Licensed Psychologist)
(1) Have fun. As adults, we often forget that fun can be a part of our lives and in fact, an important part of our lives. It's the opposite of stress. With fun, we're free. We let go and enjoy life. If you can't think of what might be fun for you these days, go back to your childhood. What did you like as a child? Was it physical fun? Social fun? Creative or imaginative? Performing? Musical? Making things? The fun opportunities are endless.
(2) Tap into your social circle. Before we call a friend up, let's take stock of whether our friends are actually good for us. Do you feel good around your friends? Are there times you dread them? Our inner circle only needs to be a very small handful of people (2-3), but are those truly people we trust and confide in?
This is a significant piece of our stress puzzle because our social support is vital to stress management. We are social creatures. However, many times we fall into unhealthy relationships that don't actually help our stress but add to it.
Don't get me wrong. No relationship is perfect, but take a moment to think about who in your life is good for you overall. Who in your life makes you feel alive and nurtured after you've hung out with them? Cultivate those relationships.
(3) Watch out for that critical voice. Our internal critic can be a monster. Many times we're not even aware of the harsh things that we're saying to ourselves, and it can be about anything and everything from our food choice to our body shape to the joke we made at the meeting on Friday.
This internal dialogue easily creates the bulk of stress for most people. It can show up as muscle tension in the jaw, neck or hands. It can show up as an upset stomach and can intensify physical pain experiences. Instead of letting yourself be berated day after day, challenge that inner commentary.
Show yourself some compassion and ease. Give yourself permission to be human in a sea of humanity. Would you talk to your most beloved pet or friend that way? That's a quick way to test out whether what you're saying to yourself is cruel and severe. I guess that you couldn't imagine saying those things to someone you loved, so why are you saying them to yourself?
Brittany Ferrell(Mom, Wife, Teacher, Blogger)
As a busy working wife and mom, I deal with my fair share of stress! I would love to say that getting a good night's sleep and plenty of exercises is the answer to maintaining your health. But, as a mom, sleep is a luxury and exercise counts as chasing my toddler around!
When the typical healthy solutions are hard to come by, you have to be a little creative. I have three little tricks that help me stay healthy and keep stress at bay.
One, I get up early. Yes, I know sleep is important, but getting up before my daughter gives me some time to myself to organize my day and reflect over a cup of coffee.
Two, I spend uninterrupted time with my daughter at some point throughout the day. I put all technology aside and give her my undivided attention. This intentional time builds our parent/child bond and it gives me a chance to act like a kid! We play and dance and it does wonders for stress relief!
Three, I employ the use of essential oils both topically and through the use of aromatherapy. I breathe in and feel my body unwind and relax, no matter how stressful the day has been. And, if all else fails, another dance party in my kitchen with my daughter while preparing a healthy meal always does the trick!
Dr. Lori Shemek(PhD, CNC)
In order to achieve optimal health and reduce stress, it is crucial that one's diet be in order. This means choosing nutrient-dense foods that are rich in antioxidants and polyphenols.
Foods such as: tomatoes, olive oil, wild salmon, green leafy vegetables, nuts and seeds, wild fatty fish, tart cherries & berries, spices like turmeric and green tea.
These foods help to not only reverse low-level cellular inflammation, but increase mitochondrial health – this is a key point as our mitochondria NEED to be healthy in order for us to have optimized health and a leaner body.
What are mitochondria? Mitochondria are simply the tiny little engines that generate energy for every cell in our body – without them, we would not be alive. Inflammation and poor mitochondrial health go hand-in-hand.
Research shows that a nutrient dense diet, combined with any type of exercise and stress reduction, will powerfully help promote optimal health and mental well-being. An easy stress reduction technique developed by the Navy Seals, called Box Breathing, stops the stress response in its tracks.
1. Breathe in through the nose for 5 seconds
2. Hold for 5 seconds
3. Exhales for 5 seconds
4. Hold breath after the exhale for 5 seconds.
Repeat as often as needed.
Practicing this technique every day will help to help reduce stress along with eating a diet high in nutrients that nourish your cells and moving your body will help promote optimal health and well-being.
Maria Sorbara Mora(Founder, Registered Dietitian, Yoga Therapist)
Eating a proper, balanced and nourishing diet is a great way to maintain health AND reduce daily stress. How does eating healthfully promote stress reduction? Undereating, overeating, chronic dieting and skipping meals causes stress hormone Cortisol to increase in one’s brain and body.
An overload of Cortisol can be the cause of poor sleeping patterns, anxiety, depression, health issues, memory and concentration problems.
Eating balanced, nutritious meals and snacks every 3-4 hours maintains blood sugar and keeps Cortisol in check.
Evita Ochel(Holistic Health Teacher, Author)
The first step to successfully maintaining your health is to make it your priority. This may seem obvious. However, it is regularly overlooked in the midst of the modern busy, noisy, chaotic and stressful lifestyle. Making your health a priority means that you prioritize the things that directly create your health, like proper nourishment, hydration, sleep, physical activity and mental rejuvenation.
Tending properly to the needs of our body and mind automatically makes us more resilient and capable of dealing with any stressors that come our way in more effective and less destructive ways.
A healthy lifestyle that nurtures the needs of our body and mind is also a naturally stress-reducing lifestyle by design. The right food, water, sleep, exercise, and relaxation, through things like meditation or time spent in nature, all help to reduce stress in our body and mind.
Finally, to reduce stress, we also have to take action and create the best circumstances we can in our lives. While we will never be able to control everything in our external reality, we have more control over our circumstances than we realize, based on the choices we make daily.
So rather than settling for or subjecting yourself to stressors that you have control over, reduce your stress by taking action to create effective changes in areas like your work, relationships and personal environment for optimal wellbeing.
Alisha Hawrylyszyn Frank(Healer)
How does one maintain health and reduce daily stress?
Meditation (yes it is this simple). Meditation allows an individual to make the best choices for him or her Self by calming one's mind, centering one's understanding and creating sacred space to be honored.
Sarah Carlson(Women’s lifestyle blogger & Fitness Instructor)
Take time to rejuvenate, don't feel guilty for needing a few minutes to yourself to just sit. Find something that makes you happy and find time in your day(s) to make it happen.
Some great ideas for this might be a favorite cup of tea or coffee or attending a yoga or pilates class. Maybe it's soothing for you just to take a walk around the block and get some fresh air; these are all great ways to help soothe and calm yourself amidst any stress or day to day chaos.
Sarah Hortman(MS, RDN, PhD Candidate)
Healthy living promotes well-being and reduces the stress we all encounter periodically. Nutrition is a primary factor in this equation of health. Functional nutrition is a foundation for health promotion with the health properties of functional foods supported by ongoing scientific evidence.
All foods provide a basic function of providing energy or nutrients for growth and maintaining our body processes. However, functional foods promote health and may reduce disease risk. A combination of functional nutrition, physical activity, and stress management allows our body and mind to function at a high level, promoting health and precluding disease.
Whole foods such as plant-based foods are the basic functional food category. Most Americans are not consuming enough of these plant-based foods, critical for good health. A 2017 report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed only about 1 in 10 American adults consume the recommended 5-9 daily servings of vegetables and fruits.
Consuming plant-based foods helps to prevent weight gain. Excess weight can also lead to chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes. Fiber in fruits and vegetables can help prevent weight gain and manage weight as they are filling, slow digestion, keep blood glucose levels steadier after a fiber-rich meal, and assist in cleaning out the digestive tract and aid in preventing bile reabsorption causing the liver to utilize more cholesterol from the body.
The health benefits of adding plant-based foods are plentiful. The compounds or phytochemicals in plant-based foods help them fend off insects plus their own strains of viruses and bacteria affecting plants, keeping the plant healthy. These plant compounds also benefit human health.
Research has identified potential roles these phytonutrients play in health, immunity, chronic disease and aging. There are thousands of phytochemicals, and many give vegetables, fruits, and whole grains their color, so consume many different colors for a variety of phytonutrients. Additionally, other foods such as fish, eggs, and yogurt promote health through biologically active compounds.
Health Benefits from a Sampling of Phytonutrient-Rich Foods:
1. Garlic: Potential health benefits from several compounds including allicin and ajoenes, may reduce cholesterol, inhibit plaque formation, lower blood pressure, and provide antioxidant properties that also help fight cancer formation as well as its antimicrobial properties. For best absorption, chop the garlic about 15 minutes prior to cooking for the beneficial compounds to develop.
2. Tomatoes: Evidence suggests lycopene may reduce the risk of prostate, ovarian, gastric and pancreatic cancers. This phytonutrient is best absorbed when cooked, including canned tomatoes that are heated in the canning process.
3. Egg yolks, fruits & vegetables: Evidence links promotion of eye health with consuming foods rich in lutein and zeaxanthin. The dietary cholesterol found in egg yolks help our body absorb these compounds. Eggs also provide a healthy component to the diet – they are considered the “gold standard” for protein and contain a wide range of vitamins and minerals critical to good health including vitamins A, B, D, E, choline, and iron, plus others. They are only about 70 calories each, economical and provide a feeling of satiety when eaten in a balanced meal plan. Additionally, eggs containing heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids help fill the void present in most Americans diets. These phytochemicals are also prevalent in green colored vegetables and fruits such as kale, spinach, broccoli, and kiwis plus corn and citrus.
4. Green tea: Contains biologically active plant compounds such as flavonoids (antioxidants) – specifically the polyphenols epicatechin (EC), epigallocatechin (EGC), epicatechin gallate (ECG) and epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG); theaflavin; thearubigin; flavonols – kaempferol, quercetin, and myricetin. Researched health benefits of these plant compounds include potential protection against heart disease, osteoporosis, cancer, kidney stones and weight loss. Drink brewed green tea after 3-5 minutes of steeping for maximal flavonoid availability.
5. Fish, nuts, and seeds: Research supports a potential reduction in cardiovascular disease with the intake of Omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA). Docosahexaenoic acid, DHA, found in fish such as salmon, is efficiently absorbed in the body. Eicosapentaenoic acid, EPA, is not as efficiently processed in the body. EPA is found in plant sources such as walnuts, flax and chia seeds.
6. Berries, cherries, red grapes, plums and red cabbage: These foods are rich in the flavonoid anthocyanidins, which research shows may maintain brain and immune function.
7. Apples, citrus, and berries: These foods are rich in flavanols, anthocyanins, and flavonones potentially playing a role to help promote memory retention during the aging process through a process that protects neurons from neurotoxin and inflammatory damage.
8. Whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds: Grains including wheat, rye, oat, and barley plus nuts and seeds contain lignans, phytic acid, prebiotics, and probiotics. Evidence suggests health benefits includes heart, immune, gastrointestinal and cell health.
9. Yogurt, kefir, and fermented foods: These foods contain prebiotics and probiotics including lactobacilli and bifidobacteria, which are associated with potential gastrointestinal and immune health.
Research continues to identify and clarify the health mechanisms of plant compounds, but we already know that plant foods are essential to good health. Daily consumption of a variety of fruits and vegetables as part of a balanced diet along with physical activity and stress management is critical in promoting health, quality of life and preventing chronic disease.
Kristin Eyschen(Holistic Health Coach)
My favourite tips are:
1. Don't check your emails and notifications first thing in the morning. How do you want to start the day? By reacting to stuff that's happening out there in the world or by dedicating some time just to yourself?
2. Get up early enough so you don't have to stress to get to work or to your first appointment.
3. Meditate, doesn't matter if it's just 10min and it doesn't have to be a seated meditation. There are many different ways to meditate, important thing is trying to be with yourself for a bit.
Kristyn Hall(MSc, RD Registered Dietitian and Nutritionist)
One of the ways to get started with maintaining health and reducing daily stress is to do a 360-degree assessment of what your current health and stress, and how food is currently being used in your life.
There are parts of our life that we actually have some influence on, but have not stopped to examine the impact that something might be having in our life, in part, because we have no awareness of it.
For example, the later we stay up, the more likely we are to be snacking late at night, when what we really need is to go to bed earlier. Examining all the ways in which food is being used in our life (fuel, self-soothing, as control, as coping, etc.) help to identify patterns that contribute to our stress, and patterns that contribute to our health.
When we aren't focusing on our food, where ARE we focusing? Getting really clear about the bigger picture of our life is an excellent place to start with maintaining health and reducing daily stress.
Jessica Malingowski(Food Freedom Coach)
I feel as though our culture is wrapped up in dieting in order to reach a certain health goal. I’m all for following a specific diet plan if it is necessary for a medical condition, however, dieting for the sole purpose to lose weight is no good in my opinion. The best way to sustainably lose weight and reach a point of optimal health comes from listening to your OWN body and intuitively eating.
Once you start listening to your own hunger signals, your body’s reactions to certain foods, and noticing how you feel in general, you will eventually come to a weight that you are meant to be at! I am also a big proponent of self-care in order to reduce stress and anxiety.
Some examples of self-care that I recommend to my clients are meditating, restorative yoga, journaling, taking baths, and going for a walk outside. We are always on the go, and in order to stay healthy, we need to slow down and simply be.
Christina Carlyle(Holistic nutritionist, sports nutrition specialist, health coach, personal trainer, and behavior modification specialist)
Everyone experiences stress that can have a negative impact on their physical and mental health. I find that the easiest way to reduce daily stress is to follow these 3 steps.
First, identify the people, places, things, and habits that cause you the most stress. Take a look at everything in your life that makes you feel overwhelmed, anxious, and burned out.
Once you uncover your main sources of stress, next, look for ways you can eliminate or greatly reduce exposure to the things that affect you the most. Simply ask yourself, “What can I do to keep this from affecting me?” By asking yourself this quick question, your brain will come up with creative ways to deal with your unique stress triggers.
The third step is to try your own solution and evaluate to see if it worked. The best way to know if it’s working is to see how you feel. Do you feel more energized and happy? Are you more relaxed and calm? If so, great! If not, repeat step 2 until you find a way to overcome your unique stress triggers.
This 3-step process will help you reduce daily stress significantly. But unfortunately, it’s impossible to avoid stress completely. Exercise has been proven to help reduce stress. Move your body 30 minutes a day to get the most stress-reducing benefits.
Getting a good night’s sleep will help, too. Sleep is the number one way to metabolize stress hormones, prevent stress, and maintain health.
Deep breathing, yoga, meditating, massages, getting outdoors, and self-care practices are all natural ways you can manage stress and maintain your health.
Ellen Burgan("If It Brings You Joy" Blogger)
Attitude is everything! Research shows that positive, optimistic people tend to handle stress better and live longer healthier lives. Viewing the world through a positive lens will put you in a better position to nurture happiness and manage stress before it has a chance to grow.
My best tips to attract more positivity into your life are:
1. Stop talking about negative or unwanted things in your life. You keep it active by talking about it. When you find yourself thinking negatively, consciously stop - and purposely reach for happier, better feeling thoughts. With practice, positivity will dominate your attitude.
2. Take time from your busy schedule for a little “me time.” Self-care offers both emotional and physical benefits. No matter if you’re a busy parent, executive, or retiree, you NEED a few minutes of self-care each day.
3. Every night when you settle down for sleep, recall three good things that happened in your day. Did something make you laugh? Was something tasty? What went well? Seek out even the little joys. Dwelling on these positive aspects will help you grow a positive attitude, and ultimately a more stress-free, healthy life.
Munira Saleh(Blogger & SEO Analyst)
Being a woman who’s taking on multiple roles, stress has been a regular component of my life, but that doesn’t mean that I’ll let it win. To have a healthy body, one needs to nurture a healthy mind, and for that, you need to breakup with stress. I’ve found and adopted some innovative techniques to de-stress and implement them in my day to day life.
My first and natural response to any kind of overwhelming emotion is stress-eating. While stress-eating is always seen in a negative light, I realized through experience (and a little through research) that you can actually exploit it for good! Stress eating may actually help tackle stress if you know just what to eat. So, instead of heading for the bag of chips, I snack on some nuts instead to enjoy a healthier twist. I pay extra care while enjoying this food because that relaxes me and shifts my focus away from the trigger of stress. Basically, it’s meditation with food involved, so in a nutshell, it’s a win-win!
Of course, eating cannot always be an option, so my other fall-back trick is visualization and music. I have an app on my phone that contains pleasant and ambient noises, think of beaches, waterfalls, and birds chirping. I like to day-dream while doing this, envisioning this peaceful paradise rejuvenates my mind. Other days, I listen to my favorite music that gives me a rush of happy emotions. I often break out in a soul liberating dance number or take a brisk walk around my house.
Writing also is an outlet that allows me to vent all the pent-up feelings, thus, allowing me to de-stress. It puts me in a stronger mental zone that helps me stay calm and composed. Writing helps me regulate my emotions and clear my head.
Apart from these ways of keeping mentally fit, the most crucial way to maintain health despite our busy schedules and daily stresses is through maintaining a schedule. I make it a point to follow my daily schedule religiously. I sleep well and on time, eat healthy, and exercise as and when I can.
I watch my diet and everything I put on my plate. I like to think of my body as a holy place, and everything that should enter it should be pure and nourishing. Of course, I do indulge in cheat meals here and there, but mostly, I follow a healthier meal plan. In fact, even chores like cooking and planning an elaborate meal also help me feel less stressed.
Overall, any activity that makes me feel that I’m in control of things around me automatically boosts my well-being, mentally and physically. As you can imagine, staying organised keeps me at my peak.
Conquering stress and leading a healthy life is not rocket science, all you need is a little more awareness and the persistence to work towards it.
Roland Bal(Psychotherapist and owner)
The common sense recommendations apply: eat well, rest enough, do sports, and be outside in nature sufficiently. More importantly, however, is to see your level of resilience and containment on a day to day and moment to moment basis. If you stay aware of what your needs and capabilities are you will steer clear of feeling overwhelmed and getting burned-out.
Staying aware of what your needs and capabilities are does also demand that you can act upon them, which in turn means that you can set boundaries when the need arises-- and this can be tough in a working environment. The ability to set boundaries for yourself and to others is an expression of having healthy self-worth and self-validation.
If you feel you lack the ability to set boundaries because of an abusive past, you will need to address that past to be able to act efficiently upon your present. It is all connected. Willfully asserting yourself will only work as long as you have the energy for it, after that, you will default to your habitual patterns if you have not addressed your emotional residue sufficiently.
Tiffany Martin(Mental Health and Parenting Blogger)
When life gets overwhelming, particularly for those battling mental illness, daily activities can become challenging. We put a lot of focus on doing activities that will reduce stress, like bubble baths or yoga, which are fantastic, but we often overlook the fact that sometimes self-care is simply taking a shower or eating a healthy meal. Sticking to a healthy routine will benefit your overall health and wellness, and is equally as important as taking breaks.
Amy Scott Grant(Spiritual Ass Kicker)
Recipe for a happy healthy heart: stay in your own lane, handle emotional upsets instead of stuffing your feelings, take time every day to be still and practice self-love. Remember, you are precious, so treat yourself as such!
Lindsey Pine(Registered Dietitian)
What we eat can play a huge role in our health and how our bodies handle stress. Eating a diet full of anti-inflammatory antioxidants and the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA are very important.
Other nutrients such as iron, magnesium, folic acid, vitamins D and B12 are also key. Following a Mediterranean style, eating pattern is an easy way to get all of these nutrients. Characterized by fruits, vegetables, olive oil, whole grains, eggs, poultry, fish, beans, nuts/seeds, this style of eating can benefit you for life.
Jess Ledwig(Holistic Health Coach)
Reducing daily stress really comes down to nourish your mind, body, and spirit, which can be accomplished through a regular self-care practice. But the key is meaningful self-care, one that speaks to your soul. Actionable steps to take to create such a practice include:
1. Fueling your body with nutrient-dense foods. Eating a diet rich in fresh whole foods not only contributes to thriving physical health but also feeds your brain, promotes a balanced, centered and elevated mental state, and less stress.
I find that when I eat whole foods 80 percent of the time and allow myself to indulge the other 20 percent of the time, I release myself of any judgement, guilt or negativity associated with indulging.
2. Moving your body. Staying active by doing things that you love serves a two-fold purpose - it's a stress-reliever by default, plus it makes you feel good, fulfilled, and soul-centered. Yoga, your favorite work-out, walking/hiking in nature, or playing a sport, are all great forms of physical activity. Again, it's all about choosing something that brings you joy.
3. Nourishing your mind and spirit. I know it can seem impossible, but to be equipped to manage stress in these times, it is so very important to create time and space for you, and you alone.
Engaging in quiet time and reflection including meditation, journaling, gratitude exercises, brain entrainment, visualization, EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) or "Tapping" are all tools you can use to clear blockages and reprogram subconscious beliefs and behaviors so that you can live the best version of yourself.
It always helps to be gentle with yourself on your journey and to allow yourself to make mistakes along the way, and also to surround yourself with supportive people who are great listeners and encourage you to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, keep moving forward one step at a time, and celebrate your resilience!
Shallah Panjwani(Registered Dietitian)
Tips & Strategies on How to Maintain Health & Reduce Daily Stress
A well- balanced diet contains adequate amounts of macronutrients (Carbohydrates, Proteins and Fats) as well as a variety of micronutrients (vitamins and minerals). Macronutrients are the only source of energy used by our bodies.
1. 50-60% of energy from carbohydrates, grains, fruits, vegetables, dairy
2. 15-20% of energy from protein, animal sources, plant-based sources, dairy
3. 25-30% of energy from fat, added fats, grains, meats/alternatives, dairy
There are 52 micronutrients so even a diet that is “healthy” but lacks variety can be nutritionally inadequate. Our ancestors ate the crop they grew; seasonal fruits and vegetables. We should all be encouraged to expand our food repertoire in an attempt to incorporate various micronutrients into our diets.
Cutting back on added sugar, refined grains and highly processed foods while concentrating on eating plenty of vegetables and whole foods is a good start.
Avoiding soft drinks, fruit juice, muffins, white rice and white bread and instead eating foods like brown rice, barley, steel-cut oats, lentils, lean meats, low-fat dairy products, quinoa, fresh fruit and legumes, olive oil, salmon, avocados, hard cheeses, vegetables, nut butters, nuts and seeds, and grass-fed and pasture-raised animal foods are better choices and more nutritionally dense.
Focusing on diet quality which is more vegetables, more whole food, less added sugar and less refined grains is a much healthier way to go. Canada’s Food Guide provides information and tips to help you make healthy choices.
Adequate hydration (at least 30 ml of water/kg body weight) is also necessary to maintain health.
Amber George(Certified Personal Trainer, Certified Running Coach)
Reduce what is on your plate by making a list of your top four priorities and base your schedule around those four priorities.