3 Ways to Better Manage Stress in 2021
Updated: Jan 27
It has long been understood that our mental and physical health are directly linked. When our mood is elevated and our stress levels low, we also see simultaneous physical benefits like increased levels of energy. On the other hand, when our mental health is suffering, we often see this translate into physical symptoms of distress such as a compromised immune system.
Stress is particularly important when it comes to our physical well being. When you feel overwhelmed by life, it is crucial that you take time to release that mental tension. That means slowing down your thoughts and focusing your energies inward in self-supporting ways.
Self-awareness can be the first step towards a happier and healthier life. That means learning to recognize signs of stress early on and focusing on mindful ways to ease the pressure. This blog will offer you three helpful ways to better manage stress in 2021 so you can reap the physical benefits of a healthier mind.
#1 Make Deep Sleep a Priority
Stress tends to build up, especially after consecutive nights of broken and interrupted sleep. According to the American Psychological Association, people who sleep less than eight hours experience greater stress than those who sleep at least eight or more hours a night. They also report that generally, people who sleep more throughout the night typically report lower stress levels than those who sleep less and do not prioritize restful sleep.
When you start to feel run down and mentally exhausted, prioritizing a restorative sleep should be your first step. In fact, sleep is so important that even the smallest amounts of sleep deprivation can affect memory, judgment, and mood. So, how does one go about getting a night of good sleep?
Start by putting your smartphone away for at least one hour prior to going to bed. Avoid electronics and bright screens and instead, do some activities that promote relaxation in your body. This could include gentle stretching or reading a book. Some people enjoy a hot bath with bath salts before bed.
Certain essential oils can also be helpful including lavender, chamomile, and marjoram oil. Finally, drinking a warm cup of oat or turmeric milk can fill your body with a warm, relaxing sensation right before your head hits the pillow.
#2 Book a Massage Appointment
Massage therapy is one of the best ways to eliminate stress and reintroduce self-care into your life. Now, coming from an Edmonton massage therapy clinic, this might sound a touch biased. But consider the facts. Studies have shown massage therapy can reduce cortisol levels responsible for stress by up to 30 percent. Massage has also been shown to increase serotonin and dopamine levels from 21 to 28 percent in some cases.
Massage treatment is centered around relaxation and works to ground recipients in the present moment. Have you ever experienced racing thoughts before? Most of us have. We bounce between daily expectations and future worries, running through likely and often unlikely scenarios in our minds until our thoughts have completely run away from us.
Massage is one of the best ways to ground the mind and slow the thought process down. As an experienced Edmonton massage therapist, I have worked to cultivate a space that is both nurturing and safe so my patients feel completely relaxed when they lay on the table.
I also practice techniques that promote relaxation and calming so my patients can restore their inner strength and balance. While weekly massage appointments are beneficial for some, that is not always realistic for others.
Incorporating mini self-massage sessions in-between your regular massage appointments can elongate the positive effects and mediate your stress levels when they begin to get too high.
#3 Breathing Exercise
Anxiety is a physical reaction to fear otherwise known as the fight-or-flight response. Your body reacts in these situations and often that means you feel tightness in your chest or your breathing becomes quickened. Studies have shown a strong correlation between high levels of stress and anxiety and shortness of breath.
In some cases, we may not even realize how quickened our breathing has become. Making breathing exercises a part of your daily routine can help you manage day-to-day stressors and avoid panic attacks.
Implementing breathing exercises can be easy. To start off, set aside five minutes of your day and increase that window as you get more comfortable. Practice several times a day at specified times. Not sure what breathing exercises look like? Check out these ten breathing exercises all designed to reduce stress while simultaneously promoting wellness in the body.
Stress Manifests Into Health Problems
When left unaddressed, chronic levels of stress manifest in all kinds of physical ways. Months on a busy project or even a few days dealing with a large life stressor can start to wreak havoc on our bodies.
Physical symptoms of stress can include fatigue, loss of appetite, headaches, and digestive issues. More serious issues can occur as well. For example, there have been studies that have linked long periods of stress to Type 2 Diabetes, in conjunction with other health factors.
This information is not intended to scare you. Rather, it is meant to help you better understand the effects your mental well being can have on your physical health and how to work towards a more balanced life.
By prioritizing sleep, booking regular massage appointments, and implementing daily breathing exercises into your routine, you will immediately begin to see the positive effects on your health and mental wellbeing.