Do you feel bloated, exhausted and sluggish with the abundance of holiday foods, special events and sugar everywhere?
Here are five tips to reduce bloat and stress.
Focus on one each week to build sustainable habits. This can help you improve your physical wellbeing and brain health.
Drink 8 – 10 glasses of clean, filtered water a day to help your body flush out. Water is the primary component of all your body fluids. It is involved in almost every bodily function: circulation, digestion, absorption, and elimination of wastes. It carries electrolytes – mineral salts that help convey electrical currents in your body. Water is an important detoxifier. It helps clean your body through your skin and kidneys.
Eat a Nutrient-Dense Salad Every Day
Leafy greens are high in nutrients and low in calories. They are loaded with vitamins, minerals, fiber, phytochemicals, and good carbohydrates. Anti-inflammatory and antioxidant green and cruciferous vegetables help your body’s natural detoxification process and help protect you from disease. In addition, they:
- Reduce inflammation
- Improve your immune system’s resistance to viral and bacterial infection
- Enhance your defenses against destructive toxins
- Help to renew/regenerate your cells
- Support healthy gut bacteria
- Remove carcinogenic compounds from your body
To make a nutrient-dense salad, add:
- Rainbow vegetables
- Nuts or seeds (chia, pumpkin, sunflower)
- Healthy fats: canned salmon or sardines, avocado, hummus
Make your own salad dressing tossing extra-virgin olive oil, lemon juice or apple cider vinegar, salt and pepper.
Stress activates your sympathetic nervous system. In response, stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline surge in your body. Mindful, deep breathing triggers a parasympathetic nerve response. It is a way of quickly flipping the switch from high to low alert in seconds and calms your body on many levels.
The parasympathetic response changes your physical and emotional responses to stress and is characterized by
- Slower breathing
- Slower heartbeat
- Muscle relaxation
- Decrease in blood pressure
- Reduced inflammation
Mindful breathing also benefits your lymphatic system – a key part of your immune system. The deeper you breathe, the more active your lymph system is. Deep breathing and physical movement pushes lymphatic fluid around your body.
This way it delivers nutrients and collects cellular waste. And also helps to destroy pathogens and other harmful organisms.
Here is a basic deep breathing exercise.
- Sit comfortably in a chair or on the floor
- Relax your body. Release the tension in your neck and shoulders
- Inhale through your nose for a long as you can
- Feel your diaphragm and abdomen rise
- When you think you’ve filled up your lungs, sip in a little more air
- Slowly exhale to the count of twenty
- Push all the air out of your lungs
- Repeat 5 times
Move Your Body
Let go of the binary idea that you are either exercising, or not exercising. We are literally born to move. Human life has become so structured that it is easy to avoid movement.
Add movement each day to offset stress and bring balance back to your nervous system.
Use everyday actions — as both a mindfulness and a movement practice. For example, when you sweep the floor, sweep with your whole body. When you reach for something on the top shelf, use it as an opportunity stretch from your feet on the floor through the reach of your fingertips.
Take a walk. When you walk, swing your arms and smile. You can boost your mood just by walking in nature, even in urban nature.
Breathe fully and deeply throughout the day. Let breath be its own kind of
Honor Sleep Time
Sleep is essential for physical and mental health. Sleep is not a state of inactivity. It impacts every system in your body. Sleep deprivation can have serious consequences, including inflammation and depression.
Healthy, consistent sleep habits are essential to hormonal balance: affecting hunger, digestion, stress, cellular recover. Prioritize a pre-midnight bedtime. The hours of sleep before midnight are the most rejuvenating of the night. Ideally head for bed by 10 pm, to capture the slow-wave sleep that occurs the early part of the night.
Creating a bedtime ritual is a powerful self-care practice and an investment in your physical and mental health. Unplug to recharge. Disconnect from digital devices at least 30 minutes before sleep.
Take a warm bath with Epsom salts for the calming effects of magnesium.
Do some deep breathing exercises when you lay down in bed.