Written by Natasha Zervaas N.P.
We live in a very fast paced world, we are working harder and longer hours than ever before, yet we are extremely time poor, and consequently, our physical and mental health is suffering. Stress related illnesses are almost at epidemic proportions in the western world today so somewhere along the way our lives are out of balance. Your greatest wealth in life will always be your health - if you end up getting really sick (God forbid), no amount of money in the world can buy good health.
According to a recent report from Medibank Private, in 2017 the number of people feeling the effects of stress rose by 32% from previous years. The main causes of stress being a lack of sleep and juggling too many things at once, ie complete stress and overwhelm.
Recent research from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare has revealed the shocking fact that psychosocial factors such as work stress promotes weight gain independently of diet and lifestyle factors. This is due to stress raising the body’s levels of the stress hormone called cortisol, causing your body to store more fat. So overwork, stress and anxiety is robbing you of good quality sleep, lowering your immunity and causing you to gain weight!
I want to help you change these statistics with my top three natural and proven stress busting techniques. Try to implement even one of these tips into your new daily routine, and watch as both your physical and mental health rejuvenates.
Tip number 1: Turn off to switch off!
Shut down your laptop, turn off your mobile and switch off the tv (including binge watching on Netflix!) at least one hour before going to bed. I know this is not an easy habit to break, but it is crucial to getting a good night’s sleep. Your body needs good quality sleep in order to rest and repair, and looking at artificial light such as blue light from your electronic devices lowers your brain’s natural production of the sleep hormone Melatonin.
Melatonin rules our natural circadian rhythm, ie it tells our body when it is time to go to sleep, plus it helps us to stay asleep. If you regularly burn the candle at both ends, go to bed late, get a broken night’s sleep, then try to drag yourself through another busy working day, something has got to give and your overall health and wellbeing will suffer if the long run.
Tip number 2: Move your body
Our bodies are not designed to sit in front of a computer for 8 hours, so it is important to move your body for at least half an hour per day. Movement doesn’t have to mean hitting the gym for a gruelling long session after work – just move -whether that involves a few yoga inspired muscle stretches away from your desk, or a quick stroll around the block during your lunch break to just clear your head. Aim to get outside every day and immerse yourself in nature – just looking at greenery is relaxing and has been proven to lower your blood pressure. It’s amazing how good it feels just to take a few deep breaths of fresh oxygenated air, feel the wind in your hair and the sun on your face! Hence getting some exercise outside everyday has multi-beneficial effects.
Tip number 3: Mindfulness and meditation
The scientific evidence for the benefits of meditation is overwhelming. Even elite athletes use visualisation techniques as part of their training. Never underestimate the power of your mind so if you want to make permanent and lasting changes in your life, you must make this a part of your daily ritual. Start your day with some time - just for you. Use this time to sit down quietly and set your intentions for the day. Living your life mindfully looks differently to different people so do whatever feels comfortable for you. You can set your daily intentions through journaling, repeating affirmations, listening to a short guided meditation, or just writing your ‘to-do’ list for the day. In the past I was soo guilty of not giving myself this personal time, but I have to say this tip was probably the single most effective treatment I participated in during my healing journey from Adrenal Fatigue (also known as Executive burnout). You could even use your afternoon tea break at work to take a quick power nap or listen to a guided meditation. Just ten to fifteen minutes per day to rest and reset can do wonders for stress reduction. Alternatively take a few moments before bed to listen to some relaxation music and unwind from the stress of the day. It doesn’t really matter when you take this time for yourself, as long as you do it!
I hope you’ve enjoyed learning how to reduce your stress in 3 easy steps.
So which one of these tips are you going to add to your self-care routine?