Celebrate Your Wins

Working exhausting hours day after day without rest or reward is a recipe for a health breakdown. It is vital that you take time out to celebrate your achievements and to take the appropriate rewards.

These celebrations are landmarks of your achievements and also provide motivation fuel to keep going.

Sometimes people have jobs where the reward is the job itself. If you love your work then it will probably be reasonable free of stress. Despite this it is important to take time out and to direct your attention elsewhere. Not only is this psychologically refreshing it is also creatively refreshing.

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Stressed Out Insomniacs: 5 Steps to Better Sleep

Crabby lately? It could have more to do with your sleep (or lack thereof) than your attitude. Even if you’re in bed eight hours a night, you might not be getting the restorative sleep you need to cope with stress, combat illness and problem solve like you should. As an overworked professional, this probably is not new to you. But, now you can do something about it.

Create a Relaxing Retreat

Make this your next home project, and give yourself permission to go all out. Stepping into a peaceful, stress-free sanctuary can trigger restful feelings that get you in the right mindset for deep sleep. Start by decluttering the room so you aren’t tempted to do anything but rest and relax. Choose a cool color palette of calming blues or greens, and stay away from loud prints on the walls or linens.

Don’t ignore your other senses, either. Sound and smells can contribute greatly to restful sleep. Consider using a sleep station on Pandora or leaving on nature noise in the background.

Limit Harsh Lighting

Light influences the timing of our internal clocks; therefore, having a bigger effect on your sleep schedule than you may have originally thought. According to sleep scientists at Harvard, exposure to light can communicate to your body that it’s still time to be up and active. Too many late nights cause your internal clock to be reset, making it hard to establish a timely sleep schedule.

Assess your sleeping environment. Are there bright fluorescent lights tacked to the ceiling, bare windows letting in street light and a TV hanging on the wall? Consider bringing in a few lamps to provide a softer light. Invest in custom window treatments to remove outside light. And finally, substitute TV time with a good book.

Cut Back on Midnight Snacks

Pay attention to your eating and drinking habits before bed. Even if ingested a few hours earlier, caffeine can have a negative effect on your quality of sleep. According to Dr. Lawrence Epstein at Harvard, caffeine’s stimulating effects can increase the amount of times you wake up in the night, which decreases the amount of deep sleep you get.

Alcohol can have a similar effect. At first it may act as a sleep aid, but it causes wakefulness and even insomnia as it is metabolized throughout the night. If you need a pick-me-up in the middle of the day, try drinking fresh juice or going for a 10-minute walk outside. Prevention also suggests that you chew a piece of mint-flavored gum because it increases your heart rate and mint stimulates your nerve fibers.

Get Physical, But Not Before Bed

Regular physical activity can release endorphins in your body, helping you relieve stress and feel good all around. But don’t expect to see permanent results until you get into a routine. According to a Northwestern University study, most insomniacs didn’t see a sleep-related difference until they were four months into their exercise routine, reports The New York Times. Additionally, try to schedule your workouts during the day or in the morning so you aren’t still energized when you try to go to sleep.

Address the Stress

Even with all of these external factors in line, you won’t be able to get restful sleep if you’re up all night worrying about work, planning next week’s agenda or fretting about your finances. Something that works for some busy professionals is to schedule worry time. Set aside a distraction-free time to tackle your bills, answer emails and address stress-causing items on your list. When the time is up, let yourself be finished for the day. That way, when you step into your new-and-improved sleep sanctuary, you’ll have nothing to do but fall into deep, restful sleep.

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Listen to your gut!

In order to lower your stress you need to listen to more than your gut feelings. You need to literally manage your gut.

The bacteria in our stomachs has a profound impact on our systemic wellbeing. If you eat the wrong food your gut bacteria start responding in the wrong way which can lead to inflammation and other psychological changes such as mood swings etc.

I strongly recommend that your watch the following video from the Australian Broadcasting Commission Catalyst Programme called “Gut Reaction“.

It could have a profound impact on your health and psychological well being.

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5 Tips for Creating a Stress-Free Sanctuary at Home

On those stressful days when the kids have been bickering non-stop, the boss has been crabby, and the traffic has been more jammed than usual, we might fantasize about slipping away to some remote desert island filled with peace, sunshine and plenty of tranquility.

However, with a little time, money and a few supplies, we can find our own private and renewing sanctuary right in our own home. From a rarely-used guest room that you can transform into a quiet place of meditation, to a nook under the stairs that you can use for reading and hobbies, it is possible to create a wonderful retreat that doesn’t involve flying to an uncharted isle.

Find Your Space

The first thing you need to do to create a peaceful sanctuary is to choose a space that feels comfortable and does not get much foot traffic. Avoid places like the corner of the living room or dining room because the noise level will be too high. Instead, try to work with an extra bedroom, a rarely-used den, a closet under the stairs, or even part of the attic. Take your private sanctuary to the next level by implementing an entirely new space in your home. Sunrooms are an ideal place to relax and unwind after a long day of work and taking care of the house and kids, notes Champion Home Exteriors. Plus, this space can double as a yoga or fitness room in addition to your place of zen.

Paint With Soothing Colors

Once you determine where your private at-home sanctuary will be located, the next step will be prepping the space for use. Choose a color for your relaxation space that will encourage calm and tranquil thoughts and feelings, notes Home Guides. Soothing colors like blues, light purple, beige, and medium shades of green are all outstanding choices, while bright and vivid colors like red, yellow and orange, should not be used in the space.

Keep it Clutter-Free

Clutter is the archenemy of relaxation and peace. Keep your private sanctuary as free of clutter as you can, and don’t allow other family members to store their extra books or toys in your space. By keeping the room as open and airy and clutter-free as possible, it will greatly add to your feeling of tranquility.

Add Comfy Furnishings

In order to be as comfortable as possible in your new peaceful space, consider placing an overstuffed chair in the room, as well as a side table to hold beverages and a small bookcase for books, candles, and hobby materials. Keep the furniture on the edges of the room to create a minimalist ambiance. This will give you plenty of free space to walk around and help retain its peaceful look and feel.

Add Some Tunes

While a completely quiet room can be very relaxing, this might be hard to attain in a household filled with kids or pets. To make the room as peaceful as possible, bring in a CD player or iPod and listen to some of your favorite music that is soothing to the soul. You can also purchase a small fountain for the room that will fill the space with the wonderful sound of bubbling water, or even a small fan that has a white noise setting.

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Effects of Stress on Health

Many of us lead fast paced lives full of pressure from all areas of life such as families and work and it is no wonder stress is a constant factor in our lives. Stress symptoms can have adverse effects on your health even though you might not realize it. You may think that such adverse effects are as a result of an illness when they are actually as a result of stress. Stress can have effect on your health, body, mood and behaviour.

Effects of stress on your body:

  • Headaches and migraines: Stress can cause constant and severe headaches that may not go away unless you relieve the stress. Sometimes people may think that headache that they are experiencing are from an illness but they are actually from stress

  • Tension and pain of muscles: When you are stressed out, your muscles tend to become tensed because of anxiety and sometimes fear. When you are never relaxed, the muscles become tensed

  • Sleep problems: Anyone who is stressed finds it hard to sleep because of thinking too much and constant worry and hence you stay up to think about whatever is stressing you

  • Chest pains: Stress gives you a heavy heart which may ultimately lead to chest pains. Severe pains can lead to a heart disease which is harmful to your health *Fatigue-stress works the nerves constantly leading to fatigue. If you are stressed you sometimes lack strength to carry out normal activities

  • Stomach upset: Stress leads to either eating too much or too little which may lead to upset of the stomach Effects of stress on your mood

  • Anxiety: Anyone who is stressed will always be anxious. The anxiety is caused by constant worry about whatever it is that is stressing you out

  • Restlessness: When you are anxious and worried, you will automatically experience restlessness because you will not be able to stay calm and settled * Irritability or anger-stress has an adverse effect on anger. When you are stressed you become angry easily and all the time and possibly stay angry because you are not able to control your emotions

  • Sadness and depression: Stress makes people sad and depressed until they are able to deal with whatever is stressing them

  • Lack of focus or motivation: When you are stressed, you focus more on the stress than any other thing you are doing and you lack motivation to deal with any other thing Effects of stress on your behaviour

  • Overeating and under eating: Stress comes with either an elevated or decreased appetite which may lead to obesity, diabetes or malnutrition

  • Angry outbursts: These results from constant irritability and anger. A stressed individual can use the Ehic card to get help from an anger management professional if the outbursts are too much and affecting your job or relationships with other people.

  • Social withdrawal: Someone stressed always wants to be alone and away from everyone else to avoid talking and possible outburst.

  • Drug, alcohol or tobacco use: A stressed person will resolve to using drugs, drinking too much or smoking a lot as a distraction of the stress. An Ehic card can also be used to go to a rehab and get professional help if you feel that you are addicted.

This article has been kindly supplied by Hannah Brooklyn.

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