A couple of weeks ago, I attended a talk at balance festival on how to deal with and relieve stress and I really felt like I learnt a lot so wanted to share some of what I learnt with you! The 3 main areas I am going to talk about are food, fitness and wellness, all of which play a major part in having a balanced and stress free life.
The main way food can help with stress is by controlling blood sugar levels. Spikes in blood sugar levels inevitably result in drops in blood sugar level so it is important to keep these levels consistent to keep your brain steady throughout the day. Obviously to do this you need to thinking about not having excessive amounts of sugar but also bare in mind that carbs turn into sugar in our blood stream so avoiding white carbs like white bread, white rice, white pasta etc. can help.
So many health people talk about cutting out all sugar or dairy or gluten and I really don’t agree with this. Everything is fine in moderation and I don’t think happiness can be found in restricting yourself from having things you love. I don’t know about you but for me ‘happy’ food is a bowl of creamy pasta or a home baked cake and while I don’t eat food like this every day and I do love a good salad, I don’t see the point in completely cutting them from my life!
Many people use fitness as a stress relief or to take their mind off things. What many people don’t realise is that exercise for weight loss or fitness is very different from exercise from exercise for stress relief. Adrenaline is actually one of the hormones that causes stress so if the purpose of your workout is to relieve stress then you want to be working not to your full potential and exercising for longer but at a lower intensity. Another point on fitness is actually scheduling it in and making it part of your regular routine; knowing you are going to workout 3 mornings a week or 2 evenings a week rather that just jumping in and out of doing it.
Finally and perhaps the most important, wellness. The simple importance of taking time out of the day to clear the mind is such an obvious one but one so many of us (myself included) forget. Taking 10 minutes each morning to do a simple meditation and taking 2 minutes to do a breathing exercise when you feel stressed will have such a great impact on your life and stress levels. If you’re just starting out with meditation then I would absolutely recommend the app Headspace. The first 10 days are free and actually at the moment there is an offer where you can get a free subscription to it with Spotify premium for students.
Ultimately stress is fear. A great exercise to try is writing out everything you are scared of happening in your life. Take a moment to realise the sheer unlikeliness of all of these happening at the same time! Then beginning working down the list, finding ways to make each less likely to happen to start relieving some of your fear/stress.
Sorry this is such a long and wordy post but well done for making it to the end! I hope that you have learnt something from this and maybe have some way to start implementing new something in your life or at least a different mind-set to try. Life is so stressful for everyone with pressures from studying, working, relationships etc. and I would love to hear how you cope with this.
Thanks for reading
Meg x x x