Everyone has their own coping mechanisms for stress. Some try yoga, others might even treat themselves to a beach getaway. Chances are that once you’ve arrived home or headed back to work after the weekend, you’re overwhelmed and can feel your stress building up on your shoulders all over again. If your stress-relieving techniques just aren’t doing the trick, consider looking into these three hidden and often over-looked stressors in your everyday life:
Finding comfort in food
It’s easy to reach for unhealthy comfort food after coming home from a stressful day, but this type of food can intensify your stress and make it more difficult for you to cope with it. Processed and refined foods can cause blood sugar fluctuations, resulting in the feeling of irritability and mood swings. This is usually followed by a sharp decrease in concentration, making your overflowing in-box seem much more stressful than it is. To make matters worse, unhealthy food is also nutrient-depleted, so you won’t be getting any stress-busting nutrients such as B vitamins when you need them most.
The fix: Make sure you eat a range of healthy, fresh food and high quality protein throughout the day to stabilize insulin levels and to supply the body with important nutrients to keep you feeling your best. A B100 complex supplement can also help to supply the body with the necessary nutrients to help reduce irritability and nervousness. Click here to watch Registered Dietitian Michelle Latinsky explain how B vitamins play an important role in stress support.
Many of us rely on smart technology in an effort to simplify our lives and become more closely connected with friends and family. Our smartphones, tablets and computers have become part of our everyday routine, so much so that it’s hard to function without them—and this may be part of the problem. Recent studies show that using computers all day, every day until the time we flick off the lights can have a significant impact on our stress levels. One study found that those who spent time either perusing the internet or communicating with friends within two hours before bedtime reported higher levels of stress than those who didn’t. It also found that the use of technology before bed can impact sleep quality, which affects the body’s own ability to cope with stresses the following day. This is particularly true for those who tend to check their work emails after work hours.
But that’s not all. Other studies suggest that persistently following the lives of others on social media can encourage a sense of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) and negative body image, which, you guessed it, increases stress.
The fix: Technology and social media are wonderful tools, but it’s important to limit yourself. Dedicate a certain amount of time with technology each day, and train yourself to turn off your phone or tablet two hours before bedtime. If there’s an email or a message waiting for you, it’s likely that it can wait until tomorrow. To read more about the link between stress and sleep, click here.
Less mess = less stress
Clutter can happen anywhere: your kitchen, closet, car, desk and even the home screen on your phone. Clutter often occurs because you’re too busy to tackle organizing, and the thought of letting go items you may no longer need can create some anxiety. According to Psychology Today, it is believed that clutter can inundate you with way more stimuli than your brain can handle, causing your senses to work in overdrive. There are other reasons why clutter is bad for stress. It can distract you from focusing your attention on more important matters, can cause you to procrastinate and can make you feel defeated and disorganized.
The fix: Dedicate a block of time in your schedule to spend just organizing whatever it is you need to clean up (and leave the phone behind, too!). If you don’t use it, lose it by giving it away. But most importantly, don’t let clutter build up, so be aware of what is piling up and what belongs where.
Do you have any stress-relieving tips of your own? Share them in the comments below!