Build Immunity to Avoid Stress
Improving your health by eating well, avoiding toxins and getting enough rest will go a long way towards reducing the stress in your life.
Stress is frequently used as a blanket term to describe the pressures, tensions and ill-effects you may suffer as a result of a hectic lifestyle. Everyone is subject to stress and while a little can spur you on towards your goals, it is important to recognise your limits. When you are under too much pressure, you can start to feel tired and overwhelmed, but such nervous exhaustion can be avoided by keeping both your body and mind healthy and in balance.
Reduce exposure to toxins
A surprisingly large number of the stress you experience day-to-day is caused by the toxins you consume or are exposed to. Reducing the level of toxins your body has to process will strengthen your immunity to stress. Try to avoid the toxins in cigarettes, alcohol and processed foods and aim for six to eight hours sleep a night.
The role of nutrition in stress relief
Constant stress can deplete your body’s store of nutrients and leave you less able to cope with a busy lifestyle. The nutrients most affected by stress are the vitamins B, C and E, and the minerals magnesium, zinc, potassium and sodium.
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps fight damaging molecules called ‘free radicals’. It is depleted when you are stressed, so increase your intake of fresh vegetables and fruits. Vitamin E, another antioxidant, is found in seeds and nuts.
B-group vitamins are among the best known stress-fighting nutrients, particularly B5. These help support the adrenal glands in times of stress. B-group vitamins are found in whole grains, green leafy vegetables, shellfish and brown rice.
Magnesium, zinc, potassium and calcium help combat the confusion and exhaustion caused by stress. Eat whole grains, leafy vegetables and nuts.
Planning your relaxed lifestyle
- Take time to relax
Make a conscious effort to remain calm and prevent tension from building while you are at work. You are legally entitled to breaks on even the busiest days, so make sure you take them. If you’re extremely busy, it’s better to take breaks during the day (see Productive Work Strategies) and work late rather than work non-stop to ensure you leave on time. try not to take work home with you and, instead, make time for family holidays, outings with friends and time alone.
- Get regular exercise
Regular exercise is the best way to reduce stress. It relieves muscular tension, improves your health, gives you a feeling of wellbeing and helps you to sleep. You should always see exercise as fun rather than a chore, so choose something you enjoy. If your working hours are unpredictable, take up an activity that doesn’t have set times, such as swimming or open classes. This way you won’t get stressed if you’re late, or feel guilty if you miss a day or two.
- Take up a hobby
Combat stress by taking up a hobby, such as painting, reading or making furniture. A hobby can calm your emotions and boost your self esteem. The key factor is to pick an activity that you really enjoy, and only do it when you feel like it.
- Plan an anti-stress day
Do your batteries need recharging? Take a day off work and plan it as you like, sleep in as late as you want or get up and go shopping. Have lunch with a friend or play tennis. In the evening, avoid watching the news, read a novel or go to the movies. Enjoy a scented bubble bath before going to bed.
- A stress Diary
Writing a diary is a very effective way of ‘exorcising’ stressful thoughts from your mind. Try to find at least 10 minutes in the evening to write about the events of your day and how they made you feel. Be completely honest and never edit your words.