By Angela Montgomery, Contributing Writer
Is STRESS affecting your productivity, your relationships, your health, and holding you back from showing up in life at your best? Do you suffer from digestive complaints that you just can’t seem to find the cause?
Do you once in a while get the feeling of suffocation or shortness of breath? Do you sometimes experience the inability to communicate or focus? Do you have to depend on coffee or other stimulants to get going in the morning? Do you have to rely on alcohol or sleeping pills to wind down at night? These are just a few out of the many physical symptoms caused by chronic stress.
And those are just short-term discomfort… in the long run, chronic stress can cause:
- Nutrient deficiencies
- Increased chances of cardiovascular disease
- Weakened immunity
- Digestive issues
- Weight gain
- Decreased healing ability
- Premature aging
Chronic stress is not something you can cure with a pill and call it a day. The best way to manage stress is to build a tool kit of holistic approaches and coping strategies that you can draw upon any time life throws you a curve ball (which is not infrequent!)
Besides looking at your nutrition, supplementation and exercise, creating a more simplified life can help to reduce stress.
Are you always going, always busy, and scheduled to the max? The first step to living more simply is to take a hard look at the way you are living and be honest with yourself. Make a list of things that you can cut out or cut back on to make life more simple.
5 Ways to Live More Simply:
- Get rid of “Stuff”. Too many “things” around us can cause us to be stressed. Start by clearing off tables, desks and counters. Only put back the things that are absolutely necessary. Consider donating the things which you no longer need or use.
- Limit screen time. Really ask yourself if being in the “know” is making you feel more or less stressed? It IS ok to not be up to date on every news story or every reality show. At least an hour before bed, turn off the TV, computer or any screens. While you are home, leave your cell phone in another room (or even turn it off!). Check email only twice a day. Try avoiding mindless computer and TV time for a few days and you will be amazed at how much time you have to work on other things that are more pressing.
- Plan ahead. Many times we can feel stressed when we don’t have enough time to prepare a meal, making us think we should reach for the instant foods, or even the drive-thru. The truth is, those foods can actually cause our body to feel more stressed simply because they aren’t filled with nourishing ingredients. Making a simple meal plan for each week and basing it on the schedule of your family is very easy. It only takes a few minutes to look at the calendar, write down a few easy meals based on ingredients you have on hand and even prep a few things. If you have more time, you can spend a couple of hours on the weekend preparing meals for the coming week. There are many great online resources for how to do this.
- Stop multi-tasking – focusing on one thing at a time helps you become more efficient and focused.
- Schedule quiet time everyday – even if it’s just five or ten minutes. Close the door, turn off the computer, silence the phone. Take these few precious minutes to do what nourishes your soul and recharges your battery.
How do you reduce stress? Do you have any tips for living a more simple life?
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