There are a lot of factors working against people who are trying to lose weight in today’s world. Fast food restaurants litter the streets and gym memberships get more and more expensive by the day. Tight deadlines at work mean little time for worrying about proper nutrition during the day. And on top of that, busy family schedules make fixing a wholesome meal on a regular basis all the more difficult.
There’s also one other major underlying factor in weight gain: stress. Stress can creep in at any moment, and can be caused by almost anything in your life. Work, social events, even your family can cause stress.
Not only is the stress itself harmful to your mind and body, but it can also lead to other unhealthy habits. All too often, people turn to unhealthy things like food and drink rather than dealing with the stress itself.
We all know all too well just how easy it is to reach for a cheeseburger when things get tough. Of course, you’ll feel better in the short term – but the long-term ramifications are just not worth it.
Below are five simple yet effective techniques for dealing with stress that can help you turn away from unhealthy habits and be more productive at the same time.
Go for a walk
Everyone needs the occasional break. Just 10 minutes away can do wonders for the mind and the body, and allow you to refresh and recharge. Not only will it clear your head, but walking is also very relaxing. Next time you feel overwhelmed, go outside, leave the office or just go somewhere you have some room, and take a walk.
Breathe it out
While it sounds like the most simplistic advice ever, just breathing can do wonders for your stress level. Simply taking deep breathes and counting to 10 is a great way to battle the feeling of being overwhelmed. Exhaling slowly can decrease your heart rate and in turn calm your body down.
Get some sleep
Do you get seven to eight hours of sleep on a nightly basis? Chances are you don’t, which can be a contributing factor to high levels of stress. Staying well rested can help keep the mind relaxed yet focused and able to take on whatever the day may hold. Even a short nap can help out on a stressful day.
Plan a fun activity
The next time you’re feeling overwhelmed, set aside some time down the line to do something fun. Whether it’s a trip to the bowling alley, a round of golf or a weekend getaway, as long as it’s something you enjoy it’ll help you battle the stress. Planning it while you’re stressed will also give you something to look forward to, which should almost instantly make you feel a bit better.
Play a game
Nothing reduces stress like a quick game. Not only can it take your mind off any issues, but it’ll also help you to relax by changing your focus to something fun. Chances are you have a game or two in your closet – even a deck of cards will do. Just a short bout of fun can refresh and re-energize your mind and body. Then you’ll be ready to take on anything.
Mike Tennant is a freelance writer and self-proclaimed workout warrior from Orange County, CA. Mike has recently lost more than 120 lbs. thanks to proper diet, exercise and stress management. Currently Mike works for Air & Water Inc., where he helps people find the right coffee makers for their homes.