Tag: stress

The Importance of Self-Care During Difficult Times

The past few months have been stressful for many, resulting in uncertainty, increased anxiety, and depression. Social distancing, while keeping us safe from COVID-19, can result in social isolation for some. Within the last month, the country has erupted in civil unrest caused by racism, which affects all members of our communities. During these difficult times, self-care is extremely important, and here are some practical tips that can help. 


Reaching Out

Connecting with others helps to encourage healthy relationships, especially at times when we feel more divided. The age of technology has made this easier by increasing our options for making connections, whether through phone, video platforms, or simply writing a letter. Connecting with others increases the likelihood that stressors will be coped with in a way that reduces adverse health consequences. Plus, social support can influence a person’s ability to activate their own individual coping skills. 



Sometimes, people aren’t always available for us to reach out to, and a journal can be a way to practice some healthy introspection. A journal provides us with a safe space for us to record and discuss our feelings. When journaling your feelings, remember that it’s okay to not feel okay amid the things that are happening in the world. It’s also a good idea to remind yourself how you have managed difficult times in the past. 



Make gratitude part of your daily practice. Plan to do positive things such as offering help to others. Many people find that volunteering can boost your sense of connectedness and self-esteem. According to Dr. Taylor-Desir of Mayo Clinic, studies have shown that the practice of gratitude can shift our focus from negative emotions to more positive ones. In addition, gratitude increases neural sensitivity in areas of our brain linked to learning and decision making and can contribute to improved mental health over time. 


Less Screen Time

Some people may turn to social media and news feeds during this time to stay up to date with current events, however, too much of this can be detrimental. Take time to get away from social media and unplug from the news. Try spending more time in nature, doing yoga, or meditating. If you’re feeling exhausted by the news, it may be a sign that you’re spending too much time exposing yourself to too much negative information. 

Food That Increase and Reduce Stress

healthy foods

If you’re struggling with high levels of stress, you should consider taking a look at your diet to see if the foods you’re eating are exacerbating your stress. Before going into what food to eat to help reduce your stress, it’s important to know what foods may increase stress levels.


Foods high in refined sugars or sodium can actually increase stress levels if eaten in large amounts. Foods high in refined sugars cause fluctuations in your blood sugar as the body in your insulin, leading to mood swings and potentially higher levels of stress. High levels of sodium causes your body to retain water, making your cardiovascular system work harder and increasing your blood pressure, which in turn can raise stress levels.

Drinking large amounts of alcohol and caffeine will not do you any favors in terms of stress reduction. While many of us can’t get through the morning without a cup of joe or energy drink, it shouldn’t be consumed throughout the day as high levels of caffeine can cause you to feel edgy, increase your heart rate, and make you feel more stressed. Alcohol may help you relax after a long day, but drinking alcohol causes your body to release a hormone that is the same that’s released why you’re stressed out.

The following superfoods are known for helping to decrease your stress levels:



Vitamin B is known for its stress reducing properties, and avocados are rich in vitamin B. Avocados are also high in the good fat for our body, monounsaturated fat, along with about 20 other vitamins and nutrients that are important for the body.



Along with being an excellent source of protein, almonds also have high levels of vitamins B12 and E that can help the immune system, which in turn can reduce stress.


Leafy Green Vegetables

Foods like kale and spinach can actually help your body regulate hormone levels in your body, leaving you feeling more in control of your stress levels. Try to add spinach to as many foods as possible throughout the day to help you keep control of your stress and giving your body a boost of nutrients.



When you sit down for Thanksgiving dinner, the combination of overeating and the chemical tryptophan typically causes people to feel lethargic after the meal. Adding some turkey to your diet will give your body some tryptophan that can help you feel more relaxed and lower your feelings of stress.

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