These 8 Tips Will Make You Go From Stressed AF to Zen Queen
Mercury’s out of retrograde, you’ve had your morning coffee, but still, you’re feeling fried. It could be that you’re overloaded with stress. It’s an invisible demon that you’re likely not linking to other symptoms in your life, like feeling fatigued or even tummy issues.
That’s because stress lowers the immune system, which makes you much more susceptible to a host of diseases. But that’s only the tip of the iceberg. Stress increases your blood pressure, which can lead to many heart problems, including heart attacks. It also aggravates asthma and diabetes.
Handling Your Stressors
First, it’s important to realise what is causing you to worry and acknowledge it. Is it actually worth stressing about? Is it something you can get rid of? Eliminate the energy drainers and get back on track with these handy tips…
1/ Check Your Coffee Addiction
Too much caffeine increases anxiety and can even cause heart palpitations. A recommended dose is 400mg of caffeine a day, which is roughly four cups of coffee. But caffeine hides in things other than that Americano, like fizzy drinks and some teas. Nutritional biochemist Dr Libby Weaver finds that most of her clients are shocked by how much more energy they have without (or with less) caffeine.
2/ Separate Work From Fun
We hear it again and again: exercise is the ultimate stress slayer. But here’s an extra tip: don’t bring your worries on your run with you. Don’t allow yourself to think about relationship problems or work troubles – make workout time all about yourself. Although the treadmill will get those endorphins flowing, outdoor time is important too. Fresh air and sunlight do wonders. If after-work or early-morning workouts don’t work for you, use that glorious lunch break for a 30-min HIIT session.
3/ Your Lunch Is Wrong
What we eat for lunch can drain us, causing that notorious afternoon slump. If you find your energy tank at an all-time low around 3pm, it’s time to switch things up. Nutritionist Rob Hobson, co-author of The Detox Kitchen Bible, suggests that lunch should be kept within a 1:1 ratio of proteins to carbs, like a chicken, avo and quinoa salad or a mixed bean and feta salad. Yum.
4/ Be A Kid Again
Get creative – and get crazy. Put on some music and dance it out. Or get an adult colouring-in book and use this therapeutic activity to treat yourself to a little me time. Let yourself go, forget who you’re ‘supposed’ to be and let that wild kid inside be free.
5/ Learn To Say “No”
If you find yourself saying yes to everything, then you won’t have time for yourself. Say “no” once in a while and schedule some quality time for yourself. Clinical psychologist Dr Jessamy Hibberd recommends the 80:20 ratio: in most relationships, you give 80 percent of your time and energy and keep back 20 percent for yourself. But when it comes to ‘energy vampires’, flip it. Give 20 percent and keep that other 80 percent.
6/ Fix Your Sleep Hygiene
It seems obvious enough that if you don’t get enough sleep, you will be tired the next day – but don’t we all have that just-one-more-episode struggle? Time to put down the electronics and try a few pages of a good book instead. Another great find: researchers at the University of Edinburgh and the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in the UK found that magnesium can aid in peaceful sleep. Your body needs 300mg a day, which can be added to your diet through supplements or through lots of good, dark green leafy veg. Definitely worth a try for a quality snooze!
7/ Bring On The Vitamin B12
In a worst-case scenario, a vit B12 deficiency leads to anaemia or nerve damage, but you’re probably not quite there. You could still be lacking in the vit B12 department, though, and this zaps your mental energy and affects your attention span. To get the recommended daily requirement (2.4mg a day, according to the US Mayo Clinic), up your intake with shellfish, steak or eggs. Milk, cheese and yoghurt also contain plenty of the peppy vitamin. Vegan? Get a supp.
8/ Stand Up Straight
When you slump your shoulders and let your head hang, how do you feel? Not great. But when you pull your shoulders back, stand up tall and walk with confidence, doesn’t it feel so much better? When you hold yourself upright, your lungs are more open and you feel more powerful. Try to be conscious of how you stand and sit, as it definitely has an impact on your energy levels. Concentrate on your breathing too. Schedule times each day to do 20 diaphragmatic breaths – long, slow ones that move your tummy out as well as your chest. Then go out and dominate your day!