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Apparently, stress is contagious – not in an airborne bacteria or virus kind of way but more like a nasty trend that catches on if you’re surrounded by it. What’s even more stressful is that second-hand stress is supposedly on the rise! So, unless you’re planning to relocate to a deserted island, avoiding stressed out people – at work, at home, in the queue at the supermarket – is almost impossible.

To help you be the calming influence wherever you are and whoever you’re with, here are five stress relievers for an instant fix.

  1. Swap coffee or regular tea for green tea. While you’ll still get a caffeine kick, green tea also contains a calming substance called theanine, which can make you more alert without feeling wired.
  2. Eat three meals a day and never skip breakfast. This helps you keep your blood sugar even. Blood sugar dips either from not eating or as a rebound after eating something too sweet or starchy. This triggers adrenalin release which leads to stress.
  3. Eat protein with every meal – for example, eggs, yoghurt, or smoked salmon with your breakfast; and meat, fish, dairy foods, soya or grains combined with pulses for your lunch and supper.
  4. Snack pre-emptively – if you know you have an energy dip before lunch or around 4pm, have a snack mid-morning and again mid-afternoon. Avoid sugar-loaded treats and instead opt for energy-sustaining fresh fruit and nuts, an oat-cake with some cheese, nut butter, patè or hummus or natural yoghurt with berries.
  5. If you sleep badly, avoid any caffeine after midday and alcohol in the evening, adopt a relaxing bedtime routine by soaking in a warm bath with lavender or Epsom salts.