When you struggle to de-stress it can mean that your body’s cortisol levels are too high. So many of us have high stress levels from worries about family, money, jobs, health issues and so on, and not to mention the pressure we have put on ourselves by being glued to our smart phones and having constant information coming to us. It makes it hard to switch off and enjoy the present moment.
We have put some tips together about how you can try and relax more and lower your cortisol levels.
Food intake: When you are stressed it is easy to go for the fast food and snack food options. But this is actually the time where you should eat healthy and take time to nurture your body. Food has a major impact on how you feel. When you don’t eat the right foods you can feel sluggish, have no energy, your skin can look dull, you gain weight, and overall not great for your self esteem. Some foods that are recommended will help lower your cortisol are nuts, broccoli, dark chocolate with high cacao content, whole grain bread, salmon, avocado, beet root, milk, green tea. Watch your alcohol intake, expert warn a glass of wine is fine to temporarily release your stress, but having a few too many, or right before bed time, effects the quality of our sleep at night. You can wake up feeling tired and with higher cortisol levels.
Stimulating endorphins: Take time out to exercise as this will release endorphins in your body also known as the body’s feel good chemical. If you haven’t exercised for a while, build this up slowly. Try 30 minutes of yoga and a 30 minute walk three times a week, till you feel comfortable to build it up to running or pilates or dancing. But one thing is clear, make the time to get of the couch and get your body moving! Booking yourself in for a regular massage is also a great way to get the endorphins in your body moving.
Environment: We have an emotional reaction to our environment. Have a look around you. Do you get easily distracted in your current enviroment? get organised, clean your space, so you can be more efficient in your daily chores or work. When you come home and you feel cold, go take a nice hot shower or a bath. put on some comfortable clothes, turn on the heater or fire place. Create some extra atmosphere, instead of turning on big lights, turn on some candles, perhaps put some aromatherapy oil in a burner.
Breathing: When we are stressed, we tend to breathe much shorter and we can feel our heart racing. Take more notice of your breathing. Slow down, take a moment and take a few deep breaths. Put your hands on your stomach, and feel it move forward as you breathe in. Allowing more oxygen to the brain helps us think calmer and more clearly.
Take time out: If you feel extremely stressed out, have a think about when you last had a proper break. Time away from commitments. Our purpose in life is to be happy. Book yourself a holiday even if that means a long weekend away. Removing yourself from your daily environment gives you a better perspective and it makes it easier to switch off from commitments back home.