are you stressed or just need desserts?

10 ways to deal with stress without eating

April is Stress Awareness Month and also IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) Awareness Month. A coincidence? I think not. Many people turn to food or other vices to get them through times of stress, often wreaking havoc on the body and leaving folks feeling even more stressed out. It’s probably not a big surprise that STRESSED is just DESSERTS spelled backwards! Here are 10 tips on managing stress that might help turn that frown upside down.

  1. Avoid uppers and downers: Caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine are not your friends when you want to avoid stress. Alcohol in small amounts can rev you up instead of mellow you out, and we know caffeine and nicotine can contribute to a sense of stress.
  2. Move it: As Elle Woods reminded us in “Legally Blonde,” “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy.” She may have been a ditz, but she is spot on here.
  3. Hit the sack: Lack of sleep can up the stress factor, so making sleep a priority may be the ticket.
  4. Relax man (or woman): Even the Apple watch tells people to breathe, take some time for meditation or yoga, or just focus on your breathing for a few minutes.
  5. Talk about it: Having someone to talk to really makes a difference. Relay what is bothering you to a trusted friend.
  6. Write it down: Similar to talking, but no one has to hear it. Write it down and move on.
  7. Be the man/woman: Situations without someone to take charge are super stressful. If you are in charge, you determine how things will work out.
  8. Chunk it: Well, not like throw it out, but more like break up big tasks into manageable chunks that you can check off your list as you go. Feeling like you have accomplished something really relieves stress.
  9. Nope, nah, negative, nada: Say NO. The world will not fall apart if you are not doing a million things at once. Look around at those people who never volunteer to be the home room parent or coach. Do they seem stressed?
  10. Keep away: If you are sick, stay home and take care of yourself. Let your body recover and your mind will, too.