Between juggling careers, family life, friendships and everything in between, women have little time to care for themselves. It’s no wonder our stress levels are so high.
Too much stress can lead to all sorts of problems, from irritability and anxiety to loss of sleep, weight gain and even hormone imbalances. However, there are several ways women can de-stress with both diet and exercise. And if you get started with these healthy habits now, you can lessen the impact of stress before it hits.
Many forms of exercise—cardio, weight or circuit training, cross training, yoga and group classes—can relieve stress. Engaging in physical activity increases endorphins (feel-good hormones) and helps improve mood, while also boosting your self esteem and confidence. Working out regularly also helps promote healthy sleep, which gives you the energy to handle the stress that comes your way.
It’s especially nice to exercise with a friend, which provides not only the benefits of physical activity but also emotional support if you’re able to talk through some of your problems while you work out.
Eating well is another way to help your body cope with stress. Mineral-rich green and yellow-orange vegetables such as broccoli, carrots, squash, cantaloupe and bananas are all good to include in your diet. Also be sure to regularly consume lean protein and healthy fats, and stay away from processed foods and refined sugars.
You could also try a targeted stress supplement, such as Vitacost Ultra B Stress Formula with Vitamin C. It supplies a full range of B vitamins (for energy production and cell health) and 1,000 mg of vitamin C (to support immune function). Another option is a stand-alone vitamin C supplement, such as Vitacost Vitamin C 1,000 mg. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that can reduce the damage that free radicals, chemicals, pollution and other environmental stressors cause to the body’s cells.
Along with exercise and diet, meditation, deep breathing and other relaxation techniques can be useful. If you find stress has already taken over, try to find just 15 minutes for yourself. Close your bedroom door, apply a soothing facial mask (I like Aubrey Organics Vegecol Soothing Mask with Aloe and Oatmeal) and have a cup of calming herbal tea.
Try to be aware of your stress triggers, and incorporate these tools into your daily life to help fight stress before it starts.
Southern States Championships top contender Melissa Transou, a figure competitor, wife and mother, blogs about the unique sports nutrition needs of female athletes exclusively for Vitacost.com.