Top Five Tips to Help Manage Stress
Stress. I have it. You have it. And NO one wants it. It can quite literally make us sick if we do not know how to avoid or manage it. I am going to share my top five tips to help manage stress with because I know this time of year almost always brings on more stress.
The Essential Tips
Tip One: Know your Limitations.
This sounds easy enough, but sometimes it is hard to say no. Especially if it is in your nature like mine to be of service to others. I know I have a finite number of hours to get work done each day. I also know I have a finite amount of time to plan for each week so I can be available to my kids before and after school. Just like you, I only have so much time in my day to do “all the things.”
So, make sure before you over commit your time; a valuable resource you cannot get back; that you know how much time you have available to say yes to extra things.
Tip Two: Make sure you are getting enough sleep.
I cannot stress this enough. Sleep is an integral part to our wellness plan. I average about eight hours every night because I make it a priority. If you need a reason, to make sleep a priority, take a look at this information:
- “Short sleep duration might be associated with an increased odds ratio for perceived stress compared to adequate sleep duration (Choi, etc., 2018).”
- Not getting enough sleep can affect your overall mood for the day – making you more perceptible to stress (Triantafillou, etc., 2018).
- “Interestingly, there is evidence that even short periods of sleep can be beneficial. Specifically, a short afternoon nap (<30 minutes) significantly reduced subjective sleepiness and fatigue in the afternoon both in elderly and in young subjects, while subjective mood and performance in a task were also improved (Vyazovskiy, 2015).”
In case you need the extra encouragement, get plenty of sleep at night and or take a nap if you feel like you need one!
Tip Three: Fuel your body.
Nutrition is just as important as sleep and knowing your limitation of time. It is why so many qualified aromatherapy practitioners ask you about your nutrition. I know a doctor here locally that would stop prescribing pills if he could get his patients to get the right amount of sleep, exercise, and eat with nutrients in mind…
Think about it, when we are hungry, we tend to be “hangry.” Hangry means not only are we cranky, but we are likely not dealing with environmental stressors very well. “The evidence with regard to the impacts of malnutrition, including both under- and overnutrition, on health across the life cycle is incontrovertible (Raiten, etc. 2015).”
So, make sure you are truly eating well because it can affect how well you manage stress as well as affect your body’s ability for immunity to virals.
Tip Four: Move your body.
No one likes to do it. I don’t like to do it. BUT even I have learned to make time for it. Exercise.
There has been a lot of research on it. In fact, the beginning of one abstract for a study on it starts with “Both cumulative adversity, an individual's lifetime exposure to stressors, and insufficient exercise are associated with poor health outcomes (Stults-Kolehmainen, Tuit, Sinha, 2014).”
Did I mention above about the local doctor who would stop prescribing pills if people got enough sleep, were properly nourished, and exercised? Oh, I did. It is that important! Just five minutes a day can be beneficial!
Tip Five: Use Aromatherapy.
This is a concept that sounds easy enough, but when we are in the heat of the moment and spiraling out of control, remembering to use anything can be a challenge. Especially if it’s not handy. But there are a few things you can do to make your essential oils handier in those situations.
Pick out your favorite soothing essential oils and create a stock blend that you can put in an aroma stick. Then keep that aroma stick in your pocket, your purse, maybe make a second that stays at work.
If you know you are going to have a rough start to your day, add a drop of your soothing blend to your shirt collar. Alternatively, you can blend a few drops of your stock blend with some argan and add it to the tips of your hair.
If you have a soothing stress ball made with an absorbent material, you can even add a drop of oil to it.
Just keep those items close or handy to you. Having them nearby makes them more accessible and easier to remember.
- Tip One: Know your Limitations.
- Tip Two: Make sure you are getting enough sleep.
- Tip Three: Fuel your body.
- Tip Four: Move your body.
- Tip Five: Use Aromatherapy.
These are all things that you can do and should do. If you need a little help in these areas, reach out to your licensed physician and work them to get the help you need. If you need a little help creating a blend for yourself, reach out to me. I would love to help you!
Choi, D.-W., Chun, S.-Y., Lee, S., Han, K.-T., & Park, E.-C. (2018). Association between Sleep Duration and Perceived Stress: Salaried Worker in Circumstances of High Workload. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 15(4), 796. doi: 10.3390/ijerph15040796
Triantafillou, S., Saeb, S., Lattie, E. G., Mohr, D. C., & Kording, K. P. (2018). Relationship Between Sleep Quality and Mood: Ecological Momentary Assessment Study (Preprint). JMIR Mental Health, 6(3). doi: 10.2196/preprints.12613
Vyazovskiy, V. (2015). Sleep, recovery, and metaregulation: explaining the benefits of sleep. Nature and Science of Sleep, 171. doi: 10.2147/nss.s54036
Raiten, D. J., Ashour, F. A. S., Ross, A. C., Meydani, S. N., Dawson, H. D., Stephensen, C. B., … . (2015). Inflammation and Nutritional Science for Programs/Policies and Interpretation of Research Evidence (INSPIRE). The Journal of Nutrition, 145(5). doi: 10.3945/jn.114.194571
Stults-Kolehmainen, M. A., Tuit, K., & Sinha, R. (2014). Lower cumulative stress is associated with better health for physically active adults in the community. Stress, 17(2), 157–168. doi: 10.3109/10253890.2013.878329