Un-Healthy (and Healthy) Ways to De-Stress
Stress is a fact of life. In fact, we need to maintain a certain level of stress to stay motivated. That doesn’t change the fact that high levels of stress can have a dramatic negative impact on our day-to-day lives. Once we cross the threshold beyond our daily stressors, we seek relief quickly and sometimes irrationally. Before giving into some unhealthy temptations for stress relief, consider some healthier solutions!
Temptation #1- Watching TV. Did you know the average American watches about 5 hours of TV a day? After a long day, sometimes nothing sounds better than curling up on the couch and gluing our eyes to a meaningless reality show. The true reality is we still feel groggy and worn out afterwards. In fact, watching TV lowers our brain functioning, and studies have shown individuals can develop an addiction to TV-watching.
Healthy Solution #1 – Get some exercise. When you first get home, go straight into your room and put on some tennis shoes and athletic wear. Grab your keys and head out the door before the couch becomes a temptation. After a stressful day, don’t necessarily force yourself to have a heavy workout. Simply take 30 minutes to exercise however you see fit. Go for a walk and enjoy the fresh air and sunshine. If the weather won’t cooperate, try doing a 20 minute yoga routine in your bedroom. You’ll feel much more alert and satisfied afterwards.
Temptation #2 – Binge eating. Another popular reaction to stress is to make unconscious, unhealthy food choices. We had a big fight with a good friend and suddenly noticed we’ve eaten a whole bag of chips. We had a tough break-up and head straight for a pint of Ben & Jerry’s. This habit may feel initially satisfying, but or bodies don’t respond well afterwards. In the long run, our unhealthy eating habits may become the root cause of additional stress.
Healthy Solution #2 – Get a massage. Getting regular massages actually promote biochemical and physiological changes to our body that directly relate to lowering our stress levels. Massage eliminates muscles tension, stimulates blood flow, and will leave you feeling successfully relaxed and ready to tackle your stress head-on. As an added bonus, massage can help eliminate antioxidants and helps strengthen your immune system. Massage is certainly a healthy solution to your days of stress.
Temptation #3 – Excessive drinking. Whereas alcohol gives us temporary relaxation, drowning our sorrows in a bottle of tequila won’t get us very far on the road to relaxation. At the end of it all, the only thing we’ll get is a nasty hangover and an unsatisfying night’s sleep.
Healthy Solution #3 – Get a good night’s sleep. Whereas this solution may not do wonders for your social life, you’ll be singing a happy tune the next morning. Sleeping a full eight hours improves our brain function, makes us feel more alert, and ultimately gives us the energy we need to overcome our stress.