5 Tips for Beating Stress and Fatigue
By Jana Beeman, CHHP, CHT, AADP
It’s been getting worse for weeks: that feeling of dragging yourself out of bed, dragging yourself to work, not having energy to do anything fun… or, just no energy at all.
If you have been feeling like this, then could be suffering from stress overload or fatigue, or possibly a bit of both. Now, there could easily be more going on there as well, but let’s start with just a few quick fixes that could be enough to get you feeling better every day and having energy for living your life.
1. Improve your sleep:
- Go to bed and get up at the same time each day, even on the weekends.
- Don’t eat or drink much within 3 hours of bedtime.
- Sleep in a really dark room, or wear an eyeshade.
- Try to keep the room relatively cool if you can, or use lighter covers during summer.
- Try taking melatonin at bedtime – between 2 – 5mg works really well for most people. Take it 30 minutes before bed for best results, and don’t exceed 5mg.
2. Exercise more:
- If you don’t have time to work out at a gym, use some fun home exercise DVD’s or take a class near your home or work.
- Take the stairs, park on the far side of the parking lot, take a walk on your break – use your imagination. Get outside. Walk the whole mall. Walk to the coffee house or anyplace else you can. Stroll your local Farmer’s Market.
- Do yoga on your own in the mornings. Morning is the best time to exercise as it boosts your energy and mood all day (while burning more calories, just for fun!). Use a good video to learn from, then do what feels good to you each day.
- Take 20 minutes in the morning to do 100 crunches and 20 slow squats. Sometimes doing the same thing every morning takes less concentration and you can use it to wake up a bit.
- Every day, life gets more hectic, so let’s talk about a few quick and easy things you can do to throw off stress easier:
- Breathe deeper – breathe slowly and deeply into the belly area throughout the day. You will feel SO much better as this becomes a habit, and you’ll sleep better too if you do it at night!
- Take breaks – whether you work at an office or at home, take at least a 5 minute break every hour. Go to the bathroom, get a glass of water, go run up and down the stairs, just get away from your computer and/or your desk.
- Do a little desk yoga – roll your head, stretch the neck, roll the shoulders and BREATHE deeply. Close the eyes while you do this, and in 5 minutes you’ll feel amazingly refreshed. If you can’t do it at your desk, go in the restroom or breakroom. Get others doing it with you – start a trend!
- If you are angry or frustrated with someone, diffuse the stress by using a little imagination trick. I came up with this one back when I was waitressing to pay for college, and you know people often treat waitresses like dirt. So after I had to pay for breaking a few dishes (on purpose) I came up with this one:
- Imagine a room made of concrete blocks or lead, if you want
- Imagine the person/persons who are annoying you in that room
- Imagine you are outside the room watching through a special, protected window
- Push a button and blow them up
- Repeat as needed
Ok, you don’t have to get bloody about it, just find a way to make them go poof. A puff of smoke where the person used to be is good, then you can use a fan to blow the smoke away. Experiment until you find one that works for you. It really DOES release a lot of stress – and no one really gets hurt! The next time you see that person, just think to yourself: “You can’t bother me any more, I blew you up!” It’s a very empowering thought sometimes.
I know some people will say it’s negative thinking, but in my experience, it’s better to deal with the frustration or anger in a non-harmful way then to let it fester. Sometimes in the workplace you CAN’T address the issue directly, or you do and nothing changes or the relationship with that person actually gets worse. So… blowing them up is a great tool to use when you need to take care of yourself. If you prefer less violence in your imagination (which really IS better!), then just play with other ideas.
- turn them into flowers
- mentally spray them with a ‘nice’ potion
- imagine they are someone else
You get the idea. Run with it.
4. Get off the caffeine.
Ya, I know, everyone hates that suggestion, but the less caffeine you drink during the day, regardless of the source: coffee, tea, soda – the less you push your body into the fight or flight scenario. Caffeine actually creates stress in the body, and it has you ready to take action to survive. It’s not as drastic as the adrenaline of say a car accident or something like that, but it DOES have an ongoing negative impact on the body. So give your body a break and start reducing your caffeine intake a little each day. Replace it with fresh water, which your body needs, or herbal tea.
5. Get off the Sugar.
Ok, the really bad news: Sugar does the same thing to the body as caffeine, just using your blood sugar. You get tired, you eat sugar, you peak energy, then you crash. This cycle not only causes fatigue, but it’s really bad for your insulin levels in the body. Every time you eat sugar, your body releases insulin to utilize the sugar, but eventually your body can become resistant to the insulin and stores the sugar as body fat. Even people who don’t have a weight issue are creating an ongoing strain on the body with sugar. If you need energy, eat a piece of fruit, which contains fiber and nutrients instead of sugar with no fiber or nutrients. An apple has quite a bit of sugar, but it also has an equal amount of fiber which causes the sugar to be released into the body much more slowly and last much longer, avoiding the peak and crash scenario.
These are five really powerful tips to add into your daily routine to beat your stress and fatigue. I highly recommend working on one or two at a time at most, because making changes like this should not ADD to your stress. Try one, then when you feel like you’re ok with that, start adding in another. Make changes gradually, and you’ll create a lasting change for a more balanced and energized life.
If you try everything on this list and you still aren’t feeling well, there could be a lot of other things going on. Do you feel at all depressed? There could be adrenal fatigue from too much stress for too long. If you’re just not where you want to be, I highly recommend seeing a naturopath or integrative medicine professional, or a psychologist if depression is likely for you. If you’re not sure where to turn next, please feel free to email me to set up a free consult, and we can discuss what treatment might be most effective for you.
Remember that this stress-filled life we lead now is something man created, and is not our natural way of being. Make yourself responsible for taking action to reduce the stress on your body and spirit, and you will feel so much better each and every day. It’s easy if you take it one step at a time.
|Jana Beeman is a Board Certified Health, Nutrition and Fitness Counselor, Certified Yoga and Modified Yoga Instructor, certified in Hypnosis, meditation and stress relief trainer and a specialist in chronic migraine pain relief, food allergies and inflammation. AADP Certified. She is a national speaker and is regularly featured on radio programs such as Spirit Radio, Women’s Radio and SQR-fm as well as her own podcasts, newsletters and blog.
Her website, www.balancedlifetoday.com gives information on her programs. Visit www.balancedlifetoday.com/migraines.htm for information on her migraine programs and to sign up for her free Migraine Management Newsletter with more informative articles and great tips on migraine control. She offers frequent teleseminars, podcasts and presentations at your location are available. Free 30-minute consultations about her program and how it might help you with your migraines or other health issues are available on a limited basis. Call (360) 263-5800 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read more of her articles her experts page on SelfGrowth.com at http://www.selfgrowth.com/experts/jana_beeman.
Permission is granted to reprint this article in its entirety including all contact information. All rights reserved. May 2011.
Disclaimer: This information is not intended to replace a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. Health care decisions should be made in partnership with a qualified health care professional. The contents of this article are based upon the opinions of Jana Beeman unless otherwise noted. The information provided is for entertainment purposes only and Jana Beeman will not diagnose, treat or cure in any manner whatsoever any disease, condition or other physical or mental ailment of the human body.