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Stress can be a tricky topic to address – mainly because everyone interprets it in their own way. While some people experience physical manifestations of stress, such as an upset stomach, headache, or change in appetite, other people can suffer more internally with anxious thoughts. And yet, there are those times when stress can be a good thing. A healthy amount of stress can help you to excel on the job or come to the rescue when you’re needed in times of crisis. Even so, the conversations around stress seem to have grown right alongside its prevalence in Western society.
In a report titled, “Stress in America: Playing with our Health,” released by the American Institute of Stress in 2015, work and money were reported as the top sources of stress – and the reported stress was shown to impact participants’ nutrition and eating habits, sleep patterns, and relationships.
While stress management takes a long-term commitment, the best way to cope with stress is to make self-care a priority. Here are some strategies worth trying.
While many of us are all-too-familiar with that hangry feeling, dips in our blood sugar can also induce anxiety. If you’ve skipped a meal or snack, your body may cope by releasing the stress hormone epinephrine, essentially telling your brain, “feed me!” One of the best ways to combat any hangry-ness and the associated irritability is to eat balanced meals and snacks every few hours. Start with breakfast, and we’re not just talking about coffee. While coffee can help with giving you a jolt of energy in the morning and has also been linked to health benefits when enjoyed in moderation, too much caffeine can leave you feeling irritable, anxious, and just plain stressed out. Enjoy your cup of morning Joe with one of these balanced smoothie options.
Blueberry Spinach Ginger Date: Get ready to tackle the day with this powerhouse smoothie, packed with a line-up of all-star ingredients including frozen blueberries, spinach, flax seeds, and cinnamon.
Avocado Yogurt Champion: With only five ingredients, this smoothie is a cinch to whip up during your busy week. If you eat dairy, feel free to swap the coconut yogurt for regular yogurt or leave as is!
Do you find that you’re more stressed than usual? How do you cope?
McKenzie is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, nutrition writer and communicator, who truly loves meeting and connecting with people. Grounded in science with an integrative and holistic approach, she aims to make the world a healthier, happier place by helping people feel their best from the inside out and encouraging others to restore a judgment-free relationship with food. McKenzie has been a contributing editor for the award-winning publicationEnvironmental Nutrition and her numerous articles, nutrition tips, and recipes can be found in publications such as The Chicago Tribune, Today’s Dietitian, Food and Nutrition Magazine, and more.
McKenzie graduated magna cum laude from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo with a degree in Nutrition and completed her dietetic internship at Bastyr University in Seattle. She is a member of the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and a member of the dietetic practice group, Dietitians in Integrative and Functional Medicine. When she’s not dishing out nutrition tidbits, you can find McKenzie cooking in her sunny kitchen, hiking along with her favorite Southern California trails, or packing her bags and heading out for her next adventure.