Stress is your body’s natural reaction to physically, emotionally, and mentally challenging events. Stress can affect your life in many different ways. It can lead to high blood pressure, heightened emotions, or even a change in your mindset. Stress is a natural part of life, but you can learn how to manage it.

While it’s nearly impossible to avoid stress, there are plenty of healthy ways to manage it. MyLifeWell is not only dedicated to helping you keep track of your fitness, nutrition, and wellness goals. MyLifeWell can help you manage stress and lead a healthy, happy life. Learning these five factors to managing stress can help you take charge of your well-being.

1. Healthy Nutrition

Stress can affect every facet of your life, including causing changes in your eating habits. Good nutrition is a key component of stress management. 

It’s important to eat enough but not too much. When we’re stressed, we can eat too much without realizing it. Or we might be so focused on other things that we forget to eat. Mindful eating teaches you to slow down and focus on your meals. Take note of what you’re eating and how much you’re eating. These practices can help you enjoy your meals and learn when to stop eating. Mindful eating can help you maintain a healthy weight. 

Practicing good nutrition can also help boost your immune system and give you the energy you need to handle stress. This means maintaining a healthy, balanced diet and staying away from fast food and junk foods. If cooking every day is too time-consuming, try buying healthy ready-to-go meals or start meal-prepping on weekends. 

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2. Self-Care

Stress can lead you through the peaks and valleys of emotions. When stress causes you emotional pain, treat it like physical pain. Give yourself the time and the means to heal. Take care of yourself.

Self-care can be anything that brings you peace, relaxation, and joy. It can be something to mentally distract yourself from the work-related or personal in your life. Or it could mean practicing a hobby you enjoy. Self-care can be whatever you want it to be. 

Here are some examples of self-care to incorporate into a stress management routine:

  • Socializing with friends and family
  • Playing video games
  • Watching television
  • Going out to dinner
  • Meditating
  • Reading a book
  • Listening to music
  • Going for a walk
  • Exercising
  • Crafting

There’s no right or wrong way to practice self-care, but practice it in moderation. As long as you feel good and aren’t harming yourself or others, self-care can be pivotal to managing your stress.

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3. Exercise 

Exercise has been proven to be an excellent method to manage and relieve stress. This doesn’t mean you have to adopt an intense fitness regimen. You could adopt a simple fitness routine that keeps you active and improves your overall health. Exercise can help you feel more confident, happier, and less stressed. 

If you aren’t already physically active, start small and slow. You could take a walk around your neighborhood or go for a light swim in your local swimming pool. Taking on strenuous forms of exercise before you’re ready can cause unwanted stress and fatigue. As you get more comfortable, you can try introducing new forms of physical activity that will boost your endorphins and help lower your stress. 

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4. Sleeping Well

Our society is always on the move, and it’s easy to feel like you’re getting left behind. Feeling overworked and worrying about catching up can cause you to lose sleep. Getting good sleep is essential for your health and well-being. The quality of your sleep directly affects your mood. Not sleeping enough can cause stress, and stress can cause you to lose sleep. On the flip side, sleeping well is a vital part of stress management, and the better you manage your stress, the better you’ll sleep.

One good practice is to set a regular bedtime and limit your screen time before bed. Give your mind and your eyes the time to rest. Constant stimulation from your phone or TV can cause physical and mental stress. It’s important to take time to relax at the end of your day so that your body and mind can prepare for sleep.

You could also limit your use of drugs and alcohol before sleep, including caffeine. Drugs and alcohol might feel like they have a relaxing effect, but they can reduce the quality of your sleep. While sometimes medicines or supplements may help you sleep better, consult your doctor before taking anything new.

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5. Taking Time To Relax

Since we live in a high-stress world, it can be challenging to take the time to slow down and reflect on the day. There are plenty of relaxation methods proven to reduce stress and improve overall mental health. 

When it comes to relaxation, there’s no one-size-fits-all option. Many different relaxation techniques can help relieve stress, and each has its own benefits:  

Muscle relaxation

This form of relaxation focuses on the physical effects of stress. One technique is to move your body into a comfortable position, whether sitting or lying down, and flex the muscles in your body. You can focus on the muscles in your hands, your legs, or anywhere else. Hold the flexed position for a few moments and then slowly relax them. This release will relieve tension and make you feel almost lighter.  

Breathing relaxation 

This is one of the more common forms of relaxation and can be done anywhere without a huge time commitment. A common practice is to be seated or reclined and close your eyes. Then you breathe deeply through your nose and hold that breath for 5 to 10 seconds. Then slowly release that breath and repeat the process a few more times. This helps you slow down your heart rate and relieve stress in your body.

Imagery or visualization relaxation

While it’s a bit more abstract, this relaxation method can help you feel calmer. With the visualization technique, you create an image or place in your mind to go to when you’re feeling stressed. This image or place can be anything that brings you peace, whether real or imaginary. So long as it makes you feel happy or at ease, it’s a wonderful way to manage and lower your stress. 

Many self-care practices can also contribute to relaxation. Consider trying a few different techniques to see which work well for you.

Don’t Stress Over Stress

We all experience stress. It’s a natural part of life and can happen anytime, anywhere. While stress can sometimes feel like the end of the world, it doesn’t mean you have to put your life on hold to manage it. Knowing the key components of stress management can help you live a happier and healthier life.