Seven Tips to Manage Stress

person grabbing faceElections are stressful — and this one particularly so. It’s hard not to feel overwhelmed, helpless and anxious when it feels like the fate of our country is so precarious.

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to minimize conflict and take care of yourself.

  1. Seek chiropractic careChiropractic services, such as adjustments or manipulation, trigger point dry needling and soft tissue therapy, can help release muscle tension, soothe irritated spinal nerves and improve blood circulation — changes that can often alert the brain to switch off the fight-or-flight response and help your body relax.
  2. Schedule a massage – Regular massages can rebalance your hormones and release muscle tension caused by stress. Research also shows that it can lower your heart rate and blood pressure, as well as increase the production of “feel good” endorphins, serotonin and dopamine.
  3. Make time for fitness – Your body can fight off stress better when it’s physically fit. Consider going for a walk, lifting weights or swimming for at least 30 minutes most days per week to stay active and keep your body in shape.
  4. Practice relaxation techniques – Yoga, meditation and Tai Chi are great relaxation techniques for managing stress. Practicing these methods for even a few minutes each day can provide a sense of overall calmness as well as ease anxiety.
  5. Get adequate rest – In addition to regular exercise, your body needs proper time to recover. Give your body the rest it needs by taking breaks when necessary and getting at least 7-9 hours of sleep (more for children and teens) each night.
  6. Eat a balanced diet– Chronic stress can make you more susceptible to viral illnesses, GI issues and infections. Consuming processed food and beverages, like chips, soda and candy, actually increases the volume of stress on your body and contributes to other health issues. Consider reaching for nutrient-dense foods that promote good gut bacteria, such as prebiotics and probiotics. Fruits and vegetables with inulin, like asparagus, bananas, garlic and onions, contain prebiotics. Fermented foods, like kefir, kimchi, kombucha, sauerkraut and yogurt are great sources of probiotics.
  7. Avoid drugs and alcohol – If you typically reach for a cigarette or a glass of wine when you’re stressed, consider a new vice. Drugs, alcohol and tobacco can stress your body out even more and often lead to serious health issues like heart disease, liver disease, respiratory diseases and GI problems.

While it’s impossible to completely eliminate all stress from your life, the strategies above can help you manage your symptoms. Prioritizing self-care first can help you cope with what comes next. And remember, there’s nothing wrong with asking for help. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 712-249-8231.