As the end of the year approaches people love to make the classic New Year’s resolutions, but most people, travel nurses included, fail to make one of the most important ones. Stress less.
The Mayo Clinic defines stress as: a normal psychological and physical reaction to the demands of life. Your brain comes hard-wired with an alarm system for your protection. When your brain perceives a threat, your body releases a burst of hormones to fuel your fight-or-flight response. When the threat is gone, your body returns to normal. Unfortunately, the nonstop stress of modern life means that your alarm system rarely shuts off.
Imagine a whole year with less stress, what could you accomplish? How much better off would you be? So here are 5 most important steps to reduce or relieve stress in your life.
1. HEAL YOUR-SELF: Regular Exercise, A Healthy Diet, Regular Sleep, Moderate to Minimal alcohol intake, and NO SMOKING.
- Getting regular exercise helps you relieve tense muscles and helps you sleep
- It improves blood flow to your brain, bringing additional sugars and oxygen that may be needed when you are thinking intensely
- Exercise can cause release of chemicals called endorphins into your blood stream. These give you a feeling of happiness and positively affect your overall sense of well-being.
- When you’re stressed you body needs more of EVERY nutrient, eating a well balanced diet especial rich with B vitamins and calcium will help you
- Studies have shown that the body depletes its stores of nutrients when under stress, mainly protein and the B vitamins as well as vitamins C and A. A deficiency of magnesium, which helps muscles relax, has been linked to “Type A” or high-stress personalities. If you are under prolonged stress or are at risk for hypertension, consume foods high in potassium, such as orange juice, squash, potatoes, apricots, limes, bananas, avocados, tomatoes, and peaches. You also should increase your intake of calcium, which is found in yogurt, cheese, tofu, and chick- peas.r body cope with the lactic acid that can build up in your muscles.
- Try to maintain a diet of mostly whole (unprocessed) foods. Stay away from caffeine (coffee, tea, cola, chocolate), which causes nervousness and inhibits sleep if too much is ingested. Caffeine causes a fight-or- flight response in your body and uses up your reserves of the B vitamins, which are important in coping with stress. Alcohol also depletes your body’s B vitamins, and can disrupt sleep and impair your judgment or clarity of thought. Avoid sugar. It provides no essential nutrients and can cause an immediate “high” followed by a prolonged “low.” For more ideas on a healthy diet visit HolisticOnline.com
- For GREAT and HEALTHY meal ideas visit FoodNetwork.com and click on “Healthy Eating Section”
Get More Sleep.
- I know it’s seems hard but this could be as simple as, moving the TV and/or the computer out of the bedroom. I know that may sound crazy but it’s not like you’re throwing them away just moving them to a different room, come on you can do it!
- Going to bed at a decent hour. What do you really have to gain after the 10 o’clock news…besides bags under your eyes?
- Having a bedtime routine. We have them for our children…why can we have one as well. Following a nightly routine prepares your body and your mind for sleep.
- Power nap (30-45 min rest period) during the day like during your lunch break to energize you for the second part of your day.
Take Time-out for yourself
- Taking time for yourself can reduce stress tremendously. It makes you feel better about who you are and helps you to treat others better as well.
- Taking time for yourself can be as simple as catching up on your favorite book, taking a bubble bath, doing a crossword puzzle, or taking a drive.
- Or you can be a little more extravagant by going to a nice dinner by yourself (no worries on what to cook or any messy clean up afterwards), going to a movie by yourself, spending the day at a day spa (Facial, Massage, manicure, pedicure), or taking a quick weekend getaway, maybe to a Bed and Breakfast or a Short Cruise. Either way time for yourself to reboot and relax, unwind and enjoy the little things in life instead of worrying about them.
2. GET ORGANIZED
- Physical clutter can remind us of things that need to be done and that’s stressful. Remove the physical clutter can help remove some of your mental clutter and will help you feel more organized
- Start in your bedroom! This is a place where you sleep and relax! How can you relax if it’s filled with clutter?
- Take the things that are broken and THROW THEM AWAY. If they’ve been broken for more than a month odds are you probably aren’t going to fix it, so get rid of it.
- Clean out your closets. The rule is if you haven’t worn it in 1 year, get rid of it! Donate it to Goodwill , a local shelter, or church.
- Organize your laundry. Instead of piling up dirty clothes, put them in bins or baskets to keep them out of site and off the floor.
3. BE POSITIVE
- Love yourself
- Use positive words, pleasing thoughts and affirming beliefs to live the life you want to live.
- A smile is contagious so smile more.
4. SURROUND YOURSELF WIT A SUPPORTIVE COMMUNITY
- Surrounding yourself with positive supportive people will help you destress by having someone to trust to talk to when you are feeling overwhelmed.
- People who accept your the way you are will keep your stress down b/c you don’t have to put on a front or pretend to be something your not. YOU CAN SIMPLY BE YOURSELF.
- People who lift you up and make you feel better about yourself.
- Try to avoid people who constantly gossip or complain.
5. LEARN TO SAY “NO”
- Simply saying “No.” or “No, thank you.” can keep you stress free by not over committing yourself to to may things.
- Saying “No.” will also keep you in control of your life instead of having people tell you what to do or what you should do.
- BOTTOM LINE…YOU’LL BE HAPPIER! 🙂
Using these simple steps or suggestions will help keep your stress levels in check. Try it out for a month and see what happens. You can visit The Top 10 Steps to DeStress for a complete list of stress relieving ideas and like always feel free to write and add your own ideas for how you deal with stress.
Hope to hear from you soon!