As 2023 comes to a close and a new year is upon us, our to-do lists and things we want to accomplish next year may become daunting. Even thinking about all the work to come at the start of a new year can overwhelm us leading to stress. In order to feel our best, lose or maintain weight, and reduce risk for chronic diseases, we must learn ways to manage our stress. We know you have a lot on your plate and we are here to help. In today’s blog, we break down our top tips on handling stress.
What happens if I have too much stress?
Some stress is necessary and good. It keeps your brain and responses sharp. But, when stress becomes too frequent, something has to change. We know stress is a mental burden and can lead to anxiety and feeling overwhelmed, but that isn’t the only problem. Stress can also impact your physical health. If it occurs too frequently, it can lead to the development of chronic diseases, including cancer. Chronic stress is associated with inflammation and compromised immune function. If our body is constantly stressed, and we do nothing to manage it, there are negative repercussions.
Tip #1 to Reduce Stress: Get more physical activity
Finding ways to move your body is crucial to managing stress. When deciding what type of movement is best for you, choose something that you genuinely enjoy and you can maintain on a consistent basis. If you are stressed, moving your body can help reduce stress and improve your mood. Regular exercise has been shown to improve mental health overall. Getting the right amount of movement is important because too much exercise can also lead to chronic stress if you aren’t properly recovering. Finding the perfect balance of exercise is different for everyone and is based on many factors, but try to aim for at least 30 minutes of movement per day to reduce stress and improve your mental health.
Tip #2 to Reduce Stress: Eat a balanced diet
Fueling your body with a nutrient dense and well balanced diet can help reduce chronic stress. A research study found that consuming highly processed foods leads to higher stress levels in participants. In addition, if you are chronically stressed, you may tend to overeat. I am sure you have experienced this at some point in your life- maybe cramming for a final and snacking on an endless supply of m&m’s, or having a work proposal due and ordering way more Chinese food than you actually need? Though at the moment this may feel good, it leads to more problems down the road- especially if done consistently.
Switching to more nutrient dense foods will help you feel better and reduce overall stress. Try adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet and eliminating some processed foods. At CF Nutrition, we offer beverages that can help ensure you get your daily dose of vitamins and minerals. Check out our website if you are looking for ways to supplement your daily diet.
Tip #3 to Reduce Stress: Practice Self Care
We are all busy, especially this time of year. Taking time for yourself is necessary to manage and reduce stress. There are many ways to practice self care and finding what works best for you can be tough. Here is a list of some different ways to set aside time to take care of yourself:
- Take a long walk
- Journal your thoughts
- Listen to a podcast
- Take bath
- Practice yoga
- Make a healthy meal
- Stretch before bed
- Read a book
- Take yourself out on a date
These are just a few of the many ways to practice self care. Whatever you choose, try to incorporate some form of self care into your schedule a few times a week.
This time of year can be busy and lead to stress, so take action to manage your stress so you can feel your best walking into 2024!