Reducing stress is important for good health. Doing so supports the immune system, helps reduce blood pressure, and helps us better prepare for life ahead. Self-care (aka taking care of yourself) can come in many forms, and looks different for everyone. We’ve compiled a list of a few ideas to get you started.
Ready? Set? Relax!
Sitting still and being alone with yourself is a great way to get re-centered. You can find a guided meditation on YouTube or download an app that keeps track of the time you’ve dedicated to your practice, like Headspace.
Progressive Muscle Relaxation, or PMR, helps to alleviate anxiety/stress by alternately relaxing and tensing muscle groups resulting in a state of calm. PMR includes both physical manipulation and purposeful mental relaxation lead professionally, via audio or video recording, or written manual. Session duration starts at 15-20 minutes, performed 2-3 times each day. Once PMR sessions become familiar, PMR can be done in shorter sessions and utilized as a tool when feelings of anxiety or stress come on. Try this video or this video on YouTube to get started.
Sleep is extremely important for managing stress effectively. Sleeping at least 7 hours a night is ideal. It helps lower blood pressure, blood sugar, and reduces cravings for sugar and refined carbs. It also makes us more resilient to outside stressors. Think about it, how short is your rope when you are tired? It’s natural to be more “on edge” when we are tired, so make sure you fill the gas tank, so to speak, with a good night’s sleep whenever you are able. You can make sure you’re getting enough by checking out your sleep data on your dashboard on the Brook app. Need more sleep? Ask for support in the Expert channel on your Brook app any day of the week and get advice from a Brook Expert.
Don’t underestimate the power of a good stretch. It gives you time to unwind, relax, and release tension. You don’t have to be able to bend yourself into a pretzel to enjoy yoga, either. Check out one we like to do after a long day here.
Taking on too much by ourselves lets the stress pile up. If you’re overwhelmed, reach out to a partner, close friend, co-worker, or health professional. You can also reach out to us on the Brook app to discuss more de-stressing techniques, and set a goal around self-care. Having someone to lend a helping hand takes some of the load off your shoulders.
What are your favorite ways to relax and recenter yourself? Make a list and keep it somewhere you can refer to when you need it. Add ideas to your de-stress toolbox as you discover new ways to help yourself relax.
on July 20th, 2020. Kelsea is a Registered Dietitian with her Master's degree in Nutrition from Bastyr University in Kenmore, WA, and is one of our Health Coaches.