When you nourish your body, you nourish your mind. ~ Margaret Marshall
I have been asked to present many programs in corporations about stress management. As I am presenting these programs, the employees share their stress with me, and their inability to manage stress effectively. They state how work and family stresses becomes overwhelming and unavoidable.
It is important that companies provide this information to their staff. People are stressed with time constraints, deadlines, co-workers, and the balance between family life and career. They feel at times, there is nowhere to turn and no way out of a stressful lifestyle. If they allow the stress to continue without managing it, these valued employees will become ineffective in their jobs and require too much sick time. That is the price tag to the employer, but the end result and the visible signs for the employee is poor health, poor relationships, broken families, obesity, and excess drinking.
One of the first questions I ask at my seminars is how stress is felt physically. This solicits many answers because stress will affect each one of us differently. Some say they experience head or stomach aches, twitching, nail biting, teeth clenching, fatigue or inability to sleep, loss of appetite or an increased appetite. Next I ask, "How does your stress manifest in your life?" This is when they realize how their stress is negatively affecting their personal relationships. They report that at home they yell at their kids or spouse for no apparent reason, that they have no energy for fun times with family, or that they lose contact with treasured friends. They say they no longer have a zest for life, and always I hear that their eating habits are unhealthy or non-existent.
We cannot remove stress from our lives but we can learn to manage it. We can learn to react to situations in a more mindful manner rather than act out of frustration or anger. This is not an automatic change. As with any change, it takes time, practice, and the ability to remember to relax using stress management techniques while stressed.
I believe that if you can practice these techniques while you feel peaceful, they will become more automatic during periods of extreme stress, lessening the negative effects to your body and lifestyle.
Try relaxing with:
- Deep Breathing
- Never comparing yourself to others
- Talking with a trusted advisor/friend
- Never holding stress in
Always have healthy eating habits:
Eating at regular intervals throughout the day will help keep you strong and allow you to be effective in your personal and professional life. Some people work shift work, so I suggest taking a twenty-four hour period and scheduling sleep time along with when and what you will eat. Many say this alone is stressful, but it is only stressful if you are currently eating mindlessly.
Feeding your body with nutritious food daily will keep you healthy and alert. There are still those who claim it's easier to eat fast, ready to grab, food. Again, it is these people who need this change the most.
You will quickly realize that eating nourishing food at regular intervals each day will provide energy and stamina, improved health, more directed focus, and increased self-esteem. You'll be able to handle stress in a more productive way. Stress will no longer negatively affect your professional aspirations and personal relationships.
As with other methods of stress management, eating healthy needs to be an everyday occurrence and contrary to what others say, there is no "cheat day." Learn how to incorporate all foods into your week mindfully and never eat mindlessly. There is a time and place for each food item you desire. Make smart choices.
Use your healthy eating habits as a form of stress reduction, it will be evident in every aspect of your life.