November 16, 2016

Stress Management for Healthy Living

Stress is defined as a state of mental or emotional strain resulting from very demanding circumstances. Whether it’s at home or at work, we deal with stress every day. But did you ever imagine that stress could be healthy? One benefit of stress is that it can make you feel more resilient. For example, dealing with stressful situations makes it easier to manage new ones. Another benefit is that stress can motivate you to succeed. If you view stressful situations as a challenge you can meet, rather than an overwhelming roadblock, stress can become a healthy part of life!
When stress becomes chronic and we feel like we have lost control of a situation, it can negatively impact our health and well-being. Whether you’re a cook testing a new recipe, a nurse taking care of residents with dementia, or a manager trying to control your budget, working in healthcare can be stressful.  Moreover, built up stress can lead to unhealthy habits. The good news is that there are strategies to help alleviate stress. Here are some healthy ways to deal with everyday stress:

  • Exercise.  Exercise is a great way to shed your built up frustrations and aggressions. It releases endorphins, which gives you a sense of happiness and personal satisfaction.
  • Treat yourself to some time off.  Take a day to yourself or plan a vacation. Taking time off from a stressful job can make you much sharper upon your return.
  • Enjoy savory, well- balanced meals and healthy, energy-filled snacks in between. We’ve all heard the saying, “you are what you eat.” Eating healthy, energy-filled foods will supercharge your metabolism and keep your mind and body on point.
  • Get at least 8 hours of sleep.  When you’re stressed, your body needs extra rest in order to recuperate.
  • Spend quality time with a friend. Sharing your feelings and talking about your stressors can actually help lift some weight off your shoulders.
  • Try something new. Cooking, baking and crafts are not only fun, but they are also a great way to distract your brain from stress while keeping your hands busy.

What is my key to success for coping with everyday stress? I laugh every single day! Laughter, in my opinion, is one of the best remedies for stress. Not only does it help ease the body and mind, but laughter is contagious, so it helps de-stress those around you as well. For me, laughter really is the best medicine of all.
This blog is courtesy of Sally McDonald, Food Service Manager for the Jeffrey & Susan Brudnick Center for Living in Peabody, MA.