April is National Stress Awareness Month, but let’s face it—for some, stress is something that can be experienced all year round. Is stress entirely bad? No! The opposite actually. Some studies have found that people who experience moderate amounts of stress have better mental health than their non-stressed counterparts. However, too much stress can be seriously detrimental. WebMD cites cardiovascular disease, obesity and gastrointestinal complications, to name a few, as consequences of long-term stress.
Whether you experience lots of stress or hardly any at all, stress is a natural part of daily life. We’re sharing our top six simple ideas for managing and reducing your day-to-day tension.
Okay, okay. We may be bias but exercise has been clinically proven to reduce stress. Not only does exercise get your endorphins pumping, it improves your mood which, in turn, helps alleviate feelings of stress and strain.
Here are a few of our favorite workouts that will get your endorphins up and keep the stress levels down.
Get Your Sleep
The phrase “sleep it off” very well may have been coined for stressed-out folks. Why? Because a restful night of sleep restores your body by promoting better concentration, elevating your mood and encouraging more precise decision-making. It becomes a bit of a catch-22 when stress makes it difficult to sleep, but if the cycle can be broken—sleep will help equip you to take on the day feeling less anxious and more prepared for life’s curveballs.
Manage Your Time
There may be some big stressors in your life that can’t be helped but juggling too many things in too little time won’t help, either. By ensuring your time is spent meaningfully, you’ll feel less rushed or crunched in your daily life. Consider your stress reduced.
Make a List
Making a list—and checking it twice—won’t get rid of your stress, but it can help reduce your anxiety. By prioritizing and taking inventory of your achievements, you’ll reward yourself with the satisfaction of looming tasks now marked complete. When you’re feeling stressed, a list can help work through what needs your attention immediately and what can wait, giving you power over your to-do list and a sense of control when you’re spread a bit too thin.
Drink More Water
You may think this tip is a bit far-fetched, but the relationship between hydration and stress are no joke! When you stay hydrated, your body is able to keep cortisol levels low. Why does that matter? Cortisol is a stress hormone produced by your adrenal glands and keeping them in check is key to more relaxed well-being.
Cut Back on Caffeine
We hate to say it, but that extra cup of coffee may be doing your body more harm than good. If stress is creating problems in your life—it may be best to put the coffee down and pick up a glass of water instead. Caffeine can give you a much-needed boost to energize your stressful day, but beware—it can actually be causing you more stress. Caffeine increases cortisol in your system leading to a vicious stress-inducing cycle that a caffeine-cutback could help break.
What are your tried-and-true tips for dealing with stress? Let us know!