Are you dealing with a lot of emotional stress? Is it affecting you physically or mentally? It's time to start taking action to reduce it once and for all. Even though stress may seem is expected, that doesn’t mean it's normal. There is a reason doctors ask you about your stress levels because stress affects both physical and emotional health. Stress can significantly affect symptoms of Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue, and Chronic Pain.
The first thing we can do to help reduce our stress is to start daily rituals, including good habits for your mind and body.
FOCUS ON GETTING GOOD SLEEP
Sleep is an integral part of living well with fibromyalgia; it allows us to manage our pain and energy levels better. It can also profoundly affect the amount of stress we feel. If we already have a good deal of stress, not sleeping well will make it worse. It’s also that difficulties with Fibromyalgia made worse by stress can increase our struggles falling asleep or getting quality sleep.
It may take time, but with focus, it is possible to get good quality sleep, whether that means shutting off your phone early in the evening, starting a new nighttime routine which may mean taking measures to allow our body and mind to relax, or trying natural sleep aids. If your attempts at achieving quality sleep are not working, don't hesitate to speak with your medical practitioner about your sleep issues. Getting quality sleep should be a high priority when striving to reduce stress.
EAT NUTRITIOUS FOODS
You will already know that having a healthy diet is essential, but it’s also tremendously helpful to deal with stress daily. You can’t always do much about the stress that hits you from unexpected sources, but you can reduce it and help manage it by eating a healthy diet of fruits and vegetables, lean meats, healthy fats, and whole grains and fiber. A well-balanced diet provides the nutrients your body and mind need to handle stress as it comes.
Dark Chocolate can help regulate your stress levels. Research has shown that it can reduce your stress hormones, including cortisol. The antioxidants in cocoa trigger your blood vessel's walls to relax, lower blood pressure, and improve circulation. Dark chocolate also contains natural properties that can create an overall feeling of happiness. Top tip - choose chocolate that has at least 70% cocoa for maximum benefits.
Air-Popped Popcorn. According to Prevention Magazine, one of the side effects of stress is autopilot eating, that repetitive, stuff-your-face action that can kill a bag of chips in 10 seconds flat. Popcorn is a better choice than chips because its high volume slows you down, while the fiber can stabilize blood sugar and pull the reins on mindless munching. The carb-rich snack can also spike serotonin, a relaxing neurotransmitter that regulates mood. Try adding a cinnamon sprinkle on your popcorn for a subtly sweet flavor and an extra dose of calm—this spice can stabilize blood sugar, and the scent can reduce anxiety.
Oatmeal is a quick, easy & versatile stress-busting pantry staple. It's not surprising that we tend to crave high carb and sweet treats when we're stressed. Carbs increase levels of the feel-good hormone serotonin and lessen the brain's response to stress. Oatmeal can increase serotonin levels without the inevitable sugar crash from foods like doughnuts; it also delivers mood-stabilizing magnesium.
Spinach, kale, and collard greens, in particular, are high in vital stress-reducing nutrients and minerals such as B-vitamins, which help maintain energy, regulate mood, and improve brain function.
Chamomile tea is known to reduce stress and anxiety. It can be used for relaxation and help alleviate insomnia.
Being outside is lovely for your mind, body, and spirit. For your body, you will get both fresh air and vitamin D, both of which are important to reduce stress levels. Being outside in nature can also bring you motivation and inspiration, help you relax and unwind. Perhaps try to eat out during your lunch break, take a short walk or read a book sitting outside in your garden. Try to spend more time outdoors, and see if it helps your stress naturally reduce each day.
SWAP COFFEE FOR TEA
Caffeine, unfortunately, can make your stress worse as it can increase the stress hormone cortisol. If you drink a lot of caffeine from coffee or soft drinks, it might be time to consider reducing it. Switch to a low-caffeine tea or herbal infusion for at least one of your daily cups of caffeinated beverages. Then gradually increase more and more caffeinated drinks with no-caffeine drinks.
LESS SOCIAL MEDIA
Have you ever noticed that your stress is worse on days when you spend a lot of time on social network pages? Too often, these sites increase stress, whether from the latest tragedy in your city or country, political or religious debates, or just drama with people you know in your life. Social media can be really toxic and doesn’t help someone who is already dealing with a good deal of stress. Now is the perfect time to start cutting back on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and any other social media sites you frequent if you feel worse after engaging in these sites.
Self-care is fantastic for you and can help you to relax each day. If you have a lot of stress at work or home, give yourself a few minutes every evening that is just for you. Listen to your favorite music or a podcast. Go for a walk, practice mindfulness, write in your journal, draw, paint or do some coloring, take a bath, or do anything that relaxes you and helps you feel at peace.
Read next: Eat Your Stress Goodbye.