Stress has become a part of our culture, and undoubtedly you may have experienced a sense of being overwhelmed quite often. For some, stress eating or stress drinking alcohol are enormous saboteurs on the path to health and wellness. It’s not just the excess calories that nudge you away from your goal. Here are four factors that people struggle with during stressful times:
1. Alcohol Backfires on Your Well-Being
Stress drinking cocktails or a few beers after a hectic day at work is what some see as a ritual to unwind, but this can backfire later. Alcohol prevents the brain from entering deep sleep leaving you unrested and stressed the next morning. Alcohol also dehydrates you. If you do drink, keep it to one drink a night. That means five ounces of wine or one shot of liquor… not an over-sized glass with a mixed drink.
2. Crush Stress with These Foods
“The best stress-quashing foods aren’t ice cream and cake,” says health expert Dr. Oz. Instead of fatty and sugar-loaded “sometimes foods,” do your waistline a favor by choosing berries instead. These power fruits are rich in vitamin C, which assists in battling increased levels of a stress hormone called cortisol. Pistachios offer a more savory option plus a blood pressure-lowering bonus. If you find overeating is still a problem, try picking up some smaller plates. American dinner plates have morphed into platters! By using a smaller size, you are tricking your brain into thinking there is more food on your plate. Your eyes are bigger than your stomach… use it to your advantage! Save calories and get double your benefits by making smart food choices if you do feel stressed.
3. Cope with Friends
One of the best things you can do to relieve stress is phoning a friend. Call an impromptu gathering for berry parfaits (stress hormone reliever) with protein-packed Greek yogurt. Take a 30-minute walk around the neighborhood, which will keep your heart healthy and give you time to enjoy the scenery. A Harvard study even suggests that for every hour you exercise, your longevity increases two hours! Enjoying the company of friends at home or on a walk is free and keeps you smiling through the crazy events of the day.
4. Sleep on It
Catch some z’s. For a healthy heart, you need at least seven hours of sleep. Less than lucky number seven and metabolic changes could occur and even increase your risk for diabetes. Before jumping into bed tell yourself “tomorrow is a new day and I can make it great!”. Think of sleep as a reset button to start fresh in the morning. Sweet dreams!
Stress happens, but with the tips above, stress eating and drinking can be replaced with healthy alternative options.