Money, work, family, and health; these are the four sources of inspiration for many people’s New Year’s resolutions. These are also the four most significant sources of stress. Last year, the American Psychological Association released a study highlighting the impact of these four stressors on the delicate ecosystem that is our body. Not only is stress having a negative biological effect on our bodies, but nearly one in five Americans say that they have either considered skipping or skipped going to the doctor in the past year when they needed health care because of financial concerns, which could stem from employment troubles, family life, and more. Of particular concern, stress levels in millennials are far above average meaning the population is experiencing negative side effects of stress at a younger age, setting their bodies up for a tough journey ahead.
Instead of waiting to have to schedule a doctor’s appointment, or self-medicating, we’ve included a list of tactics that go straight to the source of your stress to prevent burnout before it causes irreparable damage. With this combination of proactive strategies paired with tools for mental and physical recovery and recharging, you’ll be well on your way to meeting your goals (in a healthy way) in 2016.
Plan Your Meals
Could you list ‘takeout ordering’ on your resume? We know the feeling. While a valuable skill in a pinch, ordering to your door gets expensive and unhealthy (quick). Trust us when we say getting well-acquainted with your crockpot will have it’s advantages. Click here for some great crockpot recipes that will make your grandma blush. Meal prep isn’t just about getting down to business in the kitchen — it’s about portioning, responsible grocery shopping, and time management. Check out Meal Prep 101 for Beginners by Kayla Itsines for all of the tips and tricks. She even has some tasty recipes, too!
Get a Budget
Remember that time you decided to go on that spur of the moment vacation, or bought that perfect designer handbag, and then remembered that tiny little detail of paying rent on the first of the month? We’ve all been there. While eating ramen noodles for two weeks straight might seem like the best solution, there is a better way — the ‘B’ word. A budget! With the plethora of tools out there, managing your money has never been easier. We’re big fans of YNAB, Mint, and BillGuard. The best part? All of these tools come in the form of mobile apps. We’d like to think that we know a few things about the value of having what you need on-the-go.
Turn Off the Screens
According to a recent article in Harvard Health, artificial light is tampering with our circadian rhythm, better know as our biological clock. The article goes on to say, “Blue wavelengths — which are beneficial during daylight hours because they boost attention, reaction times, and mood—seem to be the most disruptive at night. And the proliferation of electronics with screens, as well as energy-efficient lighting, is increasing our exposure to blue wavelengths, especially after sundown.” Some solutions include using dim red lights, exposing yourself to lots of bright light during the day, and staying away from blue light 2-3 hours before bed. A few less hours in front of your computer, TV, or tablet mean more time for family, and better sleep. Can’t live without your screens? Consider a blue light filter.
Practice Self-Care in the Workplace
Whether you like to get your blood pumping or rest your mind and step away from your work, there are all kinds of practices you can do in the workplace to calm your thoughts and body. For those of you who like to activate your whole body, yoga can be a powerful tool. Don’t worry, you won’t have to do downward dog next to your co-workers desk, in fact, you can practice right from your chair. Check out some moves you can do at your desk here. Looking to settle a dispute or navigate a tough conversation at work? Consider meditation. ACAS, a UK company best known for preventing strikes, published a study in February 2013 outlining how meditation can be used as a tool in conflict resolution. Read the full version here.
Try an Integrative Approach
Instead of waiting until your levels of stress grow to be unbearable, try holistic practices at home or on-the-go daily or as needed. Grab a cup of tea, listen to soothing music, or enjoy scents that are clinically proven to reduce stress. Take advantage of the cooling properties of peppermint, which help relieve tension headache pain and can assist with stress relief. Looking to incorporate all of your five senses? Luckily, we have developed a mobile app, and a line of specially-formulated complementary products, that can help you experience wellness on the go. Be sure to take these practices with you to the office, on vacation, or even home to share with your family. The more time spent caring for yourself on a regular basis, the less likely you will be to pay the price in time, money, and your health in the future.