TOP 5 WAYS TO MANAGE STRESS NATURALLY
Updated: Jun 9, 2021
Throughout my healing journey, stress has been one of the biggest barriers holding me back. It comes back again and again, thanks to the crazy life we're living, but there are simple ways you can activate your body's calming system. Stress is at an incredibly high level right now with everything that is going on in our world today. The world feels like it's spiraling out of control and in the past 15 months, it seems more and more of what I can control is changing. What I can control is what I feed my body and my mind. I can control how I care for my family and myself. I can change how I respond to our circumstances. It all comes down to self-care. It comes down to communicating the message to yourself that you are worthy of peace. You are worthy of health. You are worthy of positivity. You are worthy of love. Self-Care has been such a joy to learn and practice but such a challenge to navigate. I have come to the understanding that the person, who is the best version of themselves, is able to serve the world better and that an essential part of health is to continue personal growth. Therefore, I’m always intentionally studying and practicing how to be the best version of myself, and I hope to share with you the knowledge I gain and the lessons I learn.
#1 MOVE YOUR BODY
One of the absolute best things you can do to take care of yourself and lower your stress levels is move your body. Exercise (even very mild exercise) can boost your endorphins and make you feel happier, strengthen your bones and muscles, decrease chronic pain, and improve your self–esteem, in addition to lowering your stress levels. The key is to pick a physical activity you enjoy doing. Try hiking…especially with friends, dancing…think Grey’s Anatomy & dance it out! Yoga, Pilates, go for a bike ride, even a 20 min walk is all you need to reap the health benefits of movement. You can even do that thing couples do… wink wink… do more of it…self-explanatory. Moving on. If you’re not currently exercising, start slow – there’s no need to be a hero! Remember, this is part of your self–care practice, so you shouldn’t dread it and it should make you feel better not worse
#2 GET ENOUGH SLEEP
Getting enough sleep on a nightly basis can alleviate stress quite effectively. Unfortunately, a good night’s rest can be elusive if you’re stressed out – especially if sleep problems are a major source of your day-to-day anxieties. Stress and anxiety can often lead to insomnia and sleep problems. Lack of proper rest can also lead to stress and anxiety. It's a bit of a round and round we go dilemma.
The good thing is that addressing one of these issues often lead to improvements of the other. What I have found to be the most beneficial for improving sleep has been to establish a nightly routine or what the experts call proper sleep hygiene.
If you haven’t gone to sleep within 15 minutes of going to bed, try getting up and relocating to another area of your residence for a relaxing activity such as reading, meditating, or listening to calming music; avoid watching TV or other activities that involve blue light devices.
#3 PRAY, MEDITATE, JOURNAL & BREATHE
Self care is highly individual. Each of these things focuses on your connection with yourself and your higher power. For me it takes all three to feel grounded and connected. For you it may simply be taking time to journal your thoughts or the simple act of breathing intentionally to created that grounding and connection your missing. Prayer is my favorite way to manage my stress. Turning to God for guidance, reassurance and laying my worries at the foot of the cross, puts life in perspective and gives me the confidence to handle what life send my way. Meditation is an broad term for the many ways to reach a relaxed state of being. There are many types of meditation and relaxation techniques that have meditation components. All share the same goal of achieving calmness and peace. There is guided meditation, sometimes called guided imagery, mantra meditation, mindfulness meditation or how I few meditation which is the listening after I pray. I encourage you to try different forms of meditation to find what feels right to you. There are several apps you can use to help guide you. Three of my favorites are Soul Space, Calm & Headspace. One of the most effective ways to reduce stress with journaling is to write consistently every day, write out your feelings and thoughts in as much detail as you can related to stressful events, kind of like you would discuss topics in therapy, and brainstorm solutions. Journaling allows you to clarify your thoughts and feelings, it's a good way to problem solve and it can help you to process challenging or traumatic experiences. There are several different breathing techniques that you can try. Simply pausing and remembering to take a moment to focus on your breath while inhaling deeply and exhaling completely could be all you need to keep your mind from racing off in to stress land. One of my favorite breathing techniques for managing acute stress or stressful situations is called Box Breathing or 4-Square breathing. The most beneficial breathing technique for resetting your parasympathetic nervous system or what's commonly known, as your rest and digest/fight and flight state is a technique called 4-7-8. Instructional Video check out this video on how to perform this technique.
#4 USE ESSENTIAL OILS
Essential oils are fantastic stress-interrupters. They have direct access to your limbic brain which governs your emotions and stress response. Simply inhaling their aroma is enough to cut through the frustration, burnout, and stress in a matter of seconds! You know I love my essential oils! I've written a entire post about my favorites so head over to that for all the details but here is a list of my go to oils for bringing that stress under control. Adaptive, Peace, Balance, Lavender, Serenity, Neroli.
#5 EAT A NUTRIENT-DENSE DIET
I know I know I’ve said you couldn't green smoothie yourself out of chronic stress but in my personal experience and at the clinic, the clients who were suffering from severe stress were able to experience healing through dietary and lifestyle changes. In fact, the well being of a person’s adrenals depends dramatically on what they eat! So...here are my general diet recommendations: A diet consisting of healthy fats, good quality proteins and non-starchy carbohydrates will support the adrenal function and overall health!
EAT REAL FOOD, MOSTLY PLANTS
"I have come to believe that self care is not selfish or self indulgent it's an act of survival."