On a day-to-day basis we spend much time taking care of our obligations and responsibilities. By making these obligations and responsibilities priorities, we sometimes forget our own needs, which can result in stress over time. The effects of stress show up on our faces, in our bodies, and in how we carry ourselves. Learn to counteract stress with these six small lifestyle changes for a balanced life, that are easy to implement daily, but which will have a great impact on the quality of your life.
Reward your thirsty cells with water. Long hours at a desk can make muscles feel sore and inflexible. Don’t be fooled by those who tell you that juices, coffee, and tea count for water intake. Any liquids containing sugar or caffeine drain moisture from your cells. Water replenishes the cells, with herbal teas running a close second. This doesn’t mean you need to give up other drinks, but do counteract their diuretic effect with H2O.
Avoid simple carbohydrates. Whole-grain foods are complex carbs, and are a better choice. Fresh fruits (in moderation) and vegetables, which are associated with high levels of antioxidants, are an even better choice, particularly if organic. If you feel the urge to add something sweet. try real Greek yoghurt, or nut-milk yoghurt, drizzled with honey and sprinkled with Ceylon cinnamon. Real maple syrup and black strap molasses (try it in coffee) are good additions to food because they contain helpful minerals for the body. That said, stevia is the best choice for sweetening foods. A herb from South America, it sweetens without raising your glycemic index, and is thus an excellent choice for diabetics and for those concerned about staving off diabetes.
Walk. Even if only a little every day, regular walking has been shown to have many health benefits and to promote general wellbeing. If you can, go for a walk three times a day after each meal. This encourages circulation in the body and brain, which can keep both mind and body active and relaxed. Recent studies suggest that exercise for as little as 12 minutes at a time helps reduce stress.
Get enough sleep. Inadequate sleep is responsible for poor choices and premature aging of both brain and body. Almost every individual requires between seven and ten hours of recuperative sleep. It allows the brain to sort through the day’s activities, file away important memories, and discard those of no value. Sleep cycles through a pattern which consists of approximately 90-minute periods. Interrupt a sleep cycle, and that disruption means the entire cycle’s benefit is severely depleted.
Practice meditation and mindfulness. Meditation and mindfulness will give your brain a different sort of rest than you can get even in sleep. Meditation is a chance to emerge from the tidal river of thoughts we float about in most of the day. There are dozens of forms of meditation. Mindfulness is a doing form of meditation, which can extend the increasingly well-respected benefits of a sitting. As little as ten minutes a day spent in total peace can make immense improvements in your life. For a great phone app with a worldwide meditating community, try out Insight Timer.
Date yourself. Appreciate yourself. Be as kind and thoughtful to yourself as you are to others. Even if you’re in a happy relationship, it’s important to recognise your own worth in order to balance how you care for those around you. Schedule some me-time in your diary for doing things that you enjoy, and treat yourself as you deserve. Dating yourself can mean taking a bubble bath, going to a film, getting a massage, or even just lighting a candle and reading a book with a cup of tea. Appreciation energetically supports your cells, which gives you stamina and joy.
Make use of any one of these suggestions and you’ll quickly experience improvements in equilibrium. If you would like additional help and counsel on how to find the right balance for your life, please contact me.