Stress affects your mental well being, but it can also affect your physical health. Stress has been known to worsen or increase the likelihood of health conditions like heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and gastrointestinal problems. In some people, stress also causes muscles to tense up, which can lead to back and neck pain.
If unmanaged, stress can interfere with your everyday life and make it difficult to do what you need to get healthy. This is why managing stress is so important when working on a #HealthyNewYou. Don’t let stress interfere with your progress. These tips will help get you on the right track.
1. Learn to manage your time.
Plan out your day ahead of time so that you know what’s coming. Break things down into smaller tasks if you can. Use whatever method works for you–whether it’s a calendar, a day planner, or a checklist. Prioritize your tasks so that you do the most important things first. By thinking ahead about what you need to do, you can plan out how much time each task will take and can be realistic about how much you can actually accomplish.
2. Healthy lifestyle habits can help.
Eating healthy, exercising, getting enough sleep–all of these healthy habits can help you manage stress in addition to improving your overall health and helping you manage back pain. Avoid too much sugar and caffeine, as they can contribute to stress. Exercise can improve your mood and boost endorphins, the brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters. Sleep helps your body to recover so you’re running at full capacity and ready to take on a new day.
3. Do activities that help you relax.
Even when you’re busy, it’s important to take time for yourself to relax. Relaxation time helps you take a step away from stressful situations to clear your head. Many people find that yoga helps them relax, and it also provides core-strengthening benefits that can help with back pain. If yoga isn’t for you, there are other activities you can try. Meditate, go for a walk or run, make time for your hobbies. Do anything that takes your mind off the stress so that when you are ready to tackle a stressful activity, you will have regained your focus.
4. Identify the source of the stress.
Sometimes, if we identify the actual cause of the stress, we can eliminate the problems that are causing stress. Sometimes, factors like your environment or poor problem-solving skills, may be the actual cause of your stress. While you can’t always avoid stressful situations, you may be able to improve some situations. Avoid stressful environments whenever possible and work to improve any internal stressors that may be causing anxiety. If you can identify the problem, it will be easier for you to find the solution.
Stress is a part of everyday life, but if you learn to manage it, it doesn’t have to get in the way. What do you do to help manage your stress and get yourself back on track? Tweet me @GleiberMD with the hashtag #HealthyNewYou to let me know.