6 tips to make peace with stress

Reviewed by Theresa H. Care Delivery Manager & Family Nurse Practitioner

Time saver 3 min read

Let’s be honest – stress is just a part of life. You can’t avoid it. But you can control how you view and respond to things that cause you to feel stressed. And you can find more effective ways to reduce and manage your stress. Need a little help? Don’t stress … we’ve got you!

How stress affects your health

When you feel stressed, your nervous system goes on high alert – releasing the hormones adrenaline and cortisol. These stress hormones are meant to get your attention so you can respond to whatever’s causing you to feel stressed. But, if you’re under a lot of stress, these stress hormones keep circulating in your body – leading to increased inflammation and reduced immune function.

That’s why when you’re stressed, you may experience bouts of acne and other skin issues like rashes or eczema flares. You may also be more likely to pick up viruses like a cold or get a cold sore. In some people, stress can also cause things like tension headaches and an upset stomach.

Finding your happy place

When you feel stressed, you just want to feel better. And, we’re all guilty of sometimes turning to less-than-healthy ways to cope. Yep, you’re human and responses to feeling stressed like arguing with your partner or eating a whole box of cookies happen. Don’t beat yourself up! Thankfully, you can start practicing healthier and more effective ways to manage stress today.

6 easy tips to start managing stress

1. Put yourself first

If you’re a parent or caregiver, the concept of putting yourself and your needs first may be foreign. But, if you don’t, you’ll pay for it down the road in the form of feeling stressed out, not sleeping well and getting sick. To feel and be your best, you need to find ways to fill up your tank every day.

2. Learn to say no

It’s ok to say no once in a while. Really, try it! The world won’t stop turning because you don’t attend a PTA meeting or make it to happy hour. You don’t even need to make excuses. Say no to more things so you can free up the time and energy to say yes to the things that bring you joy.

3. Have more fun

Life is about having experiences that make you feel alive. And who doesn’t want to have more fun? Be intentional and make time to do the things that set your soul on fire or at least make you laugh.

4. Get your zzzs

Good sleep is the cornerstone of good health. But it’s easy to rob from the sandman to binge the latest show or catch up on social media. But lack of sleep contributes to a lot of negative physical and mental health conditions. Do your body and mind a favor and aim to get seven to nine hours of sleep each night.

5. Nourish your body and brain

Be intentional about what you eat and select foods that are packed with the vitamins and minerals your body and brain crave. Eating a nutrient-rich diet that includes a lot of fruits and vegetables will give you the energy you need to get through your day.

6. Move your body

Aim to get 150 minutes of exercise each week. This doesn’t mean you need to take up running or sweat it out at the gym (although you could!). Try taking a 30 minute walk after work each day or playing with your kids in the backyard. Anything that gets your body moving and heart rate up counts.

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