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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.