Stress levels have been at an all-time high in recent years. With the daily demands of work and fulfilling other responsibilities, people have struggled to cope with mounting pressure and anxiety. Others continue to work to the point of exhaustion and fatigue, eventually suffering from stress-induced diseases and conditions.
Healthily coping with stress is vital to your physical and mental well-being. Taking care of your body will help boost your immune functions, fighting off infection and sickness that can leave you immobile for weeks. Here are four science-backed ways to naturally improve your mental health during stressful times:
Exercise is an excellent way to improve your mental and physical health. It increases blood circulation to the brain, which plays an essential role in regulating your mood and stress responses. It also releases feel-good hormones known as endorphins.
Many people shy away from exercise because they think it’s too difficult or tiring. However, high-intensity activity isn’t required to ease stress. Moderate-intensity exercise, or exercise that is hard enough for you to talk but not sing, was found by a study to reduce depression.
Rhythmic exercises like running, swimming, cycling, and walking have also shown numerous health benefits for your body. Doing these exercises for fifteen to thirty minutes three times a week will help you relax and feel less stressed in the most natural way possible.
Start a Nighttime Routine
Routines help the body and mind calm down, so establishing one before bed will help you relax. Put your smartphone away and all other devices with a screen. Take a warm bath or shower and opt for a book, some soothing music, or some meditation to wind down. You can even do some light stretches to prepare yourself for sleep.
A good nighttime routine will prime your body for sleep, sending your brain a signal that you’ll be going to bed shortly. You’ll feel more relaxed at night, eliminating unnecessary evening stress.
Another critical ingredient of improving your overall mental health is to get enough sleep. Regular exercise will also improve the quality of your sleep, so these two come hand-in-hand. Better sleep will boost your mood, lower stress, and improve your body’s functions. According to the National Sleep Foundation, stress and sleep are directly related to each other, so focusing on a good night’s sleep will help you feel better.
Getting enough sleep isn’t about sleeping for longer. It’s about allowing your body enough time to go through the sleep cycles to repair itself properly. Developing excellent sleep habits will help your brain accustom itself to restorative sleep, which will boost your mental health.
Avoid Stimulants at Night
Eating a healthy diet of fruits, vegetables, and other proteins will help your body function at its most optimal. Indulging in the occasional sweet treat is fine, but doing it at the wrong time can cause sleep problems and increase stress levels.
Drinking coffee or taking nicotine products in the afternoon can make it more challenging for you to wind down at night, as these contain stimulants that are often long-lasting. Drinking alcohol at night is also not advisable. Although you may think that it helps you fall asleep, you tend to wake up in the middle of the night as your body begins to process it and break it down.
Learning how to improve your mental health naturally during tough times is invaluable. Although many people resort to other ways to relieve stress like eating indulgently or smoking, this usually provides only temporary relief while causing more health problems in the long-term. These four natural ways are entirely beneficial to your body and are excellent for improving your overall well-being.
Physical health is very closely tied with mental health, which is why we at Garden State Medical Group practice multidisciplinary integrative and functional medicine. If you’re in search of a primary care doctor in New Jersey, book an appointment at our North Bergen or Secaucus locations. We want to be a part of your journey to living a healthy and happy life.