The phone rings right when you come home from work. The dog needs walking, the kids are hungry, and what was it you were going to make for dinner?
Life throws a lot at you and it’s easy to get caught up in a cycle of uncontrolled stress, where it has you reaching for the nearest snack, undoing all your hard work to reach your weigh loss goals.
Finding ways to reduce your stress levels can help you maintain your weight loss as well as head off more serious health consequences in the future.
Rather than turn to food, try one of the following simple stress relievers
Breath Work: Even something as simple as taking a few deep breaths can make you feel less stressed. Pay attention to your breathing and take a deep breath in through your nose for a count of three, then hold for a moment, then breathe out for a count of three.
Meditation: Just a few minutes of meditation every day can calm your mind and body. There are many types of meditation, but one of the simplest ways to get started is to focus on your breathing, while allowing your thoughts to pass through your mind without judging them.
Guided Imagery: Close your eyes and picture yourself in a peaceful, happy place like walking the beach or snuggled up in front of a crackling fire. Try searching online for “free audio guided imagery scenarios” to jump start your imagination.
Movement: Go for a brisk walk. Do 10 jumping jacks, practice yoga, or dance around your living room. When you’re physically active, your brain produces endorphins, natural painkillers that also help reduce stressed out feelings. Even five minutes can help!
Aromatherapy: By activating smell receptors, certain essential oils can help reduce stress and anxiety. Diffuse into a room, or put a few drops on a cotton ball to sniff when you feel tense. Lavender is very popular plus calming.
Soothe Your Body: To relax your mind, do something that feels good to your body like sitting in a steam room or sauna, soak in a warm bath, schedule a massage, or give yourself a hand or foot rub.
Pet Therapy: Stroking an animal lowers blood pressure, plus interaction with your dog will make you both happy, so get out there and take the dog to the park and if you don’t have one of your own, offer to walk your neighbor’s dog, or volunteer at an animal shelter.
Laugh: Read something funny, talk to your most hilarious friend, or let your favorite comedian crack you up. One of laughter’s many health benefits is reducing stress.
When feeling frazzled, try one or all of these simple stress-relieving activities the next time stress has you in its grip.