We can’t get rid of stress, but we can take a few steps to help build some strength to cope with it, and bring ourselves regularly back down to zero. This in turn can help all our nutrition and exercise choices work so much better too.
Get up first thing and smell the coffee
Get outside as soon as possible. It’s still dark at the moment but we know that if we get at least our heads outside (even if it’s only through a window) and breathe (see next point) it calms down our brains, sets us up for the day and can even affect how we sleep that night. You have nothing to lose by doing this!
Slow, rhythmic nasal breaths. In for 4, hold for 4, out for 4. Combine this with the above. Your brain will love it!
I didn’t believe this till I tried it. 30 seconds cold at the end of your morning shower. It upcycles the vagus nerve (which makes up a big part of your nervous system) and gets you out of your brain. It also has been found to build “good” brown fat, which helps with insulin resistance and the immune system. Build up slowly and check in with a GP if you have any concerns or thyroid issues, but such a simple (and cheap) one to try.
Try the 5 minute tea brew workout in this newsletter, or go for a walk with some speed intervals (think 3 sets of 10 seconds) in the middle. This can help with insulin resistance and help deal with stress.
Think about Blood Sugar
As we get older we become more insulin resistant and therefore want to think about including foods that require small amounts of insulin released throughout the day rather than great whooshes needed after certain “sugary” foods. These can exacerbate insulin resistance and also result in the release of stress hormones adrenalin and cortisol followed sometimes by feeling pretty low. So think about including fibre – fibre slows down the release of sugars from food and helps to avoid those highs and lows. Fibrous carbs such as broccolis, spinach, green beans are always good to include, especially in the evening.
Sometimes say No (but not all the time)
You don’t have to do all the things all the time. I now know I cannot do certain things at certain times of the month and just say no. I also might sometimes bail. I’ll always try and reorganise but if people don’t understand they will come round (and if they don’t it is their loss). It’s a work in progress as I have to admit I am not a fan of the “flake” but I need to understand more and actually better to cancel then fall apart! Just be honest! (NB this is different to feeling the fear and doing it anyway as here I’m talking about giving yourself space to be able to do those things that will bring you great reward!, not doing all the things)
These are just a very few of the ways we can take a moment out for ourselves. Meditation, journaling, sleep hygiene, are also all tried and tested methods of helping to deal with our stress and build our resilience. Of course, if you are stressed and anxious, checking in with your GP is essential as more may be needed. But for milder situations where you feel a little low, then try some of these out!