In today’s hectic world, it’s easy to let our plates get full and our stress levels skyrocket. Some days, it feels as though stress and worry are just part of adulthood…
But they don’t have to be.
While some stress is part of life, living in a constant state of stress, worry, or anxiety can quickly take a toll on your physical and mental health. The good news is there are simple lifestyle changes you can start implementing today to help manage stress levels and improve your mental health.
Nurture Your Body with Nutritious Foods
The phrase “You are what you eat” isn’t just an age-old saying…it’s rooted in scientific fact. Food is the fuel our bodies use to function—and the quality of the fuel you ingest affects your overall health, mental clarity and gut bacteria! Think of it this way: every single bite you take is either helping you fight illnesses or feeding disease.
Steer clear of artificial additives, overprocessed ingredients, and foods high in sugar. Instead, opt for (limited) whole grains, lean protein, dark leafy greens, and plenty of fruits and vegetables.
Move Your Body
Exercise is nature’s natural anti-depressant. Studies show that even low-level exercise like walking or gardening can have a profound affect on mood and stress levels, not only that, but most adults are Vitamin D deficient due to lack of time spent in the sun! (and you know what vitamin D fights?... you guessed it—COVID)
This doesn’t mean you need to invest a new home gym system or a high-dollar membership. Go for a walk. Take a yoga class. Enjoy a bike ride. Aim to move your body for at least 30 minutes 3 times a week and slowly work your up to longer workouts.
Get Plenty of Sleep
Nothing makes you feel more miserable than sleep deprivation—and it can quickly (and negatively) affect your mental health. According to the CDC, adults age 18 – 60 should try to get 7 hours of sleep each night.
Make sleep a priority and your bedroom a sanctuary. Consider removing all electronics from your bedroom (yes, even the television). Reduce (or eliminate) screen time 2 hours before bedtime, and if you can’t—invest in some blue blocking glasses. Spend your time just before you go to sleep reading or practicing meditative breathing (maybe even on an acupressure mat). Create a consistent bedtime routine and stick to it—doing so will help train your body that the time to sleep is fast approaching.
Build a Support System and Giggle
Humans are social creatures by nature, but we often forgo positive & purposeful interaction with others because we’re just too busy, we’ll see friends “later” or we’ve about had it with humans by the end of the day.
Make spending time with people you love and trust a priority. Gather a close group of friends, grab lunch with your sibling, or plan a coffee date with your favorite person. Reconnect with the people you can trust with your worries and fears. Having a support system gives you people to turn to when you need to talk about your feelings… and if you don’t need to talk about your feelings: Laugh, and laugh A LOT.
“Laughter reduces the level of stress hormones like cortisol, epinephrine(adrenaline), dopamine, and growth hormone. It also increases the level of health-enhancing hormones, like endorphins.Laughter increases the number of antibody-producing cells we have working for us and enhances the effectiveness of T cells. All this means a stronger immune system, as well as fewer physical effects of stress”
Grow with Audible
If you’ve made lifestyle changes and are still feeling anxious or depressed, don’t hesitate to reach out to a professional or find some self- development books on audible.
Discussing your feelings with a professional therapist can help you get to the root cause and understand why you’re experiencing them, but it can be expensive. Audible can deliver some seriously great books that help, if you implement them for only $14 a month!
Some of my personal favorite self-development books are:
- Letting Go by David R. Hawkins
- The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday
- Atomic Habits by James Clear
It’s easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of stress and pressure that the world too often tells us is normal. It’s NOT normal to feel fatigue and aggravation every day.
Your mental health is important, so start making small changes to better yours today.
Be well, friends!