You work 40+ hours a week, worry about your bills, and still need to keep up with errands and house chores.

We’ve all been there. Days that are so jam packed, you can’t help but feel stressed, anxious and exhausted.

Worse yet, when we feel stressed, we tend to crave unhealthy comfort foods.  Even though stress is a completely natural reaction, too much stress can affect the immune system and cause harm to health.  However, even during the most busy days, there are ways you can calm yourself and relieve the dreadful feelings of anxiety or stress.

How can you relieve stress?

Practice deep breathing or meditation in the morning

Wake up feeling relaxed, and your day will be better. Set your alarm to a song you enjoy hearing, and take your time waking up in the morning. As you start to sit up, stop and take deep breathes or meditate. Clear your mind of any worries to start the day on the right foot. Waking up relaxed can make all the difference in your stress levels throughout the rest of the day.

Write down a to-do list

Just planning out your day the night before or in the morning will help you relieve stress. Think about it. If you keep trying to remember everything you need to get done, you’ll only add to anxiety and raise stress levels. Keep a notebook by your bed so you remember to write down your to-do list.  Once you write everything down, you’ll feel more organized and clear your mind of any worries.

Eat natural, healthy food

Certain foods can help calm you, especially foods high in omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon and walnuts. Also, the whole grains found in natural oatmeal stimulate production of serotonin in the brain, a hormone that helps you feel happy and relaxed. Some other good-mood foods are chickpeas, sunflower seeds and caffeine-free tea.

Image courtesy of StockImages / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of StockImages / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Drink less caffeine

Caffeine stimulates the central nervous system, causing your body to release adrenaline. Too much caffeine can leave you feeling anxious. If you feel stressed often, evaluate how much caffeine you’re consuming. If you’re a coffee lover, try to reduce your amount to one or two cups a day.

Exercise

Exercise releases endorphins that make you feel good. Sometimes people are stressed because their bodies are just not getting enough activity on a regular basis. After a high stress day, push yourself to get to the gym. You may not feel like going, but once you start moving, you’ll feel the stress leave your body. You could also do relaxing, mind-body exercises such as Yoga, Pilates or Tai Chi, to relieve stress.

Managing your stress is a big step toward taking care of your body and health. Too often, health gets pushed aside when life gets in the way.  These small ways to relieve stress can fit into any busy schedule. It’s all up to you to make happiness and health a priority for yourself.

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