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Ways to de-stress

Continuous stress over time can lead to heart complications but managing your stress with simple lifestyle changes can go a long way. Here are four simple practices you can do daily to de-stress.

Make sleep a priority

There is no medal of honour for people who survive on the least amount of sleep. Sleep and stress are inextricably linked. Stress can affect your sleep and in turn, lack of sleep can lead to stress. Get out of this vicious cycle by prioritising seven to eight hours of sleep per night. Prepare yourself for restful sleep by avoiding alcohol and foods high in fat and sugar in the hours before bedtime. Avoid exercising, bright lights and working before you climb into bed.

Make sure that your room is dark and quiet. If you struggle to fall asleep, consider relaxation methods and natural calming remedies to help you.

Ease stress with exercise

Experts agree that even moderate amounts of regular physical activity can do wonders for relieving stress. Exercise reduces the body’s stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol, lowers blood pressure, and stimulates the production of endorphins – the feel-good chemicals in the brain that elevate your mood and act as natural painkillers.

Just 30 minutes of exercise four times a week can help your heart. Take a walk, ride your bike or join a yoga class. Whatever you choose, make sure it’s something you like so you’re more likely to stick with it.

Do what makes you happy

Many of the things that bring you happiness are also things that can help to relieve stress, such as getting some exercise, doing something creative, spending time with friends, and enjoying your work.

All work and no play is a recipe for burnout. Try to strike a balance between work and family life, your social activities and your daily responsibilities. When you are doing too much of one thing and not enough of the others, you will feel anxious, resentful, tired, and overwhelmed.

Have a healthy diet

We all know that bad eating habits can be bad for our physical health but using food or alcohol to escape the stress of life is also bad for mental and emotional wellbeing. Feelings of loss of control or guilt about overindulging on unhealthy snacks or binging on alcohol can lead to stress, which in turn can influence your heart’s health. Well-nourished bodies are better prepared to cope with stress. So, watch what you eat and limit your intake of foods and drinks that cause temporary highs, followed by unwanted crashes in mood and energy.