10 tips for managing stress by Dr. Denise Patterson, ND

Dr. Denise Patterson, ND is a Naturopathic Doctor who trained at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine and studied Heath Science at the University of Ontario. She helps patients take control of their health journey through individualized care based on their lifestyle, goals, health, and personality.

We all end up with a little too much on our plates sometimes. Between work, family responsibilities, household chores, and various other commitments, we are bound to feel overwhelmed from time to time. Although feeling some level of stress throughout our lives is normal, chronic and consistent stress can lead to physical, mental and emotional burnout. Here are some tips to help keep your stress levels in check.

  1. Get moving. Exercise is one of the most underutilized treatments for mood stabilization. Exercise changes mechanisms in your body on a cellular level, helping to improve mood, relieve stress, improve anxiety, support the immune system, along with build and maintain strong muscles and bones. Exercise does not need to be complicated or fancy; simply do something that involves moving your body, whether that be a long walk, a dance class, working in the garden, weight lifting or a formal workout class. Just get moving.

  2. Release the tension. We carry a lot of stress in our bodies, leading to muscle tension and soreness. One way to release that stress from the body is to devote some time to various relaxation techniques. For example, meditation, yoga, massage, gentle stretching, relaxing breath work, or a hot bath or shower.

  3. Gratitude. We are what we constantly say to ourselves. Our internal dialogue matters. We spend the majority of the day talking to ourselves within our minds without even realizing it. Expressing gratitude helps stimulate the release of “happy hormones” in the brain. Try consistently writing down three things you are grateful for in the morning and three good things that happened that day in the evening.

  4. Get outside. Spending time in the great outdoors helps to reduce stress levels, and stimulate the release of “happy hormones” in the brain. It has also been shown to decrease levels of stress hormones in the body. Try going for a walk on your lunch break, or having a meal outside, or even exercising outside. Your body and mind will thank you for it.

  5. Eat well. What we put into our body matters. Ensuring that you are having a well-balanced diet rich in fruits and veggies is very important to establishing and maintaining general health, along with mood optimization and blood sugar regulation. So cut the crap and give you body what it needs and deserves.

  6. Sweet dreams. Ensuring you are getting the correct quantity and quality of sleep each night is crucial for managing stress levels. This is when our nervous system shifts from “go go go” to “rest and rejuvenate”. Try to establish a regular bedtime routine with consistent sleep and wake times. Make catching some Z’s a priority.

  7. Hobby time. Set aside time to do something you enjoy. Try to do something everyday just for the joy of it, even if it is just for 15 minutes. Doing something you enjoy will help to alleviate stress by shifting your body into relaxation mode.

  8. Let it out. Sometimes all we need to relieve a little bit of stress is to talk it out with someone. Try opening up to a friend, family member, trusted colleague or even a member of your health care team. Journaling is another great outlet to help get your thoughts and stress out of your mind.

  9. Remove triggers. Tune in to when you feel your most stressed and what specifically triggers you. Once you have established your triggers, ask yourself if it is possible to remove or at least decrease them. For example, perhaps every time you hear your phone go off you feel stressed and overwhelmed. Are you able to change your notification settings to limit these triggers? If you cannot think of specific triggers, make note of when you feel your most stressed and when you feel most relaxed and adjust accordingly.

  10. Reach out. If your stress levels become too much for you to handle with your current coping strategies, reach out to someone on your healthcare team for support. They will be able to assess your case and advise you on specific recommendations for your individual needs. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness. It is a declaration that you are willing and wanting to help yourself feel better. You deserve to feel your best.

Dr. Denise Patterson, ND
Instagram: @drdenise.nd
Facebook: @drdenise.nd

Note: This blog entry is for general informational purposes only, and does not constitute practice of naturopathic medicine or other professional healthcare services including the giving of medical advice. No doctor patient relationship is formed. Use of this material is at user’s own risk. Readers should not disregard or delay obtaining medical advice for any medical conditions they may have and should seek assistance from a trusted medical care professional for any condition. This blog entry does not speak on behalf of naturopathic medicine and does not represent the profession as a whole.

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