Here's The Thing About Stress...

Here is the thing about stress. It’s not the stress that is the enemy. The real wellness buster is chronic stress. Think about your stress level on a scale of 1 to 10. You may have days (hopefully not every day) when you hit 10, but to avoid the long-term negative health impacts of chronic stress (high blood pressure, sleep issues, etc.), you need some time each day when you get below a 3.

Easier said than done right? Everyone is different and it may take some trial and error, but this is self-care at its most important. Consider trying one of these practical habits to help bring down your daily stress score. As with most things, consistency is the key.

JOURNAL
It can be overwhelming to write something profound and thoughtful at the end of the day but journaling is a great stress buster if you can work it in. I like one sentence journals. I also love five year journals so as the years pass you can look back and remind yourself, “this too shall pass.”

My favorite is a daily Q & A: Five Year Journal. The journal gives you a prompt such as:

  • Today were you a caterpillar or a butterfly?
  • If you could travel anywhere tomorrow where would you go?
  • What feels really important right now?

This modest exercise in self-expression can be personally revealing and provide a healthy perspective.

SLEEP
One hour before sleeping, stop using technology. Most of us are bigger versions of our nine-year-old selves. Just like when we were little, we need to train our bodies with cues to know that it is bedtime. Try taking a hot bath or shower to turn the brain off. If you’re wound up, do one simple yoga move called “Legs Up The Wall” pose. I’m not kidding. Lie on the floor and put your legs up against a wall so your torso and legs create a 90 degree angle. It feels great on the back, helps you take deep breaths and signals to the other people in your home that you are relaxing. This pose also helps relieve headaches and lower back pain.

Ask yourself if you are a noise or quiet person. I like quiet but if the house or hotel room isn’t quiet, I have a Pandora station called “Sleepy Time Tunes.” It’s actually a children’s radio station, but it plays acoustic versions of adult songs-like “Faithfully” by Journey. Seriously, it’s adult lullabies to help you relax and doze off for your much needed sleep.

TAKE CARE OF YOUR BODY
Of course you know I’m going to say that eating clean and moving are also part of the prescription. Usually the times when it’s the hardest to do is when your body and mood need it the most.

The effects of these relaxation techniques are immediate but also cumulative. Try to make relaxation a daily habit. Your body and mind will thank you!

For more information about ways to destress, contact Healthy Lives at 855.469.6903. or visit eBaptistHealthCare.org/healthylives.