The absolute number one thing anyone can do for their mental and physical well-being is learn how to manage stress on a daily basis.
Daily stressors have always been a part of life, but it’s even more prevalent since the pandemic. Be sure to take a pro-active approach to reviewing what exactly causes the most stress in your life.
Then, think about what you can do differently that will alleviate that stress.
For example, if driving to work or appointments has you stuck in traffic and it causes stress –make a point of leaving extra early to allow for anticipated traffic.
If back-to-back Zoom calls, Video Conferences or Podcasting are causing you stress, make sure to spread them out, giving yourself enough time to get up from the computer and take a 20-minute walk.
In fact, if you are working remotely or in an office sitting at a computer, you should get up, stretch and walk around for every 20-minutes. Your eyes need the break too. Do that 3 times at you’re at 60-minutes, the ideal for optimum health.
Make walking 1 hour a daily habit. There is a significant association between daily walking and pneumonia-related mortality and cardiovascular disease mortality among older people who walked 1 hour a day, even if they lacked other exercise habits. Kids and adults can benefit from this. There are so many health benefits tied to it. It will improve heart health, oxygen to your brain, how you feel and your energy levels.
If you can get out in nature, even better. But you don’t need a gym or any fancy equipment to do this. You can do it anywhere.
If you find being in crowds or with certain people cause you stress, you know what to do. Set boundaries.
Everyone feels anxious from time to time. You may be worried about finding employment, finances, an upcoming exam –whatever it is –when you get that feeling of worry know that it will feel like it will last forever, but it will not.
What you need to do is distract yourself. 1. Take a shower 2. Call a friend and talk it through 3. Make a cup of tea 4. Go for a walk 5. Put on some music you enjoy 6. Splash cold water on your face 7. Take slow, deep breaths -8. Get out in nature and sunshine 9. Stretch and move your body -anything that interrupts that feeling and brings you back to the PRESENT moment. 10. If you watch a lot of TV, turn it off and get outside.
When the moment passes, write down what has you worried. Then, write down possible solutions. Think out of the box. Think about times in the past when you thought things were hopeless and you got through it.
You will get through this too. When you feel overwhelmed, tell someone. Allow people to help, even if it’s just through listening.
Even happy events can cause stress, like planning a vacation or wedding. Knowing when to take a break is crucial.
Know your Happy Place and what healthy activities make you feel better. Make a point of making Rest and Recovery a part of your everyday life. Your body needs it. Your brain needs it.
Even people who are adamant about working out at a gym take one day to do nothing. It’s when their body gets to recover and it’s how muscle gets built.
Getting at least 9 hours of sleep each night is crucial as well. It needs to be consistent, so prioritize this. Sleep experts recommend darkening your room, shutting down all electronics and keeping your bedroom on the chilly side one hour before you go to sleep.
Weighted blankets have also gotten a lot of favorable feedback about helping people sleep better. A warm bubble bath with the smell of lavender also gets favorable reviews from people.
Nightshades and ear plugs can help too if you live in a city with bright lights and lots of external noise.
There’s also a sleep hoodie that comes with built-in eyeshades made of fabric that cools your body as you sleep created by DepSlepWear that’s great for use at home or while traveling on an airplane.
Note there are also sleep positions that are recommended for your back. It’s either on your side with a pillow between your legs or on your back with a pillow under your knees. This provides proper alignment, so you don’t wake up with aches.
Before bed, make a list of the 3 most important things you need to do the next day.
It’s not easy to turn off all electronics (this includes your phone) with a 24/7 news cycle and social media, but it’s vital for your mental and physical health.
Avoid caffeine, spicy foods and alcohol before bed too. If you drink coffee, try to drink it earlier in the day and limit it to two cups.
There is a prior blog I wrote on foods that help you sleep. I will find it and insert the link below, as a lot of people do get hungry at night. It’s best to stock up on the PM foods in case that happens.
If you wake up mid-sleep, reading is recommended until you fall back asleep.
When you finally do get a good night’s rest don’t immediately jump out of bed. Take those deep breaths again, sit up, close your eyes and be in an intentional state of gratitude. Give thanks to be alive.
Remind yourself it will be a great day, everything will be okay and that you can and will handle anything that comes your way. Then, stretch and breathe deeply again.
Hydrate with water. If you’re a breakfast person, make sure it doesn’t contain sugar, so you’re not crashing by noon. Two eggs are always a great choice. I dash a bit of sea salt on them. You can boil them ahead of time if you know you’ll be in a rush. If you have more time, have fun making a veggie omelet.
The American Heart Association (AHA) actually recommends up to two eggs a day for older people with normal cholesterol and who eat a healthy diet.
If you’re not in that category, they recommend only one egg a day, and fewer if you have high blood cholesterol, diabetes or are at risk for heart failure.
When you do start work, review your Top 3 Priority items on your list. Get those things out of the way. You will feel a sense of accomplishment the rest of the day from meeting your commitments before any distractions can kick in. Speaking of, be aware of your distractions.
If checking out one thing on Facebook or Twitter ends up using up hours and hours of your time, be aware of that and place a limit on social media time. Be aware if you keep your TV on 24/7 or too many hours. Limit time watching it. Read instead. Nature is free to everyone. Go for a walk or hike in a local park.
Remember that how you spend your time, what you eat, drink and how much you exercise will affect the way you feel each day, so make healthy choices. If you’re stressed, something in your environment contributes to it. Be aware of your environment. Is your home cluttered? Get it organized and create more open space. Toss away or donate what you don’t use. Make sure your home and work space is calming.
If you need help with any of those things, reach out to someone who you think may be more productive with their time as they can offer tips–for healthy food choices, see a Nutritionist or do a Google search.
I’ve also blogged a lot in the past about healthy foods for your body and brain. There are also a lot of great books out there. You want to avoid the diet books, and opt for ones that are about long-term nutrition.
A few people I recommend following about Nutrition are:
Dr. Mark Hyman from The Cleveland Clinic
Dr. Daniel Amen from Amen Clinics
Seamus Mullen has a lot of great books on Anti-Inflammatory Foods
“How Not To Die” by Dr. Gregor
If you want a real education on how and why the foods we eat have changed over the decades for the worse read, “Formerly Known As Food” by Kristen Lawless.
Remember, your Mind, Body and Spirit have always been connected. You need to take care of both daily. If that means saying no more, then do it. Allow yourself that time to Rest and Recover.
Daily exercise is proven to grow new brain cells and improve your heart health. Make daily exercise, even if it’s a daily walk a habit. Then, allow yourself at least an hour a day where you schedule nothing.
Even your car will run out of gas if you keeping going without stopping.
Human beings are no different. Every day, stop and fill up your tank with good things, which also includes helping other people. It’s one of the best ways to get out of your head. Ask yourself who could use a helping hand, a kind word, encouragement or find something you no longer use and donate it. Make someone else’s day better.
Remember, there is something that comes easy to you that someone else finds difficult. It can be writing, reading, playing an instrument, dancing, swimming, playing a certain sport, organizing, decorating, cooking, drawing, speaking a different language, writing a cover letter or resume, networking, shopping, using computers, blogging, writing a book, acting, exercising, finding a job –something.
Offer to help someone with that.
A funny thing happens when you do that –you will end up feeling better yourself.
And don’t underestimate the power of love. Since in-person interactions are limited, you can still be old-school and tell someone you love them or mail them a card or gift or call them.
There is a lot more to health and well-being than masking up these day. You need to be pro-active daily and feed your mind, body and soul good things.
Developing life-long habits is a choice. It feels difficult at first, but once once you realize the better choices you make are having a positive difference in how you feel –you will do it the next day, and the next…
Be patient and kind to yourself and fill yourself with so much good that it can’t help but overflow to others. As they say, you can’t pour from an empty cup.
The #1 thing you can do for your overall well-being is learn how to manage stress. Everyone in the world needs to do this, because no one is immune from something unpredictable happening to them or to someone you love.
So, carve out time each day to take care of you. When you can’t change what’s going on externally, the only thing you can master is how to change what’s taking place inside. These changes are cumulative and add up over time. Be patient and take notice of when you feel most centered and calm.
I once wrote something that got widely picked up on Quote websites. It was: “Anxiety is who people want you to be. Calm is who you are.”
Find your calm.
If’s worth noting everyone needs to do this. Almost half of physicians themselves suffer from burnout.
Most recently, Olympic athletes have been more vocal about it. No one is immune to it No one. Only arrogance would tell someone they are and a good read for them is Robin Sharma’s book, “The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari.”
There are a lot of books about how stress caught up to otherwise extremely successful people. It happens to the best. If you can’t or don’t do so –you will one day be forced to.
There’s an old adage about how if you don’t take time for health today, you will be forced to take time for sickness later. So, I repeat everyone from the Chairman to the CEO to the receptionist to the janitor needs to find calm if you don’t want yourself, your team or productivity and the bottom line to suffer in the end.
Each individual’s health matters. Health = Mind + Body. Norman Vincent Peale wrote “The Power of Positive Thinking” decades ago and the pillars of health he talked about in it are still prevalent today. If you’ve never read it, you can listen to it on audio on YouTube. There’s a reason it sold millions of copies around the world.
Every generation should read it. If this all seems sanguine, know that your mind, body, wellness, relationships, health and longevity will benefit from these things in the long-run.
The future relies on what you do today, so focus on making the right healthy choices one day at a time.
Take time to de-stress your mind and body daily.
Email: maria.dorfner@mariadorfner |
On Twitter: @Maria_Dorfner
Linked In: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mariadorfner
Link to prior blog on Foods That Help You Sleep: https://mariadorfner.wordpress.com/?s=foods+to+help+you+sleep
Link to prior blog on Nutritional Tips: https://wordpress.com/post/mariadorfner.wordpress.com/87
DISCLAIMER: If you’re in a place where you can’t even think about doing any of the things mentioned here schedule an appointment with your physician.
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