Thursday, February 24, 2011

Stressed? Stay-Healthy Tips

We're all overloaded with stress every day. It's the nature of the society in which we live. But sometimes we face higher-than-usual stress events and we need to keep a focus on our lifestyle to get us through it relatively healthy. Here are some specific things for you to focus on. This is not an exhaustive list, but a place to start. In no particular order:

Take Supplements - Supplement with good quality fish oil, magnesium, iodine, B-complex and vitamin D3. Calcium and vitamin C are also good to keep up with. I could list dozens of supplement ideas, so if you've been taking something that works for you, please continue.

I also found that St. John's Wort was effective for me.

Get Rest - During a high-stress event, sleep doesn't come easy. Even if you get to bed 'on time', you may lie awake, toss and turn, and wake up before you intend to in the morning. You may not even feel like you've gotten any rest at all, but maintain a routine as best you can.

If you have trouble sleeping, try my Honey-Lemon Water. I discovered by accident one night that this gives me a great night's sleep. I don't know if it's the honey, the lemon, the hot water, or the combination, but I drink this when I get in bed and sleep soundly until morning. If I don't have this, I toss and turn quite a bit. It's worth a shot.

Also, listening to 'white noise' on your iPod may help you fall asleep. I have some great thunderstorms and babbling brooks that I use on occasion. (Target has some great CDs for this.)

Relax - Find time during a high-stress event to do something for yourself. Make a coffee date with a friend, take a walk, read a book, relax in a bubble bath, schedule a pedicure, listen to classical music while drinking tea, pray. Do something that will help you unwind and focus on something besides the event.

Exercise - More than ever you need to incorporate movement into your day. Just a 10 minute walk three times a week will have tremendous health benefits. Lift some 5# weights when arising or getting into bed. Park farther away from the door or take the steps instead of the escalator. Every little thing you do adds up for your health and alleviates stress.

Take Your Time - Slow down! Don't rush through your day, especially when eating!

Mireielle Guiliano says in her book, "French Women Don't Get Fat" (an excellent book!):

"Eat only at the table, only sitting down. Never eat out of cartons. Use real plates and decent napkins, if you have them, to emphasize the seriousness of the activity. Eat slowly, chew properly…Do not watch television or read the paper. Think only about what you are eating, smelling and savoring every bite. Practice putting down your utensils between every few bites, describing to your self the flavors and textures in your mouth."

I would add to that (and I think she did later in her book) to pick your head up out of your plate and notice your surroundings and enjoy and converse with the people around you.

PS - I also like the "eat slowly, chew properly" part. Thoroughly chew your food, not only to enjoy it, but because digestion starts in the mouth. If food is properly chewed your stomach will thank you!

Eat a Whole-Foods Diet - Even just eating can be hard when going through a difficult time, but be sure to do your best to eat something and the closer to whole-foods it is the more beneficial it will be to your health. Vegetables, fruits, nuts, and lean protein work to keep your digestive, immune and respiratory system working properly.

Have A Support System - Talk to one or two close friends who will support you. You need somebody there to listen when you want to talk things out. Find friends who will only love you more and never judge you. Ask them if it's ok to text them for keeping in touch, and have regular coffee dates so they can be your sounding board. Good friends make ALL the difference!

Whatever the high-stress event you are going through, do your best to walk it out one day at a time. Don't become overwhelmed and afraid of what's going to happen one, five or ten years down the road, just focus on getting through today. I speak from experience that sometimes it has to be one minute at a time, but you WILL get through it. Just make sure you come out the other side as healthy and in-tact as possible.

What tips do you have for stress relievers?