Why Relaxation Should Be a Regular Part of Your Routine

 In Arizona Heart Foundation Blog, Stress Management

Stress is a normal part of our lives. We forget appointments, get stuck in traffic, and miss deadlines. A little bit of stress from time to time is expected, in fact, sometimes it is useful for getting us motivated. But constant levels of stress can be detrimental to different parts and systems of the body, taking a negative toll on health. Reserving a little extra time for yourself in the evenings or working short breaks into your day to do something you like could be helping your mental and physical health!

When you’re stressed out it can be tempting to run through the drive-thru or grab a frozen meal and heat it up to save time. Convenience foods are just that, convenient. But in the long run these foods are harmful for your health as they are often high in calories, cholesterol, and saturated fats. Eating foods like these can be bad for the heart, causing conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure. They’re also expensive! If you don’t have time to cook during the week, try meal prepping some of your food in advance to take the load off.

Have you ever noticed that you might be getting sick at the most inconvenient times? Right before a deadline or special event? If your body is experiencing high levels of emotional stress for weeks or even months at a time your immune system suffers the consequences. When we encounter stress the brain sends signals to the endocrine system that has us on high-alert, but also reduces our immunity significantly. So whether you’re planning a wedding or a big presentation, set aside time for yourself to unwind and decompress to avoid getting sick for the big day.

stressed woman rubbing her sore shoulder

You wouldn’t think it, but even your oral health can be negatively affected by stress! The American Dental Association doesn’t necessarily consider teeth grinding a dangerous disorder, but it can cause unpleasant jaw aches, headaches, and even permanent damage to the teeth. When stressed it might also be easy to forget to brush and floss twice a day which can cause cavities. The last thing anybody wants when stressed is to have to pack in a trip to the dentist, so remember to take care of yourself!

Stress management doesn’t need to be a complex, time-consuming task. Simple actions can influence your mindset. Try turning off your phone and disconnecting yourself from TV and news for even just a short amount of time. Go on a walk without bringing your phone and focus on noticing your surroundings that you might not typically see. Dedicate time to a favorite hobby, take a relaxing bath, or read a book. Simply make sure to set aside time to make sure you are doing something you like to do.

If you don’t have extra time to fit activities into your schedule, breathing exercises can be done anywhere and are incredibly beneficial for alleviating stress as well. Breathing exercises alone can help reduce increased heart rate and fast breathing. When you breathe deeply it tells the brain that you need to relax which will send the message throughout the rest of your body. There are many different types of breathing exercises you can do to ward off stress, check out this link for some examples.

Stress happens everyday in our lives, so make sure relaxation happens everyday too.

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Group picture of ultrasound students with Dr. Paul Riesenman