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Healthy strategies for dealing with stress

We've all been stressed out. Back pain, headaches, skipping meals—unfortunately, stressors usually lead to unhealthy habits. Whether you're stressed because of work, school, or something life has thrown your way, it's important to learn healthy strategies to deal with stress.

It can feel overwhelming, like you're deep underwater. But, as a deep sea diver does, coming up to the surface slowly and purposefully can have a positive impact on your health. Here are a few tips on how to properly de-stress.

Stress is debilitating because we often sacrifice sleep in order to get things done, or whatever is causing stress keeps us awake well into the night. This is bad for a few reasons—sleep is critical for our mind and body to recover from a stressful day. And, getting a bad night's rest means the next day will be even more challenging.

This means that getting sleep is not only good for recovery, it's also a great strategy to stop the harmful effects of stress in their tracks and set yourself up for success the next day. Try and get at least six hours (eight is ideal), and give yourself a break from screens an hour before bed.

Endorphins are your friend.  Working out makes us feel better because of the endorphin rush. Not only will this help your body to relax, it will help take your mind off whatever is causing your stress. It also has psychological benefits, like making you feel accomplished, which can be motivating during stressful times. On top of that, falling asleep will be easier if you're tired from exercising.

Try to get 30 minutes to an hour of exercise each day. Something as simple as a walk outside or a quick set of calisthenics can make a huge difference. If you can, try to get outside.  Fresh air helps you reset.



You don't have to be able to do a handstand or fold yourself into a pretzel to do yoga. Stretching is a great stress reliever. Not only will it help your mind slow down, it will also calm your heart rate and increase blood flow to your muscles. This is especially important for those who are stressed at work and stuck in an office chair. Give your muscles a break and take five.

When stretching, try to start with your toes and work your way up to your neck, making sure to give each area of your body attention. When stretching, focus on taking long, deep breaths. You'll feel refreshed and ready to cross off the next item on your to do list.

Mindfulness and meditation are similar, but they aren't the same. Mindfulness is the art of focusing entirely on the present moment. This will allow you to stop worrying about that project you have to work on tomorrow, or that meeting you had earlier in the day. Not only will focusing on the present moment calm your mind, it's also extremely useful when you're struggling to fall asleep.

Begin by sitting down in a quiet area. It doesn't have to be silent, just a space with minimal noise to distract you. Close your eyes, but don't silence your mind. Allow all your thoughts and ideas to come to mind and don't judge them. When you find yourself deep in thought, refocus your attention on your breathing. Simply repeat this process until you've spent 10-15 minutes being restful.

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