Q: My corporate job can be stressful. I know that can take a tole on my health inside and out. My personal trainer warned me that too much stress can cause weight gain and lower my immune system. Are there ways I can de-stress to prevent this?
A: Yes! Stress can take a tole on the body. We are designed for a "fight or flight" response, but not well for emotional daily stress. You can form healthy habits to help keep stress levels low. Quit the cigarettes and limit alcohol and caffeine. Make sure you get 6-8hrs of sleep daily to replenish the body, snack throughout the day to keep your metabolism going, and engage in some form of physical activity you enjoy for at least 30 minutes.
Beyond those basics, take time to talk and spend time with family, pets and friends. Plan vacation days off (especially if you get paid time off) ahead of time to allow for breaks in your schedule. Make time to attend a sporting event, concert, or play. Walk the mall with a friend, have a spa day alone, or date night in with your spouse. Remember to laugh by watching a TV show or reading a comic strip. Take time to slow down and appreciate the small things in life by keeping a gratitude journal or enjoying your morning cup of tea. Finally, volunteer time in your community by helping out at church or making dinner for an elderly neighbor. Having a life outside of the stressful work environment can give you the balance your body needs.