16 Highly Effective Ways to Reduce Stress and Build Resilience
There is no denying it.
Right now is one of the most tense periods we have gone through as a society in quite some time. Who would have thought that so much could happen in 6 months?
Certainly, none of us knew as we were celebrating the beginning of a new year and decade, that we were about to enter one of the most tense, strange, and at times overwhelming, periods we have faced as a society in quite a long time.
This is a time of great uncertainty not just in terms of the pandemic and all its repercussions but also in terms of the economy itself.
There is truly no knowing how long this will all go on for.
Which is why it’s important that we find ways to better deal with stress so that we can continue to show up at our best.
And that’s why I’ve put this post together.
Not because I am some Jedi master of stress, far from it.
But rather because I myself have been through a few of my own stressful and demanding periods.
I know what it’s like to have panic attacks. I know what it’s like to feel overwhelmed.
But all of this forced me to learn different approaches to dealing with stress.
It’s shown me that it’s not just about reducing stress but also about actually improving your resilience to it.
In fact, improving your resilience to stress may be just as important as reducing stress.
And luckily there are many ways that you can do this as I have come to find out.
And now I would like to share them here with you, in the hope that you may take benefit from some of the suggestions yourself.
This isn’t your typical “stress management” post that preaches the same old strategies and methods.
This is a post that delivers strategies and methods that you may have never considered, or even heard of, yet are backed up by real and tangible science, and my own personal experiences with them.
You certainly don’t need to do all of them. It's about finding what works for you and implementing it.
Let’s get started.
Your Allostatic Load and Why It’s Important:
Now before we dive into the various techniques I am about to share with you it’s important that you understand the concept of allostatic load and how it applies to you.
Once I learnt about this concept it forever changed my understanding of stress.
Basically, allostatic load is a measurement used to measure the amount of stress being placed on your body.
You can think of your allostatic load like a bucket. And each little stressor adds to this bucket.
Many people are unaware that they are continuously placing added stressors into their lives that are adding to their total allostatic load and their ability to handle stress.
As seen in the pictorial above, this person's total allostatic load is getting very high, in fact, it’s close to spilling over.
This is how many people are operating on a daily basis.
You will know when your allostatic load is getting high because you will start to find things more stressful than usual, you may also find yourself feeling tired, unrested and unfocused.
You may also find yourself more frustrated, restless and irritable.
This is a sign you need to start taking time to slow down, to take better care of yourself and start making some positive changes in your life.
The problem is many people don’t even realize this is happening and just push on through (I’ve been guilty of this) and that’s when you will really start to notice things.
Here is another pictorial to give you a visual representation.
As you can see this person's allostatic load has now gotten so high that it has passed the body’s ability to handle and it has begun spilling over the bucket (not good).
You will know when you have reached this point because you begin to notice your stress tolerance is extremely low.
Simple things like a text message from a friend, a notification on your phone or a crying child will seem stressful and overwhelming.
You may also notice yourself feeling exhausted, anxious, burnt out, frustrated at everything, unmotivated and experiencing a low mood.
This all has to do with the fact that your allostatic load has gotten far too high.
This is why many people in the current climate we are in, are finding themselves far more tense than usual.
People’s allostatic load, which for many was already high, is being further added to by the uncertainty in the world right now.
Luckily, there are many simple things you can do to begin reducing your allostatic load so that you bring your body back into balance and allow yourself to continue showing up at your best.
Here’s another little pictorial to further help explain it.
The cup represents healthy measures (which you’re about to learn) which as you can see begin to remove the liquid (stressors) from the bucket and therefore begin lowering your allostatic load.
When you do this you will begin to see many positive benefits. Such as increased happiness, productivity, stress tolerance and focus.
It all comes back to your allostatic load.
Ok, now you understand the why. Now it’s time for the how.
I said this wasn’t going to be another typical post stating the same things we have heard before.
I know you have heard how important and beneficial meditation is.
But how many of us actually act on this advice? If you’re like most people then you have most likely brushed this advice off into the “maybe one day” or “not for me” box.
I know I did for a long time.
But meditation is something that I have now been doing for almost 5 years, and I’ve had my ups and downs with it.
But these last few years I have really stuck with it and rarely ever start my day without it.
Studies have shown that not only does meditation relieve stress but actually improves your ability to cope with it.
I believe the easiest way to get into meditation is through using an app. I’ve found headspace to be the best and most accessible way of getting started.
And if you still find that meditation just isn’t your thing then you could always try things like Yoga or even Tai Chi. Which are essentially moving forms of meditation.
Just find what works for you and stick to it.
2) Use Food
Now before you go off thinking that I am giving you permission to chow down on an entire bucket of ice cream in one sitting or smash through an entire pizza to yourself, let me stop you.
While this might bring some momentary pleasure, it certainly won’t help with your stress levels in the long run.
Instead, a better option is to reach for healthy foods that have been proven to relieve stress.
Healthy fats are crucial for optimal brain and hormone function, and consuming the right amount of healthy fats will greatly help with managing stress.
Some great sources include:
Nuts and seeds: Nuts and seeds are a rich source of healthy fats as well as B vitamins which are crucial for energy and stress.
Avocados: Not only are they full of healthy fats but they also contain high amounts of vitamin C, B vitamins and potassium, which make them a powerful tool for relieving stress.
Here are some great sources:
- Grass-Fed Beef
- Flax seeds
- Chia Seeds
You may also want to supplement with omega 3 if you find it hard to get it from your diet. Just make sure you find a good brand of fish oil because many use rancid or polluted fish.
A good brand is ‘Nordic Natural’ Omega 3. You can also now buy algae omega 3 which is the only plant-based source of Omega 3 that includes both EPA and DHA forms of Omega 3.
Another stress relieving food is healthy carbohydrates.
Now I don’t mean refined carbohydrates like white potato, doughnuts, cookies and muffins.
But rather, slow-releasing low glycemic carbohydrates like those found in quinoa, buckwheat, black rice, brown rice and sweet potato, all which actually help to keep blood sugar stable and also help with balancing out neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine.
Which will lead you to feel more relaxed and better able to deal with stress.
Yep, you heard me correctly.
But before you get all excited and fill up on as much chocolate you can get your hands on. I am not talking about the sugar-laden chocolate you find in the checkout aisle.
I am talking about Dark Chocolate.
And yeah I am that weirdo who prefers dark chocolate anyway.
A fairly recent study from 2018 has shown that dark chocolate is a potent food not only for relieving stress and improving mood, but also improving brain function.
This is thanks to its high amounts of Cacao, a rich source of flavonoids and antioxidants, as well as a natural serotonin and oxytocin booster, two of the brain’s feel-good chemicals.
You can also go one step further and go straight to the source by purchasing raw cacao powder and then adding it to smoothies, drinks or even porridge.
It’s delicious and very good for you.
3. Improve Your Gut Health
Do you know that 90% of serotonin is produced in your gut? Not your brain?
Yep, it’s true. That’s why it’s starting to be called the second brain.
In fact, it’s been shown that having a low-stress tolerance can often be linked to lower numbers of good bacteria in the gut and that by improving your gut bacteria you can improve your ability to cope with stress.
There are two ways you can begin improving gut bacteria.
The first is to begin consuming more fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, yoghurt and kefir. All which contain an abundance of good bacteria and nutrients that have been proven to improve mood.
A star stand-out is Kefir, a fermented drink that literally translates to “feel good”.
It contains not only the highest probiotic count but also high amounts of tryptophan, a precursor to serotonin, which is likely why so many people report improved mood after drinking kefir.
There are a lot of benefits to consuming fermented foods, the only drawback is that some people may find that fermented foods do not exactly agree with them.
This usually has to do with the fact they are high in histamine which causes issues for some people.
If you find that when you consume these foods you break out in a rash, a fever or find that you have stomach pains then you may be better off starting out with probiotics first and then introducing them later when your gut has healed more.
Now there are literally thousands of probiotics on the market today.
I should know I have tried many of them.
3) Top Up Your Vitamins and Minerals
Now, of course, we want to be making sure that we are getting all of our necessary vitamins and minerals in our diet.
The problem is that most people’s diets really aren’t that good.
Plus, some vitamins and minerals are actually lost through stress.
Leaving people even more deficient.
And therefore more in need of support through supplementation.
Now there are literally thousands of different supplements out there and an endless amount of vitamins and minerals you can take.
Most of these can simply be obtained through a healthy diet.
However, there are three vitamins and minerals that almost every person is deficient in and are also quite difficult to get through diet alone. All three are also extremely important in managing stress.
Let’s take a look at them:
Now, of course, we have all heard how important vitamin C is for supporting our immune system.
But did you know that Vitamin C is powerful for stress?
You see Vitamin C has actually been shown to assist with clearing out excess cortisol in the body as well as improving the body’s ability to handle stress.
In fact, a 2002 German study which subjected participants to stressors such as public speaking and math problems found that cortisol and blood pressure levels were significantly lower (meaning they were less stressed) in those who received a vitamin C supplement.
Of course, it’s always best to get Vitamin C through food, but given how chronically stressed most of us are these days, supplementation may be necessary, at least initially.
However, this doesn’t mean buying the $5 vitamin C supplement you can buy at the supermarket which will just lead to your toilet and getting more vitamins than you do.
Instead, opt for a high-quality version of vitamin C.
One of the best is buffered vitamin C which allows for a sustained release and easier absorption of high doses of vitamin C without typical side effects like loose bowels and stomach upset.
The second powerful mineral for stress is magnesium.
Magnesium is responsible for over 300 biochemical processes in the body and most importantly it’s nature’s most powerful anti-stress mineral.
It helps balance blood sugar, improve sleep quality, optimize circulation and blood pressure, relax tense muscles and calm the nervous system.
So chances are you’re not getting enough magnesium into your system.
So by getting your magnesium levels up you can almost instantly reduce your body’s stress load and also improve your health.
It also helps with improving sleep. In fact, I take my magnesium supplement at night for this very reason.
Again you want to ensure that you’re getting quality magnesium that is actually going to be absorbed by the body. Some of the best and most researched include: Magnesium citrate, orotate, malate and glycinate.
We all know that vitamin D is crucial for healthy bones. But did you know that vitamin D is also important for regulating mood?
Now the best way to get your vitamin D levels up is of course sunshine. The problem however, is that most of us rarely get outdoors these days.
And depending on where people live, getting outdoors in the winter isn’t all that viable.
That’s where supplementation becomes important.
And luckily vitamin D is quite inexpensive. Just make sure you’re getting vitamin D3, not D2 which is the cheap poorly absorbed form.
I’d also recommend a liposomal or liquid form of vitamin D if you’re looking for the best bang for your buck.
4) Get Outdoors
Want to know the easiest way to reduce stress and improve your mood?
Now I know the world is currently in varying degrees of lockdown. But for most, it is still okay to get outside and get some sunshine. Especially if it’s your own backyard.
And if you do, it’s going to make a world of difference.
I am sure you can all relate to how much happier and more relaxed you feel after being outdoors on a sunny day.
In fact, just the other day I experienced this again myself.
I was feeling a little under the weather and I noticed the sun was out for the first time in quite a while.
So I decided to just sit outdoors in the sun while I ate my lunch. It felt so good that I ended up taking my shirt off and just closing my eyes and lying in the sun for 20 minutes (it wasn’t a very hot day so don’t worry I didn’t get sunburnt).
It felt amazing and I felt so relaxed and happy after it.
Why does this happen?
Well, it turns out that sunlight may actually help boost serotonin levels as well as vitamin D, which we now know is critical in regulating mood. It has also been shown that just getting some sunlight helps to break down cortisol in the body.
So if you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed, one of the best and most simple things you can do is get outdoors and go for a walk, whether that be first thing in the morning, during your lunch break, or at the end of your day.
Just getting outdoors and getting back into nature and getting the sunlight your body craves will instantly reduce your stress levels and improve your mood.
5) Get Barefoot
Yes, you heard me correctly I said barefoot.
Now before you brush me off as a tie-dye shirt-wearing hippy, hear me out.
I’ll be the first to admit I had a hard time believing it as well.
But as it turns out there is actually now a lot of scientific research to back it up.
I am sure you can all relate to walking barefoot or laying down on a beach or lush grass and the instant relaxation and calm you feel.
Many people even find they doze off easily when laying on the beach or grass.
Well as it turns out this isn’t just coincidence but rather a result of having direct contact with the earth.
You see, science has recently discovered that the surface of the earth is actually brimming with what are called free electrons that are readily absorbed by the human body when your bare skin comes into contact with the earth’s surface.
And it turns out these free little electrons are very good for us.
A study completed by the Journal of Environmental and Public Health found that when test subjects were grounded, there was a:
“Rapid activation of the parasympathetic nervous system and corresponding deactivation of the sympathetic nervous system”
In basic terms instant stress relief.
And it’s not just stress that ‘grounding’ (as it’s called in the scientific community) benefits.
Getting yourself connected to the earth has been shown to reduce inflammation, pain, improve heart function and sleep.
All of that from just simply taking off your shoes and getting outdoors.
So what are you waiting for? Release your inner hippie and get barefoot.
6) Do More of the Things That Bring You Joy
This has been a big one for me.
A few months ago I was feeling a little off.
I felt like all I was doing was working, rarely do anything that brought me joy or fun. Sure I’d watch a few Netflix shows here and there but that was really it.
So I decided to try a little exercise and make a “Joy List”.
Basically you go through and write out all the things that bring you joy and once you figure them out you start implementing more of them in your life.
When I did it, I was shocked that basically everything on my list I wasn’t doing anymore.
A big one for me was writing, in fact, that’s actually what got me into writing here on Medium.
I also came to realize that video games were something that brought me joy, yet I hadn’t touched a video game in almost a year. Others were reading and catching up with friends.
I don’t know about you but for a long time, I felt guilty for relaxing and playing a video game, watching my favourite show or a movie.
I felt like it was a waste of time and that there were too many things I had to do and goals I wanted to achieve that I didn’t have time to rest.
I’d be constantly running at half or a quarter energy levels in a near-constant state of stress until I had no option but to rest but feeling too tired to enjoy it.
But now I have found giving myself time to completely switch off and do something that brings me joy without feeling guilty.
I actually come back with more energy, drive and am able to get a lot more done.
You see, we live in a society that has become obsessed with being ‘busy’ wearing it almost like a badge of honour.
The busier you are the better.
But there is a big difference between being busy and being productive.
Yet so many people just forget this trying to fit a million things into each day only half doing each of them.
If you’re like me and find yourself feeling guilty doing things for yourself then maybe you would benefit from a little thing I have created for myself called “guilt-free rest”.
Basically what they are, are periods of time where I allow myself to completely rest without feeling guilty.
For me, that is usually on a Friday night or Saturday afternoon.
Where I allow myself to play a video game, watch a movie, catch up with friends or even binge watch a Netflix show without the slightest bit of guilt.
Not only does this allow me to refresh and come back with more energy, but it also allows me to work harder throughout the week knowing I will be breaking at the end of my week.
Doing this also ensures that I don’t overindulge in these things and that I am able to enjoy them more when I do them.
And when I do it I always come back with more energy and drive.
And it’s something I would highly recommend implementing.
So figure out your joys, and begin implementing them into your life. It will make a huge difference.
Who doesn't love a good laugh?
We have all heard laughter is the best medicine.
And it’s being confirmed by science too.
Laughter has been shown to enhance oxygen to the lungs, muscles and brain. It also puts us in a parasympathetic state (relaxation state) and soothes tension.
The question is how often do you actually laugh?
If you’re anything like me you can find yourself getting a little too serious sometimes.
As someone who loves setting goals, making to-do lists and scheduling everything, even relaxation. As well as consuming personal development, writing, business and health advice on every possible medium on a daily basis.
It can be easy to forget to laugh, be stupid and have fun sometimes. But recently I have come to realize that I need to start allowing myself to have a laugh a bit more often and have more fun in my life.
In this culture that has become so obsessed with busyness and achievement, many people see relaxation as weak or unproductive.
But as I have realized, having a good laugh, relaxing and having fun is all part of being productive.
In fact, if you don’t allow yourself to do these things then your productivity begins to seriously suffer.
No matter how much you love your work you still need to make sure you’re not allowing yourself too get too serious and forgetting to have a good laugh.
So for me, I am starting to get more into watching more comedy TV series (just finished Silicon Valley recently, a very good show!) talk shows and having more laughs and cracking more jokes with my friends and family.
Life’s too short to be serious all the time.
And in a time when there is so much tension and uncertainty, we could all do with a bit more laughter in our lives.
So, stop being so serious and have a good laugh. It will make a huge difference.
Now I know this one might be harder given the current climate we are in, but it still has it’s place because it’s just so powerful.
When was the last time you got a massage? Have you ever had a massage?
It’s okay if you haven’t.
I was 26 before I went in and had my first massage. I remember I was amazed at how relaxed I felt after it, I felt so calm and centred after it and the benefits lasted for days after.
There is a reason it’s recommended so highly for stress. It works.
This has to do with oxytocin (a feel-good chemical) that is released by your body as well as the reduction in cortisol as a result of the massage.
It also has a slew of other health benefits.
But do you really need studies to confirm all this? Just go out and get a massage for yourself whether that’s from an actual massage therapist or someone close to you.
And you will see first hand for yourself just how powerful it truly is.
Breathing is one of the most simple and easiest ways to reduce stress…
Let's try it out.
Take a deep breath in.
And now breathe out.
Do it a few more times.
I bet you’re feeling a little better, right?
That’s the power of your breath.
Now I know we have all heard this before but just because we have all heard it doesn’t mean we actually do anything about it.
I know, I’ve been one of those people.
But recently I have really been getting into breathing properly and it’s been having a big impact on me.
I first decided to really start improving my breathing after reading a chapter from Health Expert Ben Greenfield’s book “Boundless”, where he describes how a simple breathing technique was used by Navy seals to remain calm during periods of extreme stress.
It’s called box breath and it’s extremely simple.
Here’s how to do it.
- Breathe in through your nose for 4 seconds
- Hold it for 4 seconds
- Breathe out through your mouth for 4 seconds
- Hold it for 4 seconds
- Start again and repeat.
I remember the first time I tried it I was amazed by how powerful was.
And now I try to use it whenever I feel myself becoming too tense.
I’d highly recommend trying it out.
Did you know that breathing through your mouth is the most inefficient way to breathe?
In a Ted talk by Patrick Mckeown entitled Shut Your Mouth, Change Your Life Patrick, who is also the author of a book the Oxygen Advantage, reveals how nose breathing is actually our natural way of breathing, yet most of us have trained ourselves to be mouth breathers.
Which has many detrimental effects including poor sleep and heightened stress levels.
Ever since learning this I now make a conscious effort to breathe through my nose. It has a huge impact on my stress levels and has also improved my concentration and focus.
I’d highly recommend giving it a try.
When was the last time you had a bath?
I remember when I first started getting back into baths it had literally been years since I had stepped foot in a bath.
But the moment I had one, I was absolutely blown away by how powerful it was.
And now ever since, I have made it a weekly ritual to have at least one bath a week.
I usually also add Epsom salt to the bath to bring up its benefits even further.
You see, Epsom salt is actually a potent source of magnesium, which you already know is a powerful stress reliever and when you soak in it you end up soaking it in through your skin.
Couple this with relaxing music and deep breathing, a book or even a Netflix series (as long as it’s a comedy or something relaxing) and you will literally melt your stress away.
Try it. You will never look back once you do.
11) Adaptogens and Nootropics
An adaptogen is a substance that supports the body’s ability to handle stress.
They have been used for thousands of years in Chinese and ayurvedic medicine and are now being backed up by science.
And given the stress-filled world, we now live in (especially at the moment) their use and importance cannot be overlooked.
The great thing about adaptogens is that not only do you usually feel benefits almost immediately but they also get better over time.
There are many many different adaptogens out there that you can try.
But I am just going to share with your the ones I personally use and have benefited from.
Also while these herbs are completely safe they can sometimes have interactions with some forms of medications. So it’s best to consult with your GP if you’re on some sort of medication.
Eleuthero (Siberian Ginseng):
This stuff works.
After having tried many different adaptogens I can say without a doubt that this is the most powerful.
I first heard about it when listening to a podcast where they were interviewing gene expert Dr Ben Lynch where he was asked if he could recommend one thing that every person on the planet should take.
After I heard this and looked into some of the research behind it myself.
I immediately went out and bought it for myself. And have been amazed by its benefits.
It’s kind of hard to explain. It’s not like some of the others that will make you feel relaxed.
This affects you in more subtle but profound ways. Like finding that things that would usually stress you out no longer do and just being more present.
It’s powerful stuff and if you were to take any adaptogen I would recommend this one.
I take it at night because it’s been shown to also improve sleep.
This would have to be my second favourite adaptogen.
It’s a powerful herb that has a lot of research behind it especially in terms of it’s effect on stress and anxiety.
I’ve found that this herb really helps me with winding down and feeling relaxed at the end of my day and helps me sleep a lot better.
It’s especially helpful if I’ve had a particularly demanding or stressful day and am feeling a little tense or worked up.
I usually take it before bed.
It’s another one that I’d highly recommend.
This is another one that I’ve tried and felt benefit from.
I’ll admit, I haven’t felt the benefits anywhere near the amount I have from the other two.
However, I did still find some benefit from it, so I thought it was worth sharing here with people. I took it as a tea.
Nootropic is simply a fancy word for a substance that improves cognitive function. Whether that be by improving mood, improving focus or reducing stress.
There are a lot of nootropics out there, but the one that has some of the most evidence to back it up is L-theanine.
Out of the many different supplements that I have tried, I would say that L-theanine is one of the most effective. At least in terms of its ability to see noticeable benefits almost immediately.
I still remember the first time I tried it and being amazed by how much it improved my focus. Things just seem to flow better and I was able to handle more tasks without becoming overwhelmed.
But that’s not the only benefit of L-theanine. It’s also very powerful for stress and anxiety.
It’s ability to do so largely come from the fact that it helps with GABA production in the brain, a neurotransmitter responsible for relaxation and focus and usually found to be low in people having issues with stress and anxiety.
So if you find yourself feeling a little more stressed than usual, L-theanine might be of help for you.
I find that taking it first thing in the morning is the best time to take it, as it allows me to start my day in a focused yet relaxed state.
Exercise has been shown to be one of the most effective forms of stress relief.
I am sure you can all relate to how much better you feel after a good workout.
This is because when you exercise it actually releases a whole host of endorphins into your body, which naturally lifts your mood and also aids in the breakdown of circulating adrenaline and cortisol in the body.
Just make sure that like anything you’re not overdoing it, because exercise is still a mild form of stress.
And overdoing exercise can just end up further adding to your stress load.
Just be sensible and you will be able to enjoy all the incredible benefits that come from regular exercise.
13) Chiropractic Adjustments
I’ll admit this one is very new for me and something that 6 months ago I would have never even considered.
However, after my housemate introduced me to them, I was absolutely amazed by how good I felt after just one.
I noticed that I had a lot more clarity and felt strangely calm and peaceful after it.
I was quite impressed and decided to look into it more and found that the reason chiropractic adjustments are so beneficial, especially in terms of relieving stress, is because of the tension it takes off of the limbic system and the central nervous system.
Some people try to claim that chiropractic medicine is all quackery yet these people have never tried it themselves.
As someone who had never had one before and was a little skeptical myself, I can tell you they do work and are effective.
If nothing else they are at least worth giving a try. You may be pleasantly surprised.
14) Reducing News and Social Media
I think this is a very big one that not enough people are talking about right now.
And that is the effect that the news and social media is having on people.
Sure it’s important to keep informed with everything that is happening.
But being in a state of constant stress and fear by keeping up with every latest new case and update is doing far more harm than good in my opinion.
You see, stress brings down your immune system, and right now isn’t a time when you want a weak immune system.
So what is the answer then?
Well something that works for me is turning off all unnecessary notifications on my phone, reducing my news consumption to the bare amount needed to stay informed and having at least one day a week entirely free of social media and news.
Sunday’s works best for me.
If you have never tried something like this, try it.
It’s a powerful way to relax and restore your energy.
I’ve already produced an entire post dedicated to the power of gratitude so I won’t go into too much detail here.
But gratitude is truly one of the most powerful things you can do for reducing stress and improving your mood.
You see, it’s so easy to become so bogged down with all the negativity in the world right now that we forget about all of the good things in our life that we just take for granted.
Because the truth is that no matter how bad things may seem right now, there are always things in our life to be grateful for.
And when we focus on these things it instantly improves our outlook.
In fact, it’s very difficult to be grateful and stressed at the same time. They are two opposite emotions.
One of the easiest ways to integrate gratitude into your life is through gratitude journaling.
Just simply write out at least 5 things from your day that you’re grateful for and you will find that your mood and stress levels dramatically improve.
And if you do it at night you may even find you sleep better.
Which leads us onto our final strategy…
There is a reason I left this one until last, because it is one of the most important of all.
In fact, it’s been shown that lack of sleep not only makes you more tired (obviously) but it also makes you far more prone to stress and low mood.
Poor sleep also sends your cravings through the roof leaving you prone to bingeing on foods you know you shouldn’t.
So getting your sleep optimized is one of the best things you can do for managing stress.
As someone who has consumed quite a number of books and podcasts on the topic of sleep and tried more supplements than I would like to admit, I have over time found a routine that works quite well for me.
I used to be someone who took at least 30 minutes (sometimes hours) to fall asleep, but now I fall asleep quite easily and usually well under 10 minutes.
Here is what works for me:
- I usually finish dinner by 8:00 PM
- I make up my “sleep tea” consisting of a ginger tea bag, turmeric and stevia (turmeric is a natural relaxant)
- I head to bed by 9:00–9:30 PM weeknights (I tend to stay up a little later on weekends)
- I take 1–2 capsules of magnesium(Helps with sleep)
- I usually also take Eleuthero and Passionflower before bed
- I drink my tea and read until I feel tired
- Right before going to sleep I whip out my gratitude journal and write out at least three things I am grateful for
- I put on my sleep tracker with the sound of heavy rain and put my phone in flight mode
- I turn off my lamp
- I go off to sleep by 10:30–11:00 PM at the latest
This is the routine I follow every night and it works very well for me. You don’t have to do everything I do, just adopt what resonates with you.
Sleep is such an important thing to get right and when you do it elevates so many other areas of life, especially your tolerance for stress.
If there was ever a time to get your sleep optimized it’s now.
So there you have it. As you can see there are quite a number of things you can do to reduce stress.
And hopefully, this post has taught you a thing or two and given you some things you can take away and implement into your life.
If even one strategy helps you, then I will have done my part.
We are all in this together.
This article is for informational purposes only and it should not be considered medical advice. Always consult a licensed physician before considering any type of lifestyle changes or supplement regime.