Have you noticed that you are more likely to get sick with the cold or the flu when you are under a higher level of stress?
Stress is the body’s natural response to change and is an unavoidable part of life.
The stress response in the body may be triggered by emotions, daily challenges, or environmental factors, such as toxins and pollution. So, as you can see, stress is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, short-term (acute) stress helps the body protect you from danger and trauma, therefore, crucial for life and health.
However, long-term (chronic) stress has a detrimental effect on our health in many ways and is associated with lower levels and decreased activities of immune cells, mainly white blood cells and antibodies.
That’s why taking intentional actions to unwind and keep your stress level under control is a crucial step in increasing your resistance to infections and other diseases.
Here are 8 tips to help you manage your stress level:
- Identify and address the stressors.
Figure out what are the biggest triggers of stress in your life and eliminate or reduce them. If they are things you can’t change, work on changing your perspective. Sometimes we are not really sure what is causing our stress; in this case, keeping a stress journal might help. Make notes of when you become most anxious, and then see if you can determine what triggers the anxiety. Furthermore, consider that food sensitivity, simmering infection (chronic low-grade infection), excessive sugar, and caffeine intake are physiological stressors that need to be addressed.
2. Take the time to unwind daily.
Giving yourself some downtime can help relax your mind and body. That’s also an excellent time to meditate on the word of God, which can help change your perspective on those stressors that you can’t remove. Find a scripture in the bible that is relevant to your situation and meditate on it. Also, spending some time in prayer, listening to worship songs, journaling, and practicing deep breathing exercises, are great ways to unwind. To practice deep breathing exercises, set aside a few minutes each day to simply focus on your breathing without external distractions. You can look up some YouTube videos for a demonstration.
3. Prioritize sleep
Going to bed before midnight is highly beneficial. Make sure to go to bed early enough so you can sleep for the number of hours that your body needs to function optimally. If you pay attention to how you feel in the morning and how much sleep you have at night, after some time, you will know how many hours of sleep support you best.
4. Prioritize self-care
Massage, relaxing baths, and other relaxing activities are great ways to relieve stress. Set aside daily time to do at least one thing that makes you laugh or feel relaxed.
5. Get your body moving.
Regularly Working out is one of the best ways to relieve stress. During exercise, the body releases chemicals such as endorphins, which can improve mood and reduce anxiety. However, make sure to select gentle activities such as walking, stretching, swimming, and anything that is not too intense. Too many intensive workouts can also be another source of stress for a body already overwhelmed.
6. Plan ahead and prioritize tasks
Planning ahead might look like a waste of time, but it helps you save time and reduce stress. Set time each week to plan out daily tasks and upcoming events. Keeping yourself organized can limit unnecessary stress. For instance, trying to figure out each day what’s for dinner is often very stressful. If you plan your meals for the week, you will be amazed at how much you will feel relieved during the week. If you would like to learn more about meal planning, send me a message Here
7. Spend some quality time with friends and family
Social support from friends and family can help you get through stressful times.
8. Set realistic goals and expectations.
We often take on more than we can handle and set up unrealistic expectations. It’s okay to recognize our limits and accept less than 100% in some situations. Your worth is not found in your accomplishments, but it’s in your identity in Christ.
Finally, remember that God has a plan for your life, and trust Him that He is making all things work together for your good (Jeremiah 29:11, Romans 8:38).