How To Stay Fit and Healthy During Stressful Times
Covid-19 fears. Concerns about climate change and the health of the planet. A rise in mental health issues and stress levels. Political turmoil. Career and financial stress.
We are currently living through an especially taxing, stressful time. Managing stress and staying on top of your mental health can be difficult with everything going on in the world, but a few important tips can help.
Want to learn to be fit and healthy even during stressful times? We talked with our experts to discover important methods for staying fit and healthy despite what is going on in our lives.
Read on for six key tips for managing your mental health and staying fit, even if you are dealing with high amounts of stress in your life.
Tips for Keeping Fit and Healthy During Stressful Times
1. Eat Well
Do you reach for rich, carb-heavy, salty, or sweet snacks when you are stressed? You aren’t alone. Turning to an unhealthy snack or meal is a common coping mechanism during stressful times. This is due to the spike in serotonin, a hormone released by the body that plays a role in mood and happiness.
Although eating sugar, carb-heavy foods can feel good at the moment, the mood boost is temporary. Plus, it often leads to additional stress, reduced energy levels, and a decrease in your overall well-being.
Here are some quick tips for eating healthy:
- Choose Complex Carbs – Opt for complex carbohydrates such as brown rice or quinoa instead of simple carbs such as white bread or crackers,
- Eat Mindfully – This means no eating in front of the tv or your computer and chewing slowly and paying attention to the flavours and texture of your food.
- Plan Your Meals Out Ahead of Time – Meal prep is especially crucial before a busy or stressful week. Having healthy snacks and meals ready to go sets you up for success rather than leaving you vulnerable to reaching for pre-packaged, processed convenience foods.
- Make Meal Prep Simple – Planning meals does not need to be advanced or complicated (example: oatmeal with berries and chia seeds for breakfast, a sandwich on sprouted bread with turkey, organic greens, and veggies for lunch, and fish or lean meat with asparagus and potatoes for supper).
2. Make Sure You Sleep Enough
When you are under a great deal of stress, your sleep can suffer. Worse yet? Less sleep can leave you more stressed. Talk about a vicious cycle.
Prioritise getting high quality, consistent sleep every night and take the necessary measures to improve your sleep.
Tips for getting enough sleep even if you are stressed:
- Avoid staying up late to conquer your to-do list
- Develop a bedtime routine
- Take steps to cope with your underlying source of stress
- Avoid caffeine for at least 8 hours before your bedtime
- Diffuse lavender essential oil in your bedroom at bedtime
- Skip screen-time before bed and read a book instead or listen to a book on tape to calm down and relax before sleep instead
3. Exercise Is Key
If life gets busy or stressful, it is easy to make exercise the first thing we cut out. However, exercise is one of the most important aspects of a wellness routine, especially if you are trying to cope with stress. Exercise releases endorphins, powerful neurochemicals that are natural stress-relievers.
Here are some easy tips for making exercise a priority and sticking with a fitness routine:
- Remind yourself how good you feel after a workout.
- Find a workout you love and look forward to (dancing, hiking, rock climbing, spinning, mountain biking, HIIT – High-intensity interval training).
- Treat exercise as a necessity and make it a point to block out time in your schedule for it.
- If you can’t afford a gym or do not have one near you, take advantage of the countless free exercise videos on YouTube.
- Make a playlist of your favourite songs to workout to.
- Develop your workout routine by writing out a mix of cardio and bodyweight exercises that you can perform in the comfort of your own home and with no equipment (think pushups, jump squats, jumping lunges, etc.) and perform each move for 40 seconds with a 20-second rest in between
4. Eliminate Social Media
While it is understandable to want to remain up to date on what is going on in the world and the lives of our friends and family, taking a break from social media’s constant negativity, comparisons, and expectations can be a great way to minimise stress and help us stay in the present moment.
Taking a break from social media can help you focus on your health, your overall well-being goals, and your priorities. Consider taking a break from Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and limit the amount of news you watch and see if you notice any positive effects.
5. Focus On What Matters To You And Find Gratitude
When we feel particularly stressed or worried about the unknown, we can lose a sense of the things we are grateful for in our lives. However, finding what you are thankful for is one of the simplest ways to improve our ability to manage stress healthily.
Here are some tips for feeling more grateful:
- Compile a gratitude list of all the things you are thankful for or keep a gratitude journal where you write down 3 things you are thankful for each day.
- Tell the people who matter to you that you are grateful for them by sending an encouraging card or note.
- Make a gratitude jar and randomly slip notes into it that highlight something you are thankful for, then look back at them throughout the week or a few times a month.
Reminding yourself of what you are thankful for is a great way of shifting your mindset and focusing on the positive.
6. Don’t Be Afraid To Seek Help
While some level of stress is normal, existing in a chronic state of stress is not normal or healthy. If you are having trouble managing stress and it is negatively impacting your life, reach out to your healthcare provider.
There is nothing wrong with realising you need some support and asking for help. Even if you are unsure if your stress levels are of clinical concern, it does not hurt to double-check with your doctor.
Do You Want To Learn More About How To Stay Fit and Healthy?
If you want to learn more about how to be fit and healthy, please feel free to contact our team of experts. We would be happy to help you choose the best products for your goals and lifestyle, answer any questions, and help encourage you on your journey to total wellness.