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Five ways to stay healthy if you’re feeling stressed

Five ways to stay healthy if you’re feeling stressed

As we start a new week, here are five steps to keep yourself healthy in times of stress and overwork.

Five ways to stay healthy if you’re feeling stressed

Eat the stress away – but do it right

When we experience stress, it’s both easy and tempting to reach for quick satisfaction in the form of snacks.

However, while a sugar-rich drink or a fatty food fix may give you an instant spike of serotonin, our bodies’ natural feel-good hormone, it will do more harm than good in the long run.

Instead, opt for complex carbohydrates that will regulate your body’s energy levels over the course of the day, such as porridge with berries for breakfast and a sandwich with wholegrain bread for lunch.

In times of stress, it’s also tempting to eat at your desk. Even taking 10 minutes away from your desk to eat your lunch will vastly reduce your stress levels. Take time to savour the flavour, and try not to think about anything else but enjoying your tasty lunch.

Combat stress with good mood foods

Shake it off

Now that you’re eating right, shed your stress levels even further by getting moving.

No matter what form, intensity or duration it takes, exercise is the best way to reduce stress levels and replace them with feel-good endorphins.

And you don’t need to spend hours in the gym to gain some meaningful outcomes.

So if you simply haven’t got the time in your schedule, there are plenty of short and sharp cardio-based workouts that you can try in your living room or garden, and without any equipment.

Check out our guide of simple exercises to do at home – perfect when your schedule doesn’t allow for a massive run or a gym session.

Seek professional help

During times of stress, talking to someone else about what you are going through is likely the last thing on your mind.

However, it’s critical that you seek help before your stress levels start taking any kind of physical toll.

Taking that brave first step to open up to someone about what you are experiencing will pay dividends and help reduce you stress levels from the inside out.

If you feel as though your stress levels are approaching burnout, make an appointment with your GP.

From there you can talk through a plan of action, whether that’s discussing further lifestyle changes or approaching your boss about your reducing or altering your workload.

When thinking about how much sleep you should be getting, it's good to consider it in terms of quality as much as quantity. ISTOCK

Sleep on it

Getting a good amount of quality sleep is integral to navigating periods of stress in our lives.

In his book The Nocturnal Brain, Dr Guy Leschziner says, “Getting as much sleep as possible when you’re feeling overwhelmed will help to manage your stress.”

“If you are suffering from poor sleep, that will make your stress levels higher,” he adds.

However, for the many people who suffer from the range of sleeping disorders out there, this is easier said than done. Techniques such as cognitive behavioural therapy can help address barriers to sleep and improve the quality of your sleep.

13 ways to an improved night’s sleep

Try and do less

In Not Working: Why We Have to Stop, Professor Josh Cohen warns of excessive workloads being a leading cause of stress and burnout in adults.

Although it’s not advisable to do less than what’s expected of you, or to under-perform at work, Cohen suggests that much of what we do in our working day “is just window dressing, where you’re being seen to do something.”

If you can avoid that and stick to the essential tasks of your role, you may see your stress levels reduce.

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