Cut back on caffeine and stimulants.
Caffeine gives a false sense of energy and vitality and ultimately stresses the adrenals and kidneys, leaving us fatigued and agitated. Starting your day fueled with caffeine will invariably give you that midday slump and rob you of the energy you need to accomplish your day's work. If you feel you need that caffeine hit first thing in the morning, try a tea with less caffeine, such as yerba mate, jasmine, white or green tea, which will give you a buzz without the negative side effects.
Cut back on sugar.
A bit like caffeine, sugar can give an instant boost and then leave you feeling depleted. Excess sugar also creates agitation and mental cloudiness (I call it "the cotton wool brain syndrome"), and has even been linked to depression. If you need a sweet fix, have a piece of fresh fruit.
Eat brown rice.
Brown rice is one of the most balancing foods out there. It is packed with B vitamins, which are essential for dealing with and treating stress, and it's also high in fiber and other nutrients necessary for health and balance.
Eat your greens.
I may be starting to sound like a broken record, but I don't believe I can stress enough the vital importance of making green veggies part of your daily life. Stress is the culprit when it comes to creating an acid condition in the body. In fact, when it comes to conditions like osteoporosis, stress is often a major player, as calcium is an acid buffer. When the body is in an overly acidic condition as a result of poor diet and stress, calcium is leached from the bones to neutralize it. Greens to the rescue!
Add herbs and supplements to your diet.
There are many herbs and supplements that are effective in calming the nervous system and reducing stress. Tulsi, also known as holy basil, is a wonderful nerve tonic. It can be taken in supplement form and is also available as a delicious herbal tea. Chamomile, valerian, passionflower and St. John's wort all work to relax and calm the nervous system as well. Magnesium is a vital nutrient for promoting relaxation in the body. When I'm feeling a bit stressed, I often take a supplement called "Calm," which is a calcium-magnesium powder you can take in water at night. It is excellent for calming the system and encouraging deep sleep.
Cook a meal.
On a number of occasions, the 7-year-old daughter of one of my clients has come running into my kitchen on her return from school, telling me that school was so stressful, she just had to cook! For the most part, I find that letting my creative spirit out to play in the kitchen is a wonderfully relaxing activity with the added bonus that I can sit down and savor a wonderful meal that's sure to melt my stresses away.
When I need some comfort, the first thing I think of making is my Asian-Style Fish Stew. Perhaps it's the creaminess, reminiscent of my childhood, and the lovely sweet flavor of the sweet potato combined with my favorite veggies (leeks and kale) that give it special appeal. Also, the fact that it's quick and simple to make means it's a stress-free activity as well! Don't forget to check out the variations for a vegan version and other options.
More from Aine