Most people will agree that we live in stressful times. The pace of modern life can sometimes seem unsustainable, yet it never lets up. While life doesn’t come with a pause button, there are things you can do to protect your well-being as you navigate the stress of everyday life.
What is stress?
We’ve all experienced stress at one time or another. But what exactly is ‘stress’?
Stress is a physical and psychological response to a challenging situation. Throughout our lives, we experience stress brought about by a range of challenges with varying degrees of severity. Small stressors can be everyday challenges – like traffic, household chores, or wondering where you’ll find the time to get everything done. Major life changes like divorce, job loss, and death can trigger more severe responses. Even positive changes, like marriage, moving to a new home, or starting a new job can cause stress.
The symptoms of stress range from simple feelings of unease to physical symptoms like elevated heart rate and blood pressure, digestive issues, insomnia, and long-term mental illness.
Everyone reacts to stress differently. Some people use it to motivate them in work and life, while others do their best to avoid it. Regardless of where you find yourself on this spectrum, there’s always a threshold, and making sure that you don’t cross it is crucial to living a healthy life.
5 Ways to Deal with Stress
While stress is almost unavoidable, there are things that you can do to make it more manageable. Following are five effective techniques for managing stress in your day-to-day life.
1. Identify what stresses you and avoid the stressors
Identifying your stressors is an important first step towards managing stress. Set a time frame – a week is a good starting point. Whenever you start feeling stressed, note down what’s triggering your stress. At the end of the week, take a look at your list and categorise your stressors.
Many people are surprised to discover that they’re causing most of their own stress. Having very high expectations of ourselves, especially around things that are important to us, can make us our own worst enemies where stress is concerned.
Once you’ve identified your stressors, you can take steps to minimise them. Think about ways to change the things that are within your control. For example, can you dial back your perfectionism, delegate some of your responsibilities or eliminate activities or commitments that aren’t required and which bring you more stress than joy?
For the things you can’t change, the best you can do is cope with them. The following suggestions can help you to deal with stress in a healthy and constructive way.
2. Eat a healthy diet
Some people turn to food or alcohol to self-medicate their stress. While these tactics might feel good at the moment, they often lead to more stress down the road due to weight gain, feelings of guilt – or even worse, addiction. A healthier way to address stress through food and drink is to eat a balanced diet with an emphasis on stabilising blood sugar levels.
The BBC recommends these dietary guidelines for reducing stress:
- A balanced breakfast (avoid sweets and too much caffeine)
- 5 portions of non-starchy veg per day
- 0.07–1.8 g of lean protein per kg of body weight per day
- 1–1.5 litres of water
Mental health experts also advise against skipping meals, spiking blood sugar levels by eating highly refined foods (e.g., white flour, biscuits, chocolate) or drinking more than 1–2 caffeinated beverages per day (e.g., coffee, non-herbal teas, fizzy drinks).
Exercise is a natural stress reliever. Regular aerobic exercise can decrease overall levels of tension, positively impact mood, and improve sleep and self-esteem – and these benefits start to appear after just five minutes of activity!
While aerobic exercise is known to release endorphins, weight training and mat exercises like yoga and Pilates have also been shown to reduce the negative effects of stress by balancing the levels of ‘stress hormones’ in the body. Even a quick 10-minute walk can provide health benefits, so why not take a relaxing stroll after dinner while you’ve put the dishes to soak?
4. Practise mindfulness
It’s not uncommon for people to put an emphasis physical health, but giving equal attention to mental health can have profound effects on well-being.
Practising mindfulness can help. Meditation or breathing exercises might be one of the first things that come to mind when considering incorporating mindfulness practices into your daily life, but activities such as yoga and tai-chi, which incorporate a mind-body connection, can also be powerful stress relievers. A multitude of apps are available to guide you in incorporating mindfulness practices into your everyday life.
5. Stay connected
Many people choose to isolate themselves when they become stressed. While taking an occasional timeout can be just what the doctor ordered, making a habit of it can be counterproductive. Human interaction is an essential contributor to good mental health.
Instead of isolating yourself when life becomes chaotic, reach out for support. A quick phone chat or a cuppa with a friend doesn’t require much time or effort, but it can do wonders for your outlook.
Supplements for stress
Stress can put your adrenal glands into overdrive, causing them to produce excess stress-response hormones – adrenaline, noradrenaline, and cortisol. Exposed to chronic stress, these glands may lose their capability to produce these hormones in the right amounts.
Fortunately, certain nutrients like magnesium and B vitamins have been shown to support normal adrenal function.
DESEJR® offers a high-quality Magnesium Tri Complex supplement that helps to relieve tense muscles and provide better sleep. DESEJR’s® Vitamin B Complex supplement supports normal nervous system functioning and helps to reduce fatigue and feeling of tiredness.
Both of these one-tablet-a-day supplements are 100% vegan and free from artificial flavours and colourings, added sugar, GMOs, lactose, gluten, and the most common allergens. All of our supplements are backed by science and inspired by nature. They’re formulated in Denmark and lab-tested by an independent German laboratory to ensure their purity and potency.