If you're like most people with fibromyalgia, you're always looking for ways to reduce stress in your life. Unfortunately, stress can aggravate fibromyalgia symptoms, so it's important to find healthy ways to manage it.
Here are five tips that can help you reduce stress every day.
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The number one thing we can do to help reduce our stress is to start daily rituals, including good habits for our mind and body.
1. FOCUS ON GETTING GOOD QUALITY SLEEP
Improving your sleep is an integral part of living better with fibromyalgia; it better manages our pain and energy levels. Sleep quality can also profoundly affect the amount of stress we feel.
If we already have a good deal of stress, not sleeping well will worsen it. 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 it is possible to get good quality sleep with focus, shutting off your phone early in the evening, taking measures to allow your body and mind to relax in the evening, 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.
► How to Sleep Better with Fibromyalgia
2. 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 to minimize the stress that hits you from somewhere unexpected, but you can reduce it or help manage it better by eating a healthy diet.
A healthy diet is well-balanced with fruits and vegetables, lean meats, healthy fats, and whole grains and fiber. This type of diet is ideal for fibromyalgia and provides nutrients to handle stress as it comes.
Dark Chocolate can help lower your stress levels. Research shows that it can reduce your stress hormones, including cortisol. In addition, the antioxidants in cocoa trigger your blood vessel walls to relax, lower blood pressure, and improve circulation. Dark chocolate also contains natural properties that can create an overall feeling of happiness. 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. When you eat repetitively, the stuff-your-face action that can demolish a large bag of chips in one go. When you feel this urge, it's better to reach for the popcorn. Popcorn is a healthier choice than chips because of its high volume, which slows down eating.
Also, popcorn is a good source of fiber which 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 to 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. So it's not surprising that we tend to crave high-carb and sweet treats when we're stressed. Carbohydrates increase the feel-good hormone serotonin levels and lessen the brain's response to stress.
Oatmeal can increase serotonin levels without the inevitable sugar crash from foods like doughnuts or cookies; it also delivers mood-stabilizing magnesium.
Spinach, kale, and collard greens are high in essential stress-reducing nutrients and minerals. In particular, B-vitamins help maintain energy, regulate mood and improve brain function.
Chamomile tea is known to reduce stress and anxiety. In addition, it can be used for relaxation and to help alleviate insomnia.
3. SPEND TIME OUTSIDE
Getting outside is healing for your mind, body, and spirit. You will get fresh air and vitamin D for your body, which is important for reducing stress levels. Being outside in nature can also motivate and inspire and 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.
4. SWAP COFFEE FOR TEA
Caffeine, unfortunately, can make your stress worse as it can increase the stress hormone cortisol. So if you drink a lot of caffeine from coffee or soft drinks, it might be time to consider reducing it.
First, 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.
5. LESS SOCIAL MEDIA
Have you 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 and anxiety, 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 toxic and doesn’t help someone already dealing with a good deal of stress. So 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 podcast or music, 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.
► 5 Self-Care Tips for Perfectionists with Fibromyalgia