Stress can be one of the biggest contributing factors to bad health.  It affects you physically and emotionally, often wearing you down and leaving you susceptible to catching whatever illness is floating around.   You’re also more prone to getting blemishes, which we all have experienced, especially right before a big meeting or event!   Although there is no magic wand that can take away all the stress in your life, there are some simple things you can do to ease it and perhaps protect yourself a little more from getting that cold or breaking out.

Eat Your Carbs:  Long maligned for being bad for your diet, Harvard School of Public health dispels the myth and assures us that carbs are not only good for you, but necessary for proper body function.  Of course, this isn’t a “go” to snack on cake and cookies at the first sign of tension.   Some carbs are better than others.  Complex carbs like oatmeal and whole-grain breads and cereals actually help stabilize your blood sugar and make more serotonin, a chemical in your blood that contributes to making your moods better.

Work out:  Exercise is the best medicine for so many things and stress is one of them.   Just 30 minutes of low-impact exercise can give your mood a boost.  Try walking with a friend or biking to the store to get your 30 minutes in.  Get an energizing yoga video or take a class in the morning to start your day off refreshed, or find a “nighttime” yoga routine to calm your mind before you go to sleep.  The deep breathing from practicing yoga is also great for your circulatory system! 

Drink Orange Juice:  Or eat/drink any other citrus fruits or vegetables.  Citrus has been known to lower Cortisol levels, which is a hormone released in response to stress.   It’s easy to get a little more in your diet; just add leafy green vegetables and bell peppers to your salads or pop an extra orange or grapefruit into your lunch or add it to your breakfast.  

Take Some Time For Yourself:   I know there never seems to be enough time for yourself, but just a little time can refresh you.  Take a Saturday afternoon for a talk over tea with a good friend or just go to a café with a good book.  Leave work early and go to a movie or get a facial.  Just a little bit of time for decompression can go a long way.

Remember: Your health is paramount in yours and your family’s life.  How do you decompress after a long day?  Does your family get involved?  Share your best de-stressing tips in the comments!

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