Our world today is more demanding and stressful than ever and many people find it difficult to cope with the pressures of everyday life. Job stress, trying to keep up with housework, raising children, finances and still be an attentive and loving spouse takes a lot of energy and focus. To keep your mind and body in shape for the volume of work that must be taken care of daily you need to be at your best. We may not be able to change the things that we must deal with every day but we can change the way we handle the pressure and the way we treat ourselves. Simple common sense is the best treatment for most any problem so let’s look at some of the more obvious solutions.
Get plenty of rest – It may not be possible to get a full eight hours of sleep every night, but get as much as your life allows. When you are rested you are able to think more clearly and react more calmly.
Drink lots of water – Keep your body hydrated to increase your energy. Being even slightly dehydrated can make you feel tired and even affect your ability to make good decisions.
Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables – The vitamins and minerals found in fresh fruits and vegetables gives your body fuel that it needs to stay healthy and strong. These also send nutrients through your bloodstream to all vital organs including your brain.
Be sure to get enough calcium – Calcium is vital for keeping bones healthy and strong and as we get older it is especially important to prevent our bones from becoming brittle. Milk, cheese, yogurt, cream cheese and cottage cheese are good additions to your diet. If you are prone to weight gain you may want to look at lower fat content in your dairy products.
Add whole grain to your diet – Whole grain gives your body fiber to help your digestive system process food more easily and keep your bowel system clean and regular.
Take a good multivitamin – Give your body a little extra boost. It is very important to eat healthy but you may from time to time be missing something and a multivitamin will fill in any gaps in your diet.
Walk to reduce stress – Walking is the best all around exercise. You may walk constantly on your job but that isn’t the kind of walking you need to do in order to relieve stress. A fast paced walk or just a slow stroll through your neighborhood will help you clear your mind. While you walk breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth to totally relax your body. If you can’t walk outside think about investing in a treadmill.
Ride a bicycle – This is another good exercise to relieve stress. It requires a little more effort than walking and allows you to burn calories while enjoying the beautiful outdoors. If the weather is not suitable or for some other reason riding outside is not possible you can enjoy the same activity with a stationary bike.
Just breathe – Take a few minutes once or twice a day to close your eyes, be very still and just inhale and exhale. Inhale through your nose slowly and fill your lungs as much as possible. Then exhale slowly through your mouth and breathe normally. You will be surprised at how much help this simple activity can be!
Find a hobby that interests you – A hobby that draws in all your attention and effort is a great stress reliever. Find something that gives you pleasure and challenges your mind. Read a book, work on a jigsaw puzzle, learn to crochet, paint, or any number of other activities. The only requirement is that it should be something that you thoroughly enjoy!
Dig in the dirt – Few things are more relaxing to me than working outside; in a flower garden, vegetable garden, trimming around the yard, even cutting grass. Feeling the sunshine and the fresh air and listening to the birds singing makes me feel rested even while I am working hard. Putting seeds in the ground or setting out plants and watching them grow is very rewarding. You will see the result of your labor as your plants begin to produce leaves and beautiful flowers and your vegetable plants begin to yield food for your table. Put a lawn chair under a shade tree near your flower garden. Let yourself relax while you enjoy watching the butterflies and honey bees hovering around them and smelling the sweet fragrance of the pretty blooms. It’s a great stress reliever
Pet a pet or get a pet – Several studies have been made on the health benefits of having a pet. Having a living thing to take care of gives you something to look forward to and is very fulfilling. Pets give you unconditional love and understanding and they are always available and always happy to see you. They make good friends to confide in without fear that they will repeat any information you may share. Stroking a dog or cat can lower your blood pressure. There is no more loyal companion or faithful friend than your dog or cat; let their love and attention help you de-stress.
Lavender or peppermint essential oil – One final suggestion is to put a drop of peppermint or lavender essential oil on your pillow case to completely relax you while you drift off to sleep. You can also use these oils in the shower. Put 2 or 3 drops on a washcloth or hand towel and hang it in the shower with you. The steam will fill the shower with the relaxing aroma, soothing your mind and body.
Try these suggestions for yourself or you may have some other healthy activity to de-stress yourself at the end of the day. Every day set aside a few minutes of “you time”. It isn’t selfish to do something that can help you be the best person you can be. We are all blessed with healthy, productive outlets for the stress that life can pile on us, let’s be careful to make wise decisions for our bodies and our minds.