The past year has confronted us with many situations we may not have even thought about. We faced a pandemic of a new virus and the constant uncertainty it brought with it. In addition, our country was hit by devastating earthquakes that took a total of 8 lives and left us with big material damage. All these situations have left some traces on us, and stress has almost become our everyday life.
We saw off the year in the sign of earthquakes that were felt in almost the whole of Croatia, and left the most damage in the Sisačko-moslavačka County. We cannot foresee earthquakes, we cannot predict them, and in fact we cannot prepare ourselves mentally enough for them. That is why many today feel scared, anxious, depressed and stressed. We have already written about the negative consequences of stress, and now we bring you 5 simple ways to combat it.
1. Regular physical activity
Physical activity reduces the level of cortisol – a stress hormone. Cortisol is secreted by the adrenal cortex and affects many organs and their function. The name stress hormone deserves it because it is secreted more in stressful situations, creating the energy needed to deal with the stressful situations in which we find ourselves. With elevated cortisol levels, the body felt as if it was in danger and had to escape from that danger. When we are under stress for a long time, problems such as high blood pressure, thyroid problems, diabetes, depression, etc. occur. Daily light exercise reduces cortisol levels and thus we protect ourselves from the effects of stress.
2. “Me time”
The hectic lifestyle we lived until last year was somewhat mitigated by the coronavirus pandemic. However, this mitigation is only apparent because, regardless of the work from home that many have had to switch to, the working day continues, but in a different form to which we have had to get used. Many children did not go to kindergarten, so parents had to balance babysitting with work from home, schools take place online, which also brings many changes in households, they have to get used to working from home, and many lost their jobs due to the closure of various facilities. People are surrounded by an even greater amount of stress… All these situations have actually led us to constantly think about something else, least of all about ourselves. That is why it is necessary to take at least half an hour to an hour a day that we will spend with ourselves. Reading a book, watching a movie or series, playing with a pet and exercising are just some of the ways to spend ‘me time’.
3. Proper nutrition
When we are under stress, we often resort to an unhealthy diet. The reason for this is that fast food contains a multitude of sugars our body receieves as ‘happiness’. In this way, we do not get enough of the necessary macro nutrients, vitamins, minerals and fiber, but only simple carbohydrates that saturate quickly, but we also get hungry from them quickly. And so on in a circle … Since we don’t all react the same, some in stressful situations will have a ‘stomach cramp’ that makes them unable to eat and lose their appetite. With a diet based on proper intake of nutrients, we will provide the body with everything necessary for normal functioning and health immunity that are needed to fight stress.
4. Relaxation techniques
Although we will always recommend regular exercise first, we should not overdo it. In addition, those who are not normally regular in exercise, starting exercise during stressful situations creates additional stress. Therefore, there are various relaxation techniques such as conscious breathing exercises, meditation, nature walks, staying in the fresh air, relaxation teas, stretching exercises or yoga. Everyone can find something for themselves!
5. Family and friends
Having good friends and a strong social support network can alleviate stress. The emotional support provided by social connections and good relationships with partners, friends and family improves psychological well-being, and is also affecting physical health. People who spend time with loved ones find healthy ways to deal with stress and deal with it more easily.
Relying on loved ones to get support brings healthy changes in life so we encourage you to find activities you can enjoy as a couple or group! Walking, training together, watching the same TV show or just talking helps us all cope with difficult times.
The way we deal with stress is individual because everyone is different from each other – it is important to listen to your body and the messages it sends us because we know ourselves best.
On our Facebook and Instagram profiles, as well as on the Coach4you profiles, you can follow the live training every working day at 6 p.m. Join and work with us on your mental and physical health!
Your Gyms4you team