Six Effective Ways to Manage Stress and Anxiety

Whether you’re heading back to school this fall or whether you’ve reached the pinnacle of adulthood and have been working year-round for the past few decades, the end of summer can bring out the stress in all of us. And, as we all know, stress can take quite a toll on both our lives and appearances. So what’s the best way to handle it and find sanity in the chaos?

1. Avoid Unnecessary Stressful Situations
Although this might go without saying, keeping yourself out of high-stress environments and situations (when possible) is the number one way to avoid being stressed. Since this isn’t always (or even often) an option, we’re including five more ways to beat anxiety!

2. Get Plenty of Sleep
A lack of sleep can leave even the best of us feeling grumpy and disoriented. In fact, a study out of Harvard University shows that not enough Z’s every night not only heightens feelings of stress but also causes bad moods, slows memory, negatively affects metabolism, and increases the risk of health issues. Since high levels of stress often cause insomnia and other sleeping problems, consider doing a relaxing meditation routine or taking natural, sleep-inducing supplements (like melatonin or chamomile tea).

3. Cut Back on the Sugar, Alcohol, and Caffeine in Your Diet
Although many of us reach for the sweet cures to stress cravings without a second thought, sugar affects our blood sugar levels, which can cause us to feel sluggish and moody. The same goes for booze. It can sometimes be tempting to look to the bottle to help us calm our nerves, but drinking can pose a mountain of other stress-inducing problems. Lastly, caffeine is known for giving the body an extra dose of energy and alertness. However, it can also enhance any pre-existing anxiety and cause our bodies to become extra wired.

4. Eat Your Greens and Proteins
The vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants found in foods like nuts, spinach, kale, salmon, avocados, and dark chocolate can help to balance your hormones and keep your cortisol levels steady. Not to mention that they’re all great for your skin!

5. Hit the Gym or Hit the Road
If you’re not a fan of pumping iron or using elliptical machines, get some exercise by going for a jog. The endorphins released in the process of motion will help to better your mood and clear your mind.

6. Make Time to Pamper Yourself
Take some time each day to focus on you. Soak in a steamy detox bath (Epsom salts and peppermint oil are great stress-reducing additions), sit and enjoy the peace of meditation, or treat yourself to a relaxing spa day!