When you have a million things to do and feel you can’t excuse taking a break, your mental and physical health will begin to suffer. It is important that you remember to take care of yourself, scheduling relaxation and being vigilant about your mental state. The more stress you put yourself under, the more you will find your work suffering. Here are a few simple ways to keep stress levels low and productivity high.
Make Quality Sleep a Habit
Sleep is your body’s time to repair itself and the brain’s time to shut down and relax. When you either sleep too little or get low-quality sleep, it begins to affect you quickly. Often, the leading problem with insomnia or low-quality sleep is a poor nighttime routine. The screens you may use, such as your laptop, tablet, smartphone, or television, can act as a melatonin suppressant, making it harder to fall asleep. We also tend to eat and drink things high in sugars and carbs which work to keep us energized and awake.
The best thing you can do for your sleep is turn the screens off about half an hour before bed, meditate to quiet your mind, and drink some cherry juice. Cherry juice has a naturally occurring high melatonin level, making it a perfect pre-bed drink.
Schedule Time for Relaxation
Relaxation can have many meanings. Regardless of its meaning for you, making time to relax and forget about your responsibilities is a key aspect of caring for yourself.
Find an activity that allows you to temporarily shed the stress of the day and physically schedule it into your day to ensure you do not simply skip it. Some good options are crafting, yoga, meditation, hiking, swimming, reading a good book, or even taking the dog for a walk.
Not only can doing several things at once make you feel overwhelmed, but studies have shown that multitasking actually doesn’t work. Attempting to focus your attention on more than one thing is detrimental to both tasks. Multitaskers simply cannot produce the same high-quality work as someone who focuses on a single task at a time.
The combination of stretching yourself too thin and feeling as though your work is unsatisfactory creates for stress and negative self-image. Rather than trying to be quick, be focused. It will improve both your work and your mental state.
Stressed people tend to eat more poorly than their balanced counterparts. Comfort foods can be quite the temptation when you’re experiencing excess stress. Unfortunately, comfort foods have been shown to be ineffective at resolving emotional issues.
One study found that yes, moods did improve while eating traditional comfort foods. However, moods improve at an equal rate when eating favored healthy options. It is not the unhealthy nature of the food that improves the mood; it is simply eating something you enjoy. Craft a big bowl of your favorite salad and store it in the fridge for then the desire for comfort foods strikes.
Reducing stress in modern times is quite the undertaking. We lead lives that permit little time to focus on wellbeing. Though disappearing to a month long, self-discovery retreat isn’t always an option, cultivating a few beneficial habits can at least work to counteract the stress of living in our hectic society.
Of course, if you get the opportunity to go for a month long, self-discovery retreat, by all means do it. Eating salad and drinking cranberry juice are only treatments for stress, not cures. Eventually, the root cause of your stress will need to be addressed. But for now, making a few changes for the better will make a world of difference in your mental and physical health.
Paige Johnson is a self-described fitness “nerd.” She possesses a love for strength training. In addition to weight-lifting, she is a yoga enthusiast, avid cyclist, and loves exploring hiking trails with her dogs. She enjoys writing about health and fitness for LearnFit.org.
Image via Pixabay by Life-of-Pix