This is the final week of the WOMAN challenge – a great health initiative with a slightly awkward acronym (“Women and girls Out Moving Across the Nation.”) Designed by the department of Health and Human Services, the goal was to get 10,000 steps/day 5 days a week for 8 weeks total. Today they sent me a final list of stress-reducing tips that I thought I’d share with you (along with some personal commentary):
Tips to relieve stress
1. Be physically active – physical activity may prevent stress-induced suppression of the immune system The American Heart Association recommends a minimum of 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise per day, 5 days a week, and 2 weight training sessions per week for optimum health.
2. Eat regular, healthy meals – with plenty of whole grains, fruits and vegetables.
3. Laugh (especially at yourself) – laughter releases feel-good chemicals in the brain.
4. Have fun with friends – friendship can reduce loneliness and stress inducing symptoms of depression, and may even prolong your life.
5. Confide in someone you trust – you don’t have to go it alone!
6. Make time to relax – if you don’t actively set aside time to unwind, you might not do it.
7. Get a full 8 hours of sleep each night – people who get too little sleep may be at a higher risk for health problems and even death
8. Keep a journal – writing down your thoughts can be cathartic and help you express pent up emotions.
9. Organize your daily tasks – disorganization can add to anxiety and feelings of stress. A cluttered home may be a risk factor for weight gain.
10. Learn healthy ways to deal with anger – your anger may be justifiable, but holding it in may do more harm than good. Alternatively, lashing out at others will certainly increase your stress. In some cases, anger management counseling can help.
11. Ask for help – if stress is severe, you may benefit from talking to a mental health professional. They can help you work out a plan to reduce your stress or anxiety.
12. Talk to your health care provider – if you think your stress may be related to an anxiety disorder, post traumatic stress disorder, or if you’re leaning on alcohol or other substances to deal with your stress – make sure you tell your doctor about it so you can find a way forward together.This post originally appeared on Dr. Val’s blog at RevolutionHealth.com.