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Holiday Complications: Stress and the Body, Part Two

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From the last blog you have an idea of how stress affects your body, and have four tips on how to manage it. In this blog, lets look at more solid information about each, as well as ways you can incorporate these things into life a little easier.

  1. Getting more sleep...

  2. Having a consistent sleep-wake schedule can really help your brain/body know when to increase Melatonin and when to decrease it. Try going to bed within the same hour each night and waking up within the same hour each morning.

  3. The blue light on your phone and other electronics can mess with your Melatonin. Make sure to be free of electronics for 30 minutes before you go to sleep or have the blue light filter on at the very least.

  4. Evaluate your caffeine intake. Some people are more sensitive than others, and it could be impacting your ability to fall or stay asleep (regardless of when you drank it).

  5. Getting more nutrition...

  6. You need protein, fats, and carbohydrates in your diet in order to function at your best. For example, if you aren't getting enough of protein, you might be struggling with brain fog, difficulty sleeping, increased hunger, or sugar cravings. If you aren't getting enough fat, you may experience dry skin, hair loss, or fatigue. If you are getting enough carbohydrates, you may feel tired or dizzy. Just because you have these symptoms doesn't mean you are deficient in one of these areas; however, it could be a sign. If you think you may be needing support in your diet, it may be time to seek out a dietitian.

  7. Try incorporating more whole foods in your diet, such as fruits and vegetables.

  8. Try incorporating protein with every meal.

  9. Reduce your sugar intake.

  10. Getting more exercise...

  11. There have been numerous studied over the years that show exercise has a moderate impact on improving depression. There are also studies that show it helps with improving anxiety symptoms.

  12. Exercise can increase your metabolism, which improves energy. It can strengthen your adrenal system and improve your ability to cope. It improves sleep, pain, and memory.

  13. Any activity is better than none. If you aren't able to hit the gym, go for a walk. Park farther away from the store. Stretch. Set a timer when you are at work to get up if you've been sitting for too long. Cardio and weights are both effective. Stretch before you go to bed. Wake up 10 minutes early and follow an on demand work out video.

  14. Implementing Breathing/Mindfulness...

  15. Download an application and try utilizing the guided exercises they have. Try it first thing in the morning, in the middle of the day at lunch, or at night.

  16. You can practice being present through out the day, even if it is only for a minute (and you don't need an application to do it, though some prefer it). Try it in the shower, when you are in line, when you are eating, or when you have a moment to just breathe. Try to focus on what you are doing, rather than what you need to be doing.

Trying all of these at once may be overwhelming. Try picking just one to focus on and try making it a habit for at least 30 days before you deem that it doesn't work. Your brain needs an adequate amount of time to try something in order for it to be effective.

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