Minimise stress and smile more with these self-care tips

By Louise Belle BHSc (Nut Med)

With increasing social pressure, long work hours, family commitments, financial struggles and health commitments, life can get a little overwhelming and stressful at times! We could all benefit from some stress relief – try these strategies:

1. Pet an animal

There’s nothing quite like the feeling of unconditional love from a furry friend. Research has shown that petting an animal (even a turtle!) can reduce stress levels. Do yourself a favour and give your pets (or the animals at the local shelter) loads of attention. You may find that petting is just the thing you need to unwind, and the animals will appreciate the extra cuddles!

2. Get mineralised

Magnesium nourishes and supports the nervous system, improves your ability to cope with stress and promotes relaxation. Many people are deficient in magnesium due to soil depletion, processed foods, increased requirements and poor absorption, leaving their nervous systems depleted and less able to deal with stress. Amaranth, pumpkin seeds, leafy greens, dark chocolate, quinoa, brown rice, cashews, almonds, oats, and legumes are good sources of magnesium. Some people have higher requirements for magnesium, which is where supplementation may be appropriate.

3. Stay in the moment

Letting your mind wander to past events or future commitments can carry a heavy burden and can leave us feeling stressed and overwhelmed. Staying in the moment and being mindful can help to alleviate some of this stress. Try to stay focused on the task at hand, and take the time to appreciate. Whether it be the sun shining, the smile of a stranger, job appreciation, the feeling of a hug or the sound of a bird– stay focused on today and its brilliance.

4. Love your gut

Have you ever heard of the gut-brain connection? Your gut literally sends and receives messages to and from the brain – amazing right! When your gut is inflamed and overrun by pathogenic (bad) bacteria, your nervous system can get out of whack. Reduce your intake of refined sugar and carbohydrates, load up on fibrous vegetables, eat fermented foods, sip on bone broth and consider doing a 15 Day Cleanse to really heal your gut and boost your energy level.

5. Go dancing

Crank the music, wiggle your hips, stomp your feet, wave your arms, spin in circles and go wild! Let go of your inhibitions and dance out your stressors until you’re feeling mighty fine. Dancing can really help to boost those lovely endorphins and help your stress slip away. Join a dance class or set aside space in your living room and have some fun!

6. Cut the crap

When you’re really stressed, going on a sugar binge, downing a bottle of wine or having a double strength caramel latte can seem like a great idea! In actual fact, it can worsen stress and heighten levels of anxiety. Sugar can lead to inflammation in the brain, excess caffeine can cause too much cortisol (the stress hormone) to be produced and regular alcohol intake does not teach you how to cope with stress and can increase the risk of mental health disorders.

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