Embracing a Natural Approach to Stress Management - A How To Guide

Embracing a Natural Approach to Stress Management - A How To Guide

7 minute read

Written by: Emma Catlow, Holistic Health and Nutrition Coach

Stress is pretty much an inevitable part of all of our lives at some point or another!. Whether it's work stress, family drama, or unexpected life events, we all go through periods of stress at some point.

The thing is, how we manage stress can hugely impact our overall health and well-being. There is a famous quote by Greek Stoic Philosopher Epictetus which says “It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.” This could not ring truer! It’s so easy for us to write off life’s curveballs as bad luck and get into a victim mentality, but the way we transmute those negative life experiences is where the magic really happens, and this is fully within our power.

Read on to find out from Holistic Health & Nutrition Coach, Emma, at EmPower Healing why natural stress management is so important and learn some easy-to-implement strategies you can start today….

Why Natural Stress Management is Key

1. Reduces dependency on medication: Of course in certain scenarios many people turn to medication to manage stress, which can lead to dependency and unwanted side effects. Natural methods generally offer a safer alternative to this.
2. Supports overall health: Natural stress relief techniques also contribute to better physical and mental health overall. For instance, exercise not only reduces stress but also improves cardiovascular health, lung health and gut health to name just a few!
3. Long-term benefits: Unlike other options that may provide temporary relief, natural stress management techniques can foster long-lasting resilience against stress.
4. Cost-effective: Natural stress management methods like meditation, exercise, and a nutrient-dense diet are generally low-cost or free, making them accessible to everyone.

Natural Stress Management Techniques

1. Mindful Breathing & Breathwork

One of the easiest ways to manage stress is through mindful, conscious breathing. This technique involves focusing on your breath to calm your mind and body. Here’s how to do it:

Find a quiet place to sit or lie down.
Close your eyes and take a deep breath in through your nose, allowing your belly to expand.
Slowly exhale through your mouth, releasing any tension.
Repeat this process for 5-10 minutes.

Mindful breathing helps to quickly lower cortisol levels, (AKA the body's main stress hormone), promotes relaxation, and…bonus: helps improve lung and lymphatic system health too!

2. Physical Exercise

Regular physical activity is a powerful stress relief option. Exercise increases the production of endorphins, (one of the body’s ‘happy hormones’ 😊).
Here are my two favourite exercises for stress management:

Walking: A little walk in nature can do wonders for your mood and stress levels.
Yoga: Combines physical movement with deep breathing and meditation, offering the perfect combo for stress management. I recently discovered restorative yoga, which is incredible for healing the nervous system and releasing tension and trauma in the body.

3. Healthy Eating & Superfoods

What you eat can affect your stress levels. A balanced diet full of all the key nutrients helps stabilise your mood and energy levels. Focus on:

Whole Foods: A diet primarily based around fruits and vegetables is going to provide your body with all the antioxidants, vitamins and minerals it needs to function optimally
Hydration: Drink plenty of water throughout the day (bonus points for distilled!)
Limiting caffeine, sugar and processed foods: These can increase anxiety and disrupt sleep, exacerbating stress. Processed foods and sugar can also disrupt the gut bacteria balance which can further drive inflammation and internal stress in the body.
Consider incorporating stress-relieving foods such as nuts, seeds, and leafy greens into your diet.
Try out some superfoods for stress: Superfoods in general are great for reducing the body’s stress response by providing all the goodness and nutrients it needs to function at its best, some superstars for this are our sea moss gel, maca root powder and lion’s mane powder. Lion’s mane in particular is an incredible medicinal mushroom for stress (read more about its benefits for mental health here).
4. Supercharge Your Sleep

Sleep is absolutely key for stress management, and just… life! Lack of sleep can increase stress levels and impair your ability to cope with day to day stressors. Here are some top tips for better sleep:

Repetition is key: Our bodies love a repeat schedule! Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day to keep your body clock on point.
A dose of daily sunlight: Speaking of the body clock, getting 20-30 mins of sunlight each day can be a gamechanger for improving sleep. Sunlight helps reset our bodies circadian rhythm (sleep/wake cycle).
Create a relaxing environment: Keep your bedroom dark, quiet, and cool with minimal distractions.
Limit screen time: Avoid screens at least an hour before bedtime.
Get your wind-down routine in check: Along with avoiding screens before bedtime, doing some other things to get your body into relaxation mode can be great for stress levels - have a cup of our chaga tea before bed, make a sea moss face mask, and snuggle up with a good book to get that cortisol down and your snooze on.

5. Social Connections

Strong social support can significantly reduce stress. Spending time with friends and family provides emotional support and a sense of belonging. Here’s some ways to nurture your social connections:

Regular meetups: Life can get busy and before you know it you haven’t seen your mum or your bestie for a month! Schedule regular breakfast dates or an exercise class with your nearest and dearest.
Join clubs or groups: Engage in activities that interest you and meet like-minded people, bonus points if it’s a volunteering activity to get that rewarding boost and give back to the community.
Talk it out: “A problem shared is a problem solved” Share your feelings and experiences with trusted friends or a therapist.
6. Mindfulness and Meditation

Practising mindfulness and meditation helps you stay present and reduce the tendency to ruminate on stressful thoughts. YouTube has endless meditations available for every different need, for free!

To sum it up…

Incorporating natural stress management techniques into your daily routine can lead to an overall healthier, more balanced life. These methods mentioned above not only help manage stress effectively but also promote overall well-being.

Start with small changes, and gradually build up to your own mental health toolbox that you can go to and select your most needed tool at the time. Remember, taking care of your mental health is just as important as your physical health, and natural methods can provide a holistic approach to achieving both.

By embracing these natural stress management techniques and adding our superfoods into your life, you empower yourself to handle whatever life throws at you with greater ease and resilience. So, take a big deep breath, go for a little nature walk, and enjoy the journey to a stress-free life :)

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