Today is National Stress Awareness Day, with the focus this year on Employee wellbeing. So, what exactly is stress? when someone says I am stressed out, what do they mean? is it just that they are weak, or incapable of sorting their problems out? Many of us use this phrase and take it for granted, I don't think I have ever stopped to think what the hell does that mean to me anyway - that am stressed out!
The NHS say that stress - "is the feeling of being under too much mental or emotional pressure, which turns into stress when we feel unable to cope" and I think this covers it pretty well. How we cope with emotional or mental anxiety can lead us into a cycle of uncontrollable stress, which if not managed can lead to many psychological and physical manifestations.
Feeling out of control can lead to unhealthy behaviours, such as overeating, excessive drinking or smoking, locking ourselves away; leading to low self esteem, which in itself creates an even bigger trigger for the above cycle to continue.
Ways you can manage your stress:
- First thing is to talk it out - I am as guilty as any of you who like to keep your problems to yourself. But voicing your concerns can be a good way to see if they really make sense or even worth the stress.
- Ask for help - if your workload is too much, it's not a sign of weakness, in fact it's better to get help early on before things get ontop of you - getting help is you taking control of the situation.
- Take up exercise - no! am not saying you have to sign up to a gym, sometimes just walking in the fresh air can blow away some of the cobwebs and give you time to think, prioritise and reorganize.
- Take up meditation - I have a book called mindfulness and it is perhaps one of the best investments I have made in a book, it teaches simple mediation and techniques of living in the moment. Alot of the time we get stressed because we are thinking about the future or the past and not what can be done in this moment, here, now.
- Have some stress buster foods to hand, we all know when we get stressed we tend to reach for the sweet and fatty foods.
Here is a FREE Stress Relief menu for the day
Breakfast - Scrambled eggs and fresh tomato salsa
: Start the day with high protein and good amount of Tryptophan, found in eggs, dairy products, soy derived products and turkey. Tryptophan is converted to serotonin in the body, serotonin can help with mood regulation, thus helping to ease anxiety and depression.
Lunch - Mixed Greens Soup:
at lunch will keep those feel good minerals in check, whilst also filling you up and keeping those snacking urges at bay.
Snack - Protein Balls
: If you do find you are feeling peckish, instead of reaching for the bag of sweets or can of fizzy drink, have one or two of these delicious healthy protein balls.
Dinner - Salmon and Hazelnut One Pot:
This dish is filled with omega rich oils from the fish and nuts, which can help with positive mood.
Dessert - Sesame seed cookies:
if you are still feeling like you want to satisfy that sweet craving, then these black sesame seed and coconut cookies will set you right, with their high mineral content.
Other awesome edibles to combat stress!
Nutmeg: helps the body adapt because of it's adaptogenic properties, meaning it has both a sedative and stimulant effect. It can also help with many of the digestive complaints some people get when they are stressed.
Use it: over cereal, sprinkled over hot milk or chocolate, used it in cheese sauces, or on vegetables like parsnip and spinach.
Rose: said to have a calming effect when feeling nervous and can lower feelings of anxiety, and blood pressure.
Use it: make a tea from food grade dried petals or rosehip.
Seaweed: amongst this sea vegetable many health benefits, it is also great for supporting the health of our adrenal glands - which play an invaluable role in the body ability to manage stress, because of its magnesium, B5 and B2 contents which help to support the adrenal glands.
Use it: dried seaweed can be used as flavour enhancer for any savoury dish, flakes or ground seaweed can be sprinkled over salads also, or add to bread mix.
For more support
Till next time, EAT mindfully, DRINK responsibly, and EXERCISE your mind and body!!!