A demanding work and home life can take a physical and mental toll if you don’t make self-care a priority. While we can’t always change external stressors such as kids, jobs and travel, we can take simple measures proven to make us calmer, less reactive and better equipped to manage the constant demands vying for our time and attention. As someone with a busy schedule, I’ve learned the hard way that even on the go, you need to slow down, rest and purposefully unwind to prevent burnout. But it is possible to be a high-achieving Type A and maintain your inner Zen. Here are 3 simple ways to cultivate balance and optimal health for a more tranquil you.
Swap out your energy drink for green tea. Researchers have shown that green tea not only gives a steady energy boost, but also decreases stress. In a study of 2,774 people in Japan living with high levels of psychological stress, it was found that those who drank 5 or more cups of green tea daily exhibited fewer stress symptoms. Green tea also helps reduce blood pressure, which affects every organ in our bodies. Researchers at Loma Linda University showed in a study of 1,507 people that those who drank half a cup per day of green or oolong tea were 46% less likely to develop high blood pressure than non-tea drinkers. The risk reduction increased to 65% for those who drank two and a half cups of tea or more per day. And while you can’t change the constant influx of external stressors coming your way, adding a daily cup of green tea may help things feel less stressful, thus paving the way for your inner Zen.
Are you spending hours behind a computer screen, on the phone, or on the road with little or no break? Make time to get outside for fresh air and sunshine. You’ll get a healthy dose of vitamin D, a critical cancer-fighter, when the sun hits your skin. Remarkably about 50% of the world’s population is deficient in this important hormone linked to good health and reduced risk of many chronic diseases. Being outside in the sunlight will reset your mood, make you feel more tranquil, and equip you to resume high demands. A study conducted in Victoria, Australia, also showed that just being in contact with nature can improve overall mental health and wellbeing. So make it a point to go outdoors everyday.
The 24/7 cycle of news and controversy barraging us on television and through our mobile devices is bad news for your health. Political turmoil in particular makes it seem like there is no escape from the media exposure all around us. This past fall, the term ‘election stress disorder’ was coined to describe feeling overwhelmed by nonstop election news. Anxiety, pessimism, and argumentative stress, which can be connected to our news consumption habits, wreak havoc on both our mental and physical health. Take a break from the endless bombardment of news and limit your exposure to social media too. Make your own better health the good news you need.
We all have an inner Zen that’s waiting to come out. Don’t wait for a burnout to make these small changes. You will feel calmer, less reactive and better able to handle the myriad of external stressors coming your way on a daily basis.
Originally published at medium.com