Stress and anxiety levels in American society climb higher and higher each year. Unfortunately, high stress levels do more than just affect mental health. They affect physical health too. The doctors here at Integra Urgent Care know all too well that stress-related illnesses are real. While you can treat these illnesses as they arise, preventing them by cutting down on your stress level is a much better approach. Here are seven simple things you can do to cut down on stress in your life.
Get Your Sweat On
Exercise is a great way to let go of stress while boosting your body’s immune system. It also helps promote good heart health, which is essential as we age. Brisk walks, bike rides, weight lifting and gym classes are just a few ways that you can get your sweat on. Find an exercise that you love, and commit to getting in a good workout at least three times a week.
Stretch & Release
When we experience stress, our bodies often respond by tensing our muscles. Over time, tension can build up and cause pain. Taking a few minutes to stretch or do yoga every day is a great way to release tension and get rid of stress. Getting a massage, taking a hot bath or participating in a foam roller class can also help ease muscle tension.
Choose Healthy Foods
Many people crave junk foods when they’re stressed. Unfortunately, these foods drag down the immune system and don’t provide the fuel you need to get through your day. Focus on eating a healthy, balanced diet. Research immune-boosting foods and add them to your plate. Be sure to include plenty of health proteins and carbs to give you the energy to work or play all day too.
Take It Slow
The pace of modern life keeps getting faster, but that isn’t necessarily a good thing. Rushing to eat, work and take care of other essentials is detrimental to overall health. Make sure that you have time every day to step back and take it slowly for a few minutes. It could be 10 minutes of meditation or a long, quiet lunch. Of course, creating a healthy sleep pattern is also an essential part of taking it slow.
Spend Time Developing Hobbies
Hobbies give you a way to engage with something that you enjoy while getting out of your own headspace. If you’re feeling stressed, get back into hobbies that you’ve enjoyed in the past or explore new ones with family and friends. Learning a new skill can help boost your confidence and sense of well-being.
Take a Deep Breath
Your mom might have told you to take a few deep breaths when you were upset as a child, and she knew what she was talking about. Deep breathing is a great relaxation technique that helps refocus your mind. Start by sitting in a quiet place and closing your eyes. Take a deep breath, concentrating on drawing air deep into your belly. Hold the breath for a moment and release. Repeating this sequence for 5 minutes or longer can help restore a feeling of calm.
Talk It Out
If you try stress management strategies but are still overwhelmed, it’s time to talk it out with a loved one, doctor or counselor. Talking with someone else can help you process your feelings and emotions. It’s especially important to talk with someone right away if you feel extremely tired, depressed or stressed all the time.
If you feel overwhelmed by stress or worry that you might be suffering from a stress-related illness, check in to Integra Urgent Care online so we can help. Our physicians are here to help you regain peace and balance in your life.