Student returning to school or not, doesn’t it seem like September is the time when our busy lives kick into gear again? One moment we are lounging on a patio with a frozen drink, and then suddenly we have four urgent deadlines and shopping malls full of sweaters and boots we’d like to have. Projects that didn’t seem so urgent are suddenly due. Adult and kids’ needs that were so simple during the summer are now tying up most of our time – new home or work projects that took a back burner for summer, back-to-school meetings, uniforms to buy, new classes, new teachers, new friends and all of the pressure we place on ourselves to excel in every area and way. In a short time this can reduce us into a ball of nerves leading to restless sleep and a compromised immune system, just in time for the holidays when more stress enters the picture. So what’s the best way to fight the cycle created by September stress?
Here are some ideas to lighten up the load of anxieties and coast a bit:
1. Stay Nourished
Food is incredibly important to combat stress, anxiety and bad moods. Sometimes, stress can mean we have a nutrient deficiency, like a lack of protein or healthy fats, or it can be caused by eating too many refined carbs and sugary snacks. It’s important to focus on whole grains like Brown rice, millet, buckwheat, oats, quinoa and barley which are packed with B vitamins, one of our most important stress fighters. Gluten free whole grains support the digestive tract, help lower blood sugar and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease without slowing down how food is processed in the intestinal system.
Add in plenty of dark leafy greens like spinach, kale, arugula, collards, Swiss chard which are also full of B vitamins as well as zinc and magnesium. And don’t forget to load up on antioxidants like berries, nuts, seeds, beans and wild caught fish.
2. Get Organized
You can’t expect to be stress-free if the house is a mess, the fridge is empty, your mail, both snail and Internet, is unanswered and you always seem to be running 10 minutes behind schedule. Put a short priority list on paper, a whiteboard, your computer or smartphone and work with it. What are the most important things you need to accomplish today, tomorrow, this week? What is absolutely essential, and what would be nice to accomplish, but not urgent? Even if you feel quite skilled at multi-tasking – don’t. Try to take on and finish just one or two projects at a time as efficiently as possible. Sometimes that means turning off your phone and staying off of Facebook and Twitter so you are able to work without interruption from others.
3. Make Time for Stress-Free Activities
When you’ve got a lot happening, it can be hard to make time for relaxation. But there is tons of evidence that shows participating in relaxing activities improve our health, and keep our brains happy. So carve out some time to relax – schedule it in your calendar if you need to. Just make it happen.
4. Try Some Herbs
Chamomile is an herb that quells nervousness, anxiety, stress and insomnia. Have it in a cup of tea, add a few drops of essential oil to your bath, put it in an aromatherapy diffuser or use it as massage oil.
Lavender is an adaptogen, which means it can help the body adapt to stress or imbalances. It is a great aid for relaxing and winding down before bedtime, yet has balancing properties that can also boost stamina and energy. Put it on your pillow, or add a few drops to your bath and you’ll be blissful in no time.
Take a short exercise break regularly each day. It can help break down tension and anxiety, rev up your heart, recharge your circulatory system and make you feel good.