A few ways to Combat stress by following some simple guidelines…
Stress can take a toll on both your physical health and mental well-being. It can lower your immunity to colds, flu, and even more serious illnesses. It can affect your sleep patterns, interfere with job performance, and leave you irritable. Stress can also trigger all sorts of skin disorders, including psoriasis, eczema, acne, rosacea, and hives. Fortunately, there are ways to get a handle on stress and up your energy. Here are some of The Urban Fitness Club’s top tips to control your stress levels.
1. Set aside “private time.”
Something as simple as soaking in the tub can renew your mind and body. For added relaxation, turn down the lights and play some soft music.
2. Learn relaxation techniques.
Read a book about it, or try a Pilates class at The Urban Fitness Club Blackburn. Here’s one you can try at home. Find 15 minutes where you will not be disturbed to meditate, visualize, etc. Lie on the ground, legs flat with palms facing up towards the ceiling. Visualize the person you want to be, why you started your health and fitness journey, the goals you want to achieve and why you want to achieve them. If a worrisome thought pops up, acknowledge it, then re-focus on your breathing.
3. Schedule “worry sessions.”
Set aside a specific 15 minutes each day when you’ll concentrate on everything that’s bothering you. When worries pop up during the day, save them for these 15 minutes. Then picture yourself conquering a particular challenge. It’s not easy, but it’s simple. And it works.
4. Keep a journal.
New studies suggest that people who are able to write about their innermost feelings may enjoy better mental and physical health. Writing is also a powerful tool that helps you organize your thoughts and make life a little bit easier.
5. Pep up with a scent.
When you need an energy boost, take a whiff of muguet or peppermint oil. Preliminary studies suggest these scents can promote alertness. Try!
6. Power naps.
15-20 minutes can be very energizing and rejuvenating. Careful – more than 20 minutes and you’ll wake up more tired than you were to begin with.
7. Plan your week.
On your weekly calendar, set aside time for everything that’s important to you and colour code it. Red being the most important, yellow being intermediate and green being least important. Things like work, exercise, gym and health should be red. Less important things like grocery shopping should be yellow and the least important things like watching a movie, washing the car etc. should be green but still included in your plan.
8. Reward yourself.
Every day engage in a just-for-you activity, provided you accomplished something you set out to do for that day. Read, gardening, etc. You’ll not only boost yourself esteem, you’ll also enjoy the well-deserved feelings of relaxation.
Laughter really is good medicine. Laughing raises your heart rate, stimulates circulation, exercises your diaphragm, abs, and other muscles, and increases production of certain hormones that serve as your body’s natural painkillers. Watch a sitcom or read humorous books.
Feel better after a good cry? Studies show that the tears you produce when you’re anxious, upset, sad, or angry contain stress-relieving hormones.
11. Get a body massage.
Various massage techniques reduce stress, loosen tight muscles, and rev up your energy. Massage also helps release endorphins (“feel good” chemicals released by the brain), triggering relaxation. Here at The Urban Fitness Club we can recommend some great masseuses!
12. DO NOT skip meals.
Spreading your calories out over 4-6 balanced meals a day gives you the carbohydrates, protein, fat, vitamins, minerals required to keep your energy high by keeping your blood sugar levels stable. Our personal trainers and staff here in Blackburn can help you make a meal plan and give you lots of advice to get your nutrition on track!
13. Eat a “good mood” breakfast.
Combine a high-protein food, such as cottage cheese, with a fiber-rich carb, like strawberries. Protein not only boosts your brain’s production of dopamine and norepinephrine – chemicals that keep you alert – it also controls levels of relaxation-inducing serotonin. The carbs help you feel calm and focused on whatever you’re doing.
14. Quick, low-fat lunch.
Broiled fish, skinless chicken, tuna, deli turkey or chicken with a teaspoon of low-fat mayo on whole-grain bread can give you energy for the afternoon.
15. Beat the mid-afternoon lag.
If you’re droopy by 3 pm, have a cup of coffee to get back on track. (I don’t suggest doing this very often, either. It’s quite possible you need to catch up with some Z’s.)
16. Make dinner your lightest meal.
If you’ve eaten a balanced, substantial lunch, you’ll feel surprisingly satisfied with a light dinner. Instead of a regular dinner plate, use a smaller plate and fill it up (not mounding!) with your protein and carbs.
17. Watch the caffeine.
A little caffeine is okay for a little boost. Too much and you’re making your adrenal glands work overtime. You’ll need more caffeine for the desired effect, and the crash when it wears off gets worse. Plus you get restless and irritable.
18. Cut back on sugar and starches.
You all know about the “sugar high.” When you drop, you feel cranky, weak, and unable to concentrate. Stick with balanced snacks and meals to keep your blood sugars level.
19. NO alcohol.
Some of you will yell at me for saying this; too bad. Sure, it may help in keeping your heart healthy, BUT SO DOES EATING RIGHT AND EXERCISING REGULARLY. Like sugar, alcohol gives you a high, and then you crash. It also leaves you feeling lethargic and will counteract a lot of the effort you’ve put in at the gym.
20 Aerobic exercise daily.
Along with cardiovascular health, aerobic exercise boosts production of endorphins. 25-30 minutes can significantly reduce stress and increase energy. At The Urban Fitness Club Blackburn Gym we have a range of programs and group exercise classes designed to get your cardiovascular system firing including Zumba, Cycle, Boxing, Tone, Circuit and more!
21. Deep breathing.
Need a 1-minute regenerator? Sit in a quiet place, feet flat on the floor, arms at your sides. Breathe in deeply through your nose, filling your diaphragm (your stomach should protrude if you’re doing it right). Breathe out slowly through your mouth. Do this for just 60 seconds.
22. Shrug off tight shoulders.
Whenever you notice you’re tense around your neck area and shoulders, shrug your shoulders ten times.
23. Take a break to stretch.
Alternating arms, reach upward, stretching toward the ceiling. Five times each side.
24. Stretch neck tension away.
Touch your chin to your chest and hold for 2 seconds. Try to touch your left ear to your left shoulder (keep it relaxed – no reaching up!) and hold for 2 seconds. Repeat for the right ear/shoulder for 2 seconds. Repeat entire cycle if necessary.
25. Stand up.
If you spend most of the day sitting at a desk, stand up once every hour for 20 minutes, and do any of the exercises mentioned above to relax and stimulate circulation.
26. Take out your frustrations on the iron.
Pumping iron that is. You’ve got all those stress hormones flowing around your body and they’re not getting used up. Aerobic exercise may calm them down some, but new studies are showing lifting weights help you burn off those stress hormones more effectively. The Urban Fitness Club Blackburn Gym has a fully equipped Hammer Strength and Life Fitness weights area including pin-loaded machines, plate-loaded machines and free weights. So come in and lift some weights to get the frustration out!
Obviously all of the above strategies are hard to implement regularly but if you do even 10 of them on a regular basis you will be surprised at how less stressed you are. If you want to chat to someone about de-stressing or goal setting, or if you feel like a health and fitness program might benefit you, call us and speak to one of our qualified, Fitness Australia registered personal trainers, and let The Urban Fitness Club help you!!