Are you dealing with a lot of emotional stress? Is it affecting you physically or mentally? If so, it is time to start taking action to reduce it once and for all. Even though stress is common, that doesn’t mean it is normal. There is a reason doctors ask you about your stress levels, because stress is so closely linked to physical and emotional health. This is particular true for sufferers of Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue and Chronic Pain.
The first thing we can do to help reduce our stress is to start daily rituals, which include habits that are good for your mind and body.
We Need To Focus On Getting Good Sleep
Sleep is an integral part of being able to live well with fibromyalgia, it allows us to better manage our pain and energy levels. It can also deeply affect the amount of stress we feel. If we already have a good deal of stress, not sleeping well is only going to make it worse. It’s also common 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 night time routine which may mean taking measures to allow our body and mind to relax, or trying natural sleep aids. If your own 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.
We Need To Eat Nutritious Foods
You will already know that having a healthy diet is important but it’s also tremendously helpful if you 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.
Foods that are known to be “stress busters” include -
Dark Chocolate can help regulate your stress levels. Research has shown that it can reduce your stress hormones, including cortisol, also the antioxidants in cocoa trigger the walls of your blood vessels to relax lowering blood pressure and improving circulation. Dark chocolate also contains natural properties that can create an overall feeling of happiness. Top tip - choose chocolate that contains 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 sprinkle of cinnamon on your popcorn for a subtly sweet flavor and extra dose of calm—this spice has been shown to stabilize blood sugar, and the scent can lessen feelings of anxiety.
Oatmeal is a quick, easy & versatile stress busting pantry staple. It's not surprising that when we're stressed we tend to crave high carb and sweet treats. 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 know to reduce stress and anxiety. It is used widely to promote relaxation and help alleviate insomnia.
Go Outside Whenever You Can Being outside is wonderful for your mind, body, and spirit. For your body, you will get both fresh air and vitamin D, both of which are really important to help reduce stress levels. Being outside in nature can also bring you motivation and inspiration, help you relax and unwind. Perhaps try to eat outside 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 as a result.
Trade in Your 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. You don’t have to give it up completely, but try switching to tea for at least one of your cups of coffee each day, then gradually increase how much low caffeine or no-caffeine beverages you have that are replaced with the caffeinated beverages.
Reduce Technology and 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 using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and any other social media sites you frequent if you feel worse after engaging in these sites.
Have a Nighttime Self-Care Routine
Self-care is amazing for you and can really 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 are 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 just do anything that relaxes you and helps you feel at peace.