Tips for managing stress and maintaining a healthy lifestyle

Healthy living isn’t just about eating the right foods and working out at the gym five days a week. A key component to a healthy lifestyle is practicing mindfulness to manage anxiety. Sometimes we are overwhelmed with the day to day stresses of life. Especially with the beginning of the new school year and packing lunches, getting homework done and dealing with the logistics of sports practices. We often times (especially women) tend to neglect our own care for the sake of caring for others. 

So keep working out and follow these tips for managing stress and living a healthy lifestyle in spite of outside factors in our lives:

  1. Acknowledge and accept that you cannot control everything. Sometimes you just have to let go of certain things and hope for the best. 
  2. You’re not perfect. It’s okay… just do the best that you can under your circumstances. And don’t compare yourself to other people. 
  3. Be positive. We all have negative thoughts from time to time, just don’t let that negativity take control. Negativity can be paralyzing.
  4. Learn what triggers your anxiety. Is it work, school, family? If you start writing down what is bothering you, over time you may notice a pattern and be able to figure out how to deal with it better.
  5. Get enough sleep. If you are stressed, you need more sleep than normal. And when you don’t get a good night’s sleep, then it makes it harder to deal with stressful situations.
  6. Drink more water. Choose water over caffeine and alcohol which can trigger panic attacks and anxiety.
  7. Don’t skip meals. Eat a well-balanced diet and keep healthy snacks on hand to give yourself a boost of energy during the day as needed.
  8. Take deep breaths and count to 10. Or 20. Sometimes we can forget to be still and just breathe. Taking the time to slow down and take a deep breath and be intentional about breathing in and out slowly can reduce anxiety.
  9. Volunteer. When we give back to our community, it helps us form a connection to those around us. Volunteering also gives us a break from the everyday stresses in our lives.
  10. Practice yoga. Not only is yoga a great form of exercise for the body, it’s also provides a means for you to clear your mind. If yoga isn’t for you, listening to music, or practicing other relaxation techniques like medication can also clear your mind.
  11. Pamper yourself. Treat yourself to a massage or a mani-pedi. Even getting your haircut (and having someone else wash your hair) will help you feel better!
  12. Cut your budget. Are you spending money on things you don’t need? Maybe you are paying too much for TV and just need a Netflix account. Or you’re paying for other monthly subscription services that you aren’t using. Look at your finances and find ways that you can cut your expenses as needed.
  13. Declutter. Organizing our homes and getting rid of items we don’t need can help your anxiety level. Do this one drawer at a time so it’s not overwhelming. Then you can decide if there are things you can keep, sell, donate, or throw away. 
  14. Take a day trip or a walk on the beach. Getting outside and away from day-to-day stresses can give your mind and body the break you need.
  15. Talk to your pharmacist to see if any of the medications you are taking has side effects that are a source of your symptoms. Don’t stop taking any medications without talking to your doctor.
  16. Talk to your doctor. If your anxiety has recently spiked, schedule a physical exam and ask for a blood panel. Be honest about your symptoms so the doctor can rule out any medical condition that may be causing your anxiety.
  17. Talk to a therapist. If your anxiety is too much for you to handle, and taking the steps above haven’t provided you with any relief, a qualified mental health professional can help you get to the root of the problem.  

Sources: Anxiety and Depression Association of America, and Psychology Today