Stress is a major issue in Australia with an estimated 13% or 2.4 million Australians aged 18 and over reporting high or very high levels of psychological distress. However, in many ways stress is just a part of being human. Stress motivates us to perform tasks that we might not otherwise pursue, and it’s because of stress and pressure that we view life’s many challenges as opportunities.
Unfortunately, not all of us cope with stress the same way. For many, constant stress can become a serious problem and may lead to both mental and physical health issues. Some people may even adopt unhealthy ways to deal with constant stress by using drugs, alcohol, overeating or becoming a workaholic.
Although it’s almost impossible to avoid stress, you can learn how to develop a healthy response to stress – a skill that will surely serve you well throughout your life.
Self Care Tips to Relieve Stress
Stressed? Here are some self-care tips you can adopt to relieve stress:
- Eat a Well-Balanced Diet
Have you ever heard of the term Gut-Brain connection? If not, here are some interesting facts for you. The human gastrointestinal tract contains trillions of good bacteria that produce hundreds of neurochemicals. These neurochemicals play an important role in the health of your brain and mood. Consuming a healthy diet that comprises of vegetables, fish, whole grains, fruits, and lean protein helps to maintain a healthy gut microbiome and results in lower amounts of depression and anxiety; whereas consuming diets high in sugary products, processed/fried food items, and refined grains disturbs the healthy gut microbiome and results in increased depression and stress.
- Get Enough Sleep
Sleep deprivation is linked with an increase in the levels of stress hormone “cortisol” in the body which can greatly weaken the immune system. Sleep deprivation is a common symptom among people who suffer from depression and anxiety. Health experts recommend getting 8 hours of good quality sleep a night. You can try improving your sleep by avoiding caffeine and alcohol intake before going to bed, doing some simple stretching exercises, taking a hot shower, having a completely quiet and darkroom, and going to bed at the same time every night.
- Drink Water
Hydration is an integral part of any self-care regime; even mild dehydration can affect general health in a variety of unpleasant ways. Many health professionals recommend that an adequate intake (AI) of water for an average male is roughly 15 cups (approx. 3.7 liters/day), whereas AI for an average woman is 11 cups (approx. 2.7liters/day).
- Be Physically Active
Physical activity of any sort such as walking, yoga, pilates, gym, Tai Chi, etc. not only promotes good cardiovascular health, it also strengthens the immune and digestive systems. Therefore, daily physical activity is critical for physical and mental health. Many health professionals recommend getting at least 150 minutes of moderate activity per week is beneficial in lowering depression and stress.
- Remember to Breathe
People who feel tense or stressed out tend have shallow breathing. This can upset the oxygen and carbon dioxide exchange in the body and can contribute to mental and physical disturbances. Techniques such as meditation, yoga, deep breathing, etc. are very effective in combating stress. For a deep, cleansing breath, all you need to do is take a deep breath through your nose and try to take in as much air as you can comfortably. Now hold the air in your lungs for a few seconds and release it slowly with a focus on emptying your lungs completely. Repeat this deep breathing exercise a few times, preferably early in the morning, and you can notice a remarkable decrease in your stress levels.
Remedial massage can also be a great addition to your health regime and is proven to decrease stress and anxiety. If you would like to try remedial massage and see how it can help with your stress book now.
Melbourne Natural Therapies
Relieve Stress – Self Care Tips