How To Care For Yourself During Stressful Times
Our brains are constantly making decisions, whether we’re handling conflict at work or getting groceries. Although we can’t control when or why stressful situations happen, we can control how we handle the stress that comes with them.
How Stress Affects Your Brain
Under stress, parts of our brain don’t have the energy to perform their tasks. Our brain allocates more energy to basic survival functions rather than higher-order tasks, such as thinking and storing memories, to protect us.
Chronic stress can eventually lead to a build-up of cortisol. High levels of cortisol create disruptions in your brain’s regulatory functions. Chronic stress has been linked to decreased sociability, long-term memory impairment and even brain size reduction.
What Stress Can Do to Your Body
Stress can show itself through physical, emotional and mental side effects. Headaches, muscle tension, irritability or anger and social withdrawal are all symptoms of stress. Prolonged stress can cause or worsen serious health problems, including mental health issues and cardiovascular disease.
How to Keep Calm Under Stress
Taking the necessary steps to manage stress can help us live a healthier life. Here are a few stress-busting techniques to help you regain control.
Deep breathing, meditation or yoga are all activities that fight stress. Practicing techniques that encourage self-awareness allows us to connect with ourselves and remain grounded, despite stressful circumstances.
Incorporate breathing exercises into your day-to-day routine to give yourself a break. Apps like Headspace and Buddhify motivate you to take a moment for yourself.
Get Some Sleep
Sleep plays a crucial role in every process and function our body carries out. Without adequate sleep, our bodies fail to recover, which can be detrimental to our overall well-being. Getting enough sleep means we’re able to make smart decisions, regulate our mood and concentrate.
Take an Epsom Salt Bath
Soaking in an Epsom salt bath reduces inflammation, cramping and spasms – all physical side effects of stress on the body. Not only is it relaxing, but an Epsom salt bath can help restore magnesium levels as well.
Regular exercise improves your overall health, sense of well-being and stress levels. Raising your heart rate increases the production of endorphins, which are the feel-good neurotransmitters that cause a runner’s high.
For the average adult, the CDC recommends 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week. Walking, running, strength training and cardio are all effective ways to reach this weekly goal.
When to Perform Your Routine
Don’t wait until you’re feeling overwhelmed to try these activities. Establishing a stress-prevention plan before you’re feeling stressed will allow you to regain control of your routine.
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