Let’s face it – who hasn’t been bogged down by stress before? Often times when we’re feeling stressed, we reach for the bag of chips in the pantry or the carton of ice cream in the freezer. This is because when our minds are preoccupied, it’s harder for us to make healthy choices. Moreover, the instant gratification we get from eating junk food seems like it’ll make us feel better and put our worries at ease in that moment.
This all comes down to a hormone called cortisol. Termed the “stress hormone,” cortisol is secreted into the bloodstream at higher levels while the body is under stress. High, prolonged levels of it can lead to impaired cognitive performance, lowered immunity, and higher blood pressure among other things. Read on to see how you can stay healthy when you’re stressed!
In with the fruits and veggies, out with the sugar
Folate, which is found in many fruits and vegetables, helps to keep our stress levels at bay. There are particularly high levels of this vitamin found in asparagus, avocados, and berries. If you’re craving something sweet, reach for some fruit, as sugar only spikes our blood sugar levels, thus leading to a never-ending circle of stress.
Limit or avoid caffeine all together
Caffeine, which is found in coffee, tea, and some sodas, triggers the release of cortisol. This can make us feel more wound up, likely making stressful situations seem even worse. Not to mention – caffeine inhibits our ability to sleep and less sleep equals more stress.
Drink a calming chamomile tea before bed
High stress levels often make sleeping more difficult. At the same time, however, a good night’s sleep can greatly reduce the effects of stress. When we’re tired, we’re more easily agitated. Combat this reality by drinking a warm cup of chamomile tea before bed. Not only does chamomile calm our nerves, but it also promotes sleep – truly a win win!
Carve out some time to cook
Ever heard someone say that cooking is therapeutic? Well, it is. While you might not think we have time to cook, squeezing 20 minutes of cooking time into your day can make a big difference on how you feel physically and emotionally. It’ll help focus your mind, thus ridding your brain of dizzying stressful thoughts, and it’ll also help you regulate exactly what you are putting into your body.
Grab a friend and go for an active adventure
In times of stress, we often seek the companionship of a friend. Call over your best bud and go for a walk. Doing something active outdoors will release endorphins in your brain (yay, happiness!) and it’ll help you clear your mind. Plus, having your friend by your side will only make the experience even better by having someone to vent to!