Let’s face it: There’s never been a year quite like this. These extraordinary times are extraordinarily stressful and require a different approach to managing stress. It’s time to re-evaluate how we cope with our “new normal” to not only manage stress but also to build resilience. Using a variety of tools we can learn to not just survive but thrive.
Eat Real Food
With more of us finding ourselves cooking at home, preparing and eating whole unprocessed foods should be the priority when possible. Processed foods rely heavily on salt, sugar and fat in order to taste good and contain a fraction of our required micronutrients. This can lead to a whole host of issues, including blood sugar dysregulation and metabolic conditions.
By eating fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains we can keep sugar and salt at a minimum and easily assimilate a wide variety of nutrients to support the body’s natural processes. It’s no secret that these foods contain a multitude of antioxidants, which can counter the physiological effects of stress on the body. What’s more, whole food dietary strategies have been shown to be beneficial in strengthening the immune system and decreasing inflammation.
The good news is that eating healthy doesn’t have to add to your stress levels. There are many simple, delicious recipes to get you on your way.
Take a Deep Breath
One of the easiest and most effective techniques to manage stress and anxiety is through breathing and meditation. Cultivating a breathing practice can be life changing, and there’s a wide body of research that has shown its effectiveness as a stress solution. It’s free, easy and can be done just about anywhere.
With free apps like Calm, as well as guided breathing strategies like Headpsace, you can be sure to find a breathing technique that resonates with you. Taking five minutes first thing in the morning or just before bed can not only reduce overall stress but also support brain function and mental health.
Fill in the Gaps
In addition to building deep nourishment through food and managing the acute stress response with your breath, it’s also important to consider filling in the gaps with supplements. We need long-term support, which can be challenging to maintain. This is especially true when we are in fight-or-flight mode, which specifically takes a toll on the adrenal glands. The adrenal glands sit on top of the kidneys and produce hormones that help to regulate the stress response. While short-term stress may build overall resilience, long-term stress can lead to depletion and contribute to inflammation throughout the body.
Taking the time to nourish yourself in a variety of ways to build strength and resilience has never been so critical. Integrating just a few new strategies into your daily life to manage stress can help you create long-term wellness in these challenging times.