Let’s face it, there are many things working against those of us trying to lose weight these days. Fast food restaurants clog up the streets and gym memberships get more and more expensive by the day. Tight deadlines at work mean little time for worrying about proper nutrition during the day. And on top of that, busy family schedules make fixing a wholesome meal on a regular basis all the more difficult.
There’s also one other major underlying factor in weight gain: stress. Stress can creep in at any moment, and can be caused by almost anything in your life. Work, social events, even your family can cause stress. Not only is the stress itself harmful to your mind and body, but it can also lead to other unhealthy habits. All too often, people turn to unhealthy things like food and drink rather than dealing with the stress itself. We all know all too well just how easy it is to reach for a cheeseburger when things get tough. Of course, you’ll feel better in the short term – but the long-term ramifications are just not worth it.
Following are five simple but effective ways to battle with stress. Next time you’re feeling overwhelmed, try one out instead of reaching for that pizza menu.
Organize something. Often times clutter and disorganization in our lives – either in the physical or mental sense – is a chief contributor to stress. So to combat this stress, try organizing something or some part of your life. Whether it’s your music collection, pictures or DVDs, the act of cleaning something up and organizing it can have a soothing effect on your mind and body.
Get some sleep. Do you get seven to eight hours of sleep on a nightly basis? Chances are you don’t, which can be a contributing factor to high levels of stress. Staying well rested can help keep the mind relaxed yet focused and able to take on whatever the day may hold. Even a short nap can help on a stressful day.
Write it down. Keeping a journal is another good way to deal with stress that many don’t realize. Writing down your feelings helps you to become fully aware of them. Once you’ve done this, it’s a lot easier to figure out just what is causing you stress and then let go of these feelings so you can move on with your day.
Try some yoga. Another form of exercise, yoga stresses the importance of reconnecting your mind and body – a perfect prescription for the stressed. There are all kinds of different classes and yoga sessions, and chances are your school has its own yoga class you can try. If you’re unable to make it to a class, try some simple stretches instead. Focus on your breathing while stretching and just feel your stress float away.
Play a game. Nothing reduces stress like a quick game. Not only can it take your mind off any issues, but it’ll also help you to relax by changing your focus to something fun. Chances are you have a game or two in your closet – even a deck of cards will do. Just a short bout of fun can refresh and reenergize your mind and body. Then you’ll be ready to take on anything.