How You Might Be Sabotaging Your Efforts to De-Stress

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There are many things in life that can add to our stress levels, from work to family to the daily commute. A little stress can be good, but too much is a bad thing. Chronic high levels of stress can be damaging to your body and lead to a variety of health problems including high cholesterol and heart disease. One of the biggest challenges is acknowledging the problem and figuring out the source of your stress.

The problem is, even when you get started on removing stress from your life, sometimes old habits can get in the way of real change. Here are a few ways to keep your de-stress efforts on track.

You Started Drinking More Fluids

Staying well hydrated is an important part of keeping your body and brain functioning smoothly. The problem is some fluids are better than others. Juices and soft drinks are high in sugar, which can spike your blood sugar. These spikes lead to a huge insulin release, which drops your blood sugar and forces your body to release stress hormones. Try some tea instead, which is great for cutting your stress and adding flavor to fluids.

You’re Trying to Sleep Better

Getting a solid seven to eight hours of good-quality sleep is essential to cutting your stress levels. But it’s not just a question of going to bed on time. What you do before you go to bed is just as important as the hour you hit the sack. Dim your lights and turn off the electronics at least an hour before bed. These lights can mess with your circadian rhythms and make your body feel like it’s daytime. As a result, you lie in bed awake for a long time before you can get to sleep even if you go to bed on time.

You’re Trying to Clear Your To-Do List

Getting things done that have been weighing on your mind is a great way to drop some mental baggage. Sometimes taking on too much at once, though, can be more stressful than having a full list. Try setting one or two small goals at a time rather than several all at once. Another strategy is to clear out the easy tasks before tackling some of the harder ones.

You’ve Decided to Treat Yourself

Treating yourself is a great way to bring down your stress levels, but there are good and bad ways to do it. Choosing to reach for comfort food or staying up late to watch a movie could have the opposite effect than the one you intended. Instead, try spending a day on a 24-hour stress cleanse to set up some good stress control habits. When you’re all finished, run yourself a warm Epsom bath to rejuvenate tired muscles and fight any residual inflammation.

Related: Amazing Uses for Epsom Salt