Whether you are struggling to conceive, are currently a parent, or just living in the year 2020, one thing is for sure, stress is likely an unavoidable part of your life. One thing we can do, though, is change the way we react to it and choose healthy ways to cope with it.
These are my top 10 tips for coping with stress naturally:
1. Be mindful
Every thought has a corresponding physiological response. Positive thoughts = less stress.
Exercise helps you sleep better and let off steam when you’re feeling wound up.
3. Breathe properly
Breathe into your belly instead of your chest and count to 6 on the out-breath to slow your breathing down.
Find a meditation app you enjoy and meditate for at least 5 minutes every day.
Watch comedy shows or movies, laugh with your friends, and/or have fun with your partner.
6. Eat well
Adequate protein, carbohydrates, and fats are essential for healthy neurotransmitter function. 5+ veggies and 2 pieces of fruit are vital for a healthy mind, body, and soul.
7. Ensure an adequate intake of vitamins B, C, and D
B5 and C in particular are used by the adrenal glands when stressed. Vitamin D helps to manage mood.
8. Increase intake of calcium, magnesium, and zinc, and avoid copper
Having a hot cup of milk to relax isn’t just an old wives’ tale, it’s a good idea! Calcium and magnesium are relaxing minerals and when taken at night may help you to drift off to sleep.
A well-absorbed, high-quality form of calcium is calcium citrate and high-quality forms of magnesium include magnesium citrate and magnesium amino acid chelate. A therapeutic dose of calcium is 500mg of elemental calcium and there should be at least a 2:1 ratio of calcium to magnesium.
Calcium supplements should contain vitamin K2 to help direct calcium into bones and out of the arteries. Vitamin K2 is essential to absorb calcium into the bones and not the arteries (this reduces CVD risk).
Ask your naturopath or nutritionist to check your zinc and copper levels. Zinc is required to make serotonin,
a neurotransmitter that is depleted under long term stress. High copper levels are associated with heightened anxiety.
9. Sleep well
Sleep is so important for our mental health and wellbeing so 7–8 hours a night is a priority. Invest in blackout curtains. Keep a window open at night for ventilation. Read a book before bed rather than a screen, and keep the lights low for a few hours before bed to promote the production of melatonin. Go to bed and get up at the same time each day.
10. Buy more time
If you never seem to have enough time, start outsourcing the mundane tasks that zap your time and energy. Get a cleaner. Perhaps get a tutor to help your kids with their homework. Find kids in your neighbourhood who want to earn some pocket money and get them to do your gardening, washing the car, and any other task you don’t enjoy.
It’s almost impossible to avoid stress altogether but if we can make healthier choices in our response to it, we will become more resilient and reap the benefits of a healthy mind, body and soul.
Lead photo by Sean McAuliffe, Unsplash. Body photo by Zac Durant, Unsplash.
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