Stress can lead you to unhealthy habits.
Making healthy choices to relieve stress can go along way toward increasing your health and relaxation, but these choices can become sources of stress themselves. Limit unhealthy habits, like reaching for comfort items such as sugary snacks, caffeine, and nicotine when you are stressed. While each one of these might give you a temporary boost of energy, they don’t actually relieve the stress.
What to Quit
- SUGAR. Sugary products can also increase your weight, and that might increase your stress even further. If you get an urge for a snack, try something healthy like fruits, unsalted nuts, or vegetables.
- CAFFEINE. If you tend to drink a lot of caffeinated beverages, like coffee or sodas, cutting back can help. One way to cut back is to decide not to have any caffeine after lunch. This way, it is out of your system by the time you want to fall asleep.
- SMOKING. If you smoke, quit. While quitting can be a major lifestyle change, it is one of the best things you can do for your health. There are various ways to help you stop. Talk to your healthcare provider about products that can help you quit smoking, and about smoking cessation classes.
- ALCOHOL. Drinking too much alcohol can lead to stress, and stress can lead some to drink. It can be a vicious cycle. If you do drink, only drink in moderation. If you feel like alcohol might be a major stressor in your life, get help. Talk to your healthcare provider about getting support.
What to Start
- EXERCISING. Replacing unhealthy habits with healthy ones, like exercise, is a good way to relieve stress. Exercise can improve your mood and your confidence, and help to offset some of the physical effects of stress. Make sure to speak with your healthcare provider before starting an exercise program. Plan it out, and take small steps. Trying to do too much can lead to feelings of failure or injury, either of which can lead to more stress.
- SLEEPING. When dealing with stress, it’s very important to get enough sleep. Stress can cause changes in your sleeping patterns. If you have trouble sleeping, talk to your healthcare provider. They can offer strategies to get a good night’s sleep, or may recommend medication.
- HOBBIES. Hobbies can take your mind off of your stressors, relax and recharge you. If you enjoy something and have fun doing it, do it. Happiness is good medicine.
- TALKING. If you are feeling pressure from the stressors in your life, talk to your friends, family, and healthcare provider. They might be able to relieve some of your stress by assisting with tasks, or simply by listening to you. You might benefit from one-on-one counseling with a healthcare professional, or perhaps a support group would be more your style. There are a wide variety of support groups that can be of help. These groups give you the opportunity to speak with others who might be sharing similar situations and experiences.
To find a doctor or schedule an appointment visit Steward DoctorFinder™ or call 1-800-488-5959.