Running around looking after others, working too hard and burning the candle at both ends is a recipe for personal disaster.
Taking care of yourself, physically, emotionally and spiritually is important if you want to live a good life, and be of service to others. Your body is pretty good at giving signals when it is tired or stressed, but they can be overridden, for a time at least.
Here are some things to be aware of to maximise your health and minimise stress:
When you feel tired, go to bed
Your body needs rest. Without adequate sleep, day-to-day stress compounds, compromising your overall health. There is little else you can do so easily as sleep, to keep your stress levels down and improve your health. When you feel tired, don’t fight it. Go to bed, very little is worth losing sleep over.
Keep drinking moderate
A drink with friends is a lovely way to socialise and unwind. If you find yourself unable to relax without a drink, or have a day off, that is a warning sign that you should not ignore. Drinking alcohol may give you the sensation of feeling relaxed, but the effects of alcohol on your brain cause an increase in chronic stress. Alcohol interferes with the restful part of sleep (REM sleep) and drinking alcohol tonight leaves your nervous system depleted. Have several AFD’s (Alcohol Free Days) each week.
Rest your mind
Your mind needs a break from work and responsibilities. Down time should include a little rest for the body, and for the mind. If you can’t take your mind off of the work that needs to be done, it may be time to learn some simple meditative exercises to help shift your attention. Taking a break from your mental to do list will improve the efficiency your mental work down the line.
Your body and mind need regular fuel. If you are too preoccupied to eat, or feel too hyped up to do so, your system is under stress. You will not be as efficient as if you eat small amounts of healthy food often.
Make time to move
Exercise is the most important tool you can use to regulate stress. If you’re not getting regular exercise, you’re not taking advantage of one of the simplest tools available to improve overall health and wellness. Small amounts of exercise throughout the day can be as effective as one concerted workout. Never miss the chance of 10 minutes worth of exercise – anything is better than nothing.
Keep the caffeine under control
It’s true that a small amount of caffeine (one or two cups a day) can improve your mental function and keep you alert. However, excessive caffeine can do the opposite – ensure that most of the liquid you consume each day is decaffeinated and non sweetened. Water is the best – don’t be fooled by sugar free drinks – they are not necessarily healthy options.
A problem shared…
Expressing worries, concerns or emotions is a healthy way to alleviate stress related health problems. Talk to a friend, colleague, or counsellor to focus your thoughts and help keep things in perspective. Excessive worry can lead to stress and depression.
Ask for help
Everyone needs a hand sometimes – whether it comes in the form of a take away meal, a ride, a hand with kids or an extra pair of hands at work. Never feel bad about asking for help – it can prevent many problems from getting out of hand.