Start Your Day 15 Minutes Earlier: If you find yourself in a rush every morning this one's for you! Consider starting your day a little earlier to help relieve some morning stress. I can be guilty of this sometimes and will attest to how much less stress there is in a day when you start it off on the right note.
Make Time For One Thing You Love Every Single Day: It doesn't matter whether it's calling a friend, doing a workout class, drawing, playing a sport, going for a walk or whatever hobby you enjoy. Realizing your wellbeing is a priority, and choosing to make time for the things that make you feel good, is so crucial!
Eat Foods That Nourish Your Body: When it comes to nutrition keep it simple. A lean protein, healthy fat and veggie/fruit at every meal is what you want to be working towards. Doing so, will provide your body with all of the essential nutrients you need to keep your blood sugar levels balanced allowing you to feel calm, alert and energized throughout the day. For more info on what you should be eating, check out my previous blog post.
Meditation and Breathing Exercises: Check out some of my favourite free apps: Calm, and Stop Breathe & Think. These apps will guide you through short exercises which are a great way to start your morning, end your day, or even reset during a stressful event. They take less than 10 minutes and can be done anywhere! Calm, even has bed time stories which can be helpful for slowing down your mind at night.
Practice A Form of Movement: Choose something you enjoy doing, whether it be Yoga, Pilates, a dance class or the gym and make it part of your routine. Exercise doesn’t have to be strenuous. A stroll at the end of your day, light stretching, or moving your body in a way that feels good for you is a great way to reduce your stress, boost your “feel good” hormones, and decrease your overall disease risk. Something is also better than nothing so if currently you don't do any form of exercise, starting with 5 minutes is great!
Spend Time in Nature: Getting outside is a great way to relieve stress and feel grounded. It also allows you to get sunshine and vitamin D which can support your mood, and immune function.
Have a Consistent Bed time Routine: Moving your bed time earlier, even by 30 minutes, can help to drop cortisol (your stress hormone) and make you feel more refreshed in the morning. An ideal goal is to get to bed between 10-11pm and wake up between 6-7am. Getting 8 hours of sleep is so important for your overall health. A good bed time routine can also go along way if sleep is an issue for you! Give yourself an hour to wind down before bed. A warm bath, or cup of tea are great places to start especially if you have trouble falling asleep. Adding epsom salts to you bath can add additional benefit especially if you experience headaches, or neck/back pain. Some of my favourite bedtime teas include: Living Apothecary: Snooze Brew - can be purchased online Traditional Medicinals: Nighty Night, or Cup of Calm - you can find these at the grocery store Affect Health: Nightly Zen - can be purchased online Take a Break In Your Day to Sit Quietly With a Cup of Tea: Both the herbs you include in your tea, and the ritual of pausing to sit down with a warm drink can help relieve stress. Some of my favourite calming herbs include: chamomile, lavender, lemon balm, and passionflower. At bed time, a tea with valerian can be quite helpful for improving sleep quality. For digestive issues mixing peppermint and chamomile is a great combo! Talk to a Naturopathic Doctor: Most people could use a little extra support when it comes to managing stress. Whether it's helping you feel more calm or giving you a boost in energy there's lots that can be done!
Ensuring your vitamin and mineral levels are optimal and adding some in through supplementation, if needed, can really help. B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin D, iron, and magnesium can make a world of a difference if your levels are not where they should be. You want to make sure you're taking the most absorbable, form and right dose of these nutrients to actually reap the benefits. This is where professional line products come in to play.
Adaptogens are a class of herbs that help modulate your cortisol levels (stress hormone) that can be a game changer in how you feel throughout the day. There are so many different adaptogenic herbs so before spending your money talk to a naturopathic doctor that can prescribe what makes the most sense for you. There are even herbs that we use that have been shown to be equally as effective as antidepressants for improving moods, and decreasing anxiety.
Acupuncture is also an amazing, well researched, option for relaxation, stress relief, anxiety, moods, digestive issues, headaches, period cramps and more. Not to worry, the needles are so tiny you can't even feel them.
I'm also a huge fan of cupping for tight muscles, and relaxation. I personally enjoy cupping more than a massage, but booking in for a massage is a great option too. Although "stress" isn't something we think to see a doctor for, it can have a huge impact on your overall health and something I see patients for almost everyday. If you're not feeling your best, whether it's low energy, low moods, overwhelmed, digestive issues, headaches, don't hesitate to reach you! Most naturopathic doctors, including myself, offer a no commitment, 15-minute complementary consultation where you and ask all of your questions before booking an initial appointment. You deserve to have your health working for you not against you so what are you waiting for? And if money is your stressor, you're covered there too! Almost all extended healthcare plans include coverage to see a naturopathic doctor.
Wishing you a stress-free day! In health, Dr. Brie