Staying well-rested and managing stress

Staying well-rested and managing stress

Did you know that 72% percent of American employees report feeling daily stress and anxiety? And that according to the CDC, approximately 70 million Americans have challenges with sleep? If you’re tired and stressed out, you’re certainly not alone!

The link between stress and sleep is hard to deny. When you’re stressed out, your mind races, your heartrate increases, and your body can’t relax for sleep. When you can’t sleep, you have less energy to tackle the day’s work and any challenges that come your way.

Stress and sleeplessness can lead to a variety of serious health conditions, including high blood pressure and obesity. They can also affect your mood and make you more prone to accidents.

Managing your mood, sleep, and stress levels are important for physical and mental health and well-being. However, balancing these self-care initiatives can be tricky, especially when you have loads of responsibilities. That’s why taking small steps to better your overall health can be so important.

In this article, we offer some tips and tricks that can help you be at your best.

Commit to a consistent sleep schedule

Sleep is key to both your physical and emotional health. Lack of sleep can make us irritable, angry, and difficult to work with and communicate with. Know anyone like this?

Committing to a consistent sleep schedule is critical to taking charge of your health so your body has enough time to repair and rejuvenate itself. Adults typically need about eight hours of sleep per night, which can seem very overwhelming if you are used to much less, but just start with small steps.

Do you find that a racing mind and stressful feelings keep you from falling asleep or staying asleep? Try turning off electronics earlier, limiting caffeine intake a few hours before bed, or listen to relaxing music.

Take time to de-stress

Taking time to de-stress, even (and especially) on our busiest days, is one of the most important things we can do to care for ourselves. What works for some might not work for others, so figuring out what helps calm you down is crucial! Taking time to exercise, meditate, draw, or do something you love can be a way to detach yourself from work and other stressors. Be sure to set aside at least 30 minutes a day to indulge in activities that make you feel good.

Fuel your body properly

Fueling your body healthfully can help your stress levels. Foods that reduce inflammation can lower your cortisol levels, which help the body combat excess stress. Eating meals made with avocados, broccoli, spinach, and even dark chocolate can help boost your mood and decrease stress!

Staying hydrated is another critical component. Make sure to fill up your water bottle at the beginning of the day and finish it before bed to ensure adequate hydration to help with cognition and focus.

Practice mindfulness

Practicing mindfulness every day can help you de-stress and gain control of situations that seem overwhelming.

Mindfulness refers to an ability to be grounded in the moment, rather than constantly looking forward, which can often add to stress. By focusing on the here and now, you tune out any bossy notions of what you should be doing or judgments of things you did in the past.

It can be difficult to focus on the here and now, but there are several tools that can help. Expressing gratitude is one. Gratitude makes you stop and pay attention to your thoughts and feelings right now, diverting your attention from the past or future. 

Try making a “gratitude list” – a list of things you are thankful for today. Even small things matter, such as, “I’m grateful that I got to sit outside for a bit today.” Or “I’m thankful that grapefruits are finally in season again!”

Another is meditation. Meditation doesn’t have to be intimidating. Simply find a quiet place where you won’t be interrupted and sit quietly for as little as five minutes. Yes, the stressful thoughts will creep in, but shoo them away.

This will be a challenge when you first get started, but it gets easier with practice. Various phone apps are available to walk you through short meditations and help focus your thoughts.

Focus on time-management

Are you constantly running late? Do you feel like you’re buried under a mountain of work? Do everyone else’s needs supersede your own?

A hectic lifestyle can add a heaping pile of stress to your life! It may be time to take stock of the things you need to accomplish and the time you have to accomplish them.

Are you trying to do too much? Are you realistic about how long it will take you to complete certain projects? Do you waste time (we all do a little, don’t we)?

You may find that you need to say no to some work, events, or requests in order to free up some time (yes, it’s okay to say no sometimes!). You may realize that it actually takes you much longer to shower, shave, and dress in the morning that thought (no wonder you’re always rushing out the door!).

Give yourself the gift of time. Trim your commitments and give yourself the correct amount of time to get things done (or get where you’re going). You’ll soon see – time may actually cure your stress.

When all else fails…

Sometimes the stress can be so overwhelming that all the meditation exercises in the world won’t help you relax. Your mind races, your heartrate accelerates, and your breathing gets shallow. For short-term stress relief, a dietary supplement may help. For example, GABA 600 from PharmaNutrics may help ease the mind and calm the body.*

We hope this guide provides you with tips and tricks for being your calmest and happiest self!

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