The Importance Of Stress Management

purely inspired stress management

By Chelsy Austin | @chelsy.fit

There is one experience that all humans have in common and that is stress. Chronic stress can lead to feelings of anxiety, which can then lead to unhealthy coping mechanisms. Unfortunately, these unhealthy coping mechanisms can end up worsening stress in the long run. 

For example, sedentary lifestyle habits, consuming processed junk foods – such as foods high in sugar, unhealthy fats, and simple carbs, a failure to get enough sleep, and excessive alcohol use can all have adverse long-term health effects. 

The bad news is… stress is inevitable. 

The good news is… there are healthy ways to manage it! 

Here are some healthy techniques for managing stress:

  1. R&R is key. Take intermittent breaks and get enough sleep. Try setting an alarm to remind yourself to take breaks, stretch, take walks, and drink water while working. Also, make sure to practice good sleep hygiene by setting a cutoff time for caffeine, sugar, and screen time. When we are sleep deprived or unable to rest, our bodies kick into survival mode and produce an excess amount of cortisol, aka the “stress hormone.” Cortisol worsens anxiety, encourages our bodies to hang onto excess fat, and raises blood pressure, among other negative effects. In addition, we are often tired due to lack of rest, but mistake it for hunger. So, it’s important that you learn to tell the difference when starting your fitness journey!
  1. Eat well and hydrate. Be sure to provide your body with what it needs to accomplish your daily tasks. You will have more energy, experience better overall physical health, and will be better able to tackle life if you consume nutrient rich, whole foods, versus junk foods, which leave you feeling constantly sick and tired. Your future self will thank you!
  1. Avoid excessive alcohol. Excessive alcohol is not only toxic to the mind and body, but it negatively affects our sleep cycle, which can lead to low energy and increased anxiety during the day. Instead, try caffeine-free herbal tea and allow yourself time to fall asleep naturally. 
  1. Positive self-talk. Believe it or not, we can talk ourselves into and out of stress & anxiety. Perception is everything, so speak to yourself as you would speak to a friend… with kindness, empathy, understanding, logic, positivity, and optimism! 
  1. Breathe. This may sound silly, since we are breathing 24/7…but it’s important to practice conscious, intentional, deep breathing. Deep breathing exercises can lower blood pressure, increase calm, and more!
  2. Move. An active lifestyle, much like eating well and deep breathing, will improve your overall health and lower anxiety levels. Physical activity is a healthy outlet for the symptoms associated with chronic stress and anxiety, such as muscle tension, increased heart rate, and restlessness. Exercise also lowers cortisol levels, increases energy, improves aesthetics, and creates endorphins, which greatly improve mood! Learn to funnel your stress into physical exercise and the benefits will amaze you.
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