While the change of seasons from Winter to Spring means mood-boosting warmer temperatures and days filled with sunshine, the pressures of work, winding down the school year, tackling springtime yardwork, contending with seasonal allergies and ramping up spring cleaning efforts can certainly add up. All those factors likely contribute to the fact that April represents Stress Awareness Month. Stress is a fact of life. However, there are several healthy ways we can all contend with stress and your friends at Woody’s Bar-B-Q has compiled a list of our top ten tips for reducing stress…
- Get Outside and Play: In addition to the serotonin-raising benefits of sunlight, getting outside regularly to exercise can release endorphins – your body’s natural painkillers, lower stress hormones like cortisol, improve the quality of your sleep and elevate your self-confidence. If you can’t get outside every day, try to find an exercise regimen you can practice regularly indoors. Exercise is not only good for your physical health, but also your mental health.
- Find Inner Peace in the Phrase “Namaste”: A Hindu greeting that – loosely translated – means “I bow to you” or “I respect you,” Namaste is often spoken at the end of a yoga session. Yoga is a powerful way to get in touch with your body and spirit that involves breathing techniques, a series of postures, identifying intentions and – perhaps most importantly – setting aside time for yourself. Research has shown that it can reduce blood pressure and stress hormone levels.
- Eat Stress-Reducing Foods: Healthline lists the following foods among the best for reducing anxiety and tension for their stress-relieving properties and nutrients. Included among them are swiss chard, blueberries, sweet potatoes, broccoli, artichokes, eggs, shellfish, fatty fish, garlic and chickpeas, among others. Woody’s Bar-B-Q is proud to offer several items from that list including sweet potato fries, baked sweet potatoes, broccoli (availability varies by location) and salmon on our menu.
- Reduce Your Caffeine Consumption: While many of us feel as though we can’t start our day without that morning cup of coffee, we may actually be doing ourselves a disservice. You may want to make the switch to decaf or half-caff for your daily cup of joe and swap out highly caffeinated sodas for caffeine-free substitutes.
- Explore Anxiety Eliminating Supplements and Herbal Teas: Chamomile tea has long served as a pantry staple for calming the nerves. Green tea helps raise serotonin levels – which helps reduce stress, as well. Additional herbal supplements that have been hailed for their stress lifting properties include ashwagandha and valerian root, among others. Because certain supplements may interact with prescription medications, you should check with your doctor before adding any of them to your health regimen.
- Discover the Benefits of Aromatherapy: From essential oil diffusers to scented candles, there are a number of stress-soothing scents that can help lift your mood. Try lavender, rose, peppermint, orange blossom and sandalwood to see which proves the best fit for you.
- Start a Journal: By putting the things in your life into writing, you will gain a certain degree of control over them. You can also lighten the mood by making the counting of your blessings part of your journaling routine. It’s a great way to put everything in perspective and flip the lens in the favor of a lighter, lower stress lifestyle.
- Find Release Through Catharsis: From the Greek word katharsis – which means purification, the act of catharsis is a purging of repressed emotions. Reading a good book, watching a romantic comedy or merely having a much-needed laugh with friends can help you cry or laugh it out. Thought to lead to renewal or restoration, catharsis dates back to the time of Aristotle. There’s truth to the phrase “laughter is the best medicine.”
- Surround Yourself with Loved Ones: Feeling isolated can heighten anxiety and depression. By making a concerted effort to spend more time with friends and family – particularly those who lift you up – you could actually be increasing your oxytocin levels, a natural stress relieving hormone. Science aside, being part of a “tribe” contributes to your sense of self-worth.
- Stop Trying to Do it All: That’s easier said than done for many overachievers, but between juggling work, carpools for school and sports, maintaining a home and lawn, paying the bills, shopping for groceries and preparing meals – every once in a while, something’s got to give. Woody’s Bar-B-Q not only provides an extensive To Go menu and curbside pick up at all our locations, some offer drive-thru and delivery, as well. We also feature crowd-pleasing menu items like our Family Feasts and Chicken Feasts that provide food enough to feed the whole family. Let US do the cooking for a change! To view our menu and list of locations, visit Woodys.com.