As a medical professional, Brandy Zwicker as seen the toll stress can have on the body. Here are some of her favorite ways to combat stress and find some inner peace.
Life is full of ups and downs, and sometimes, overwhelming. For many Americans, the stress of working full time, managing a household, and other personal factors can play a significant role in stress levels, which hinders health, energy, brain function, physical performance and more.
“At one point or another, we will feel the impact of stress on our body,” said Brandy Zwicker, a 10-year registered nurse. “What matters most is to realize these stress levels in the moment, and then actively manage our response as quickly as possible.”
Here are Brandy’s top five ways of combating stress.
“My number one suggestion in lowering stress is to get off of stimulants, or at least, lessen them,” said Brandy. “Stimulants such as caffeine can actually contribute to an increase in anxiety, and worse yet, give you an exhausting crash later, which will only add to your frustration and stress.”
As her second suggestion, Brandy recommends getting more sleep.
“Laying off the caffeine will help, but if you have trouble sleeping, focus on making time for a relaxed evening,” said Brandy. “This means no late-night work emails. Make time to read, watch an episode of your favorite show, put together a puzzle, color with your kids. If this all sounds a little boring to you, good! The goal is to turn your attention from those daily stressors to something completely distracting.”
Brandy continued, “Next, take some things off your plate. In modern society, we are always doing more. More activities to take the kids to, more work to take home, more appointments. Either practice saying no or ask for help. You are not alone and being stressed 100% of the time is not the same as living a successful, fulfilling life. Less is more”
“That leads me to my next strategy, mindfulness,” said Brandy Zwicker. “Mindfulness, meditation, taking a moment to be alone without the noise is not new-age hocus pocus. It is essential to becoming more equipped to handle stressful moments, to lowering cortisol levels and increasing dopamine. I highly recommend learning more about this practice and integrating it into your daily life in a way that suits you best.”
As her final suggestion, Brandy recommends getting some exercise.
“Stress induces a fight or flight response, which in either case, tells our brain to get moving!” said Brandy. “Exercise is a great way to shake out those excess stress hormones, and in turn, increase endorphins and dopamine for a more relaxed, happy state. Any type of physical activity will help–a walk, bike ride, crunches, push-ups. Bonus points if you can get outside and be around some nature.”
Want to read more health tips? Click here for Brandy Zwicker’s blog.
Brandy Zwicker is a Bachelor of Science (BSN) Registered Nurse with ten years of nursing experience. Brandy has five children and enjoys outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, camping, and other outdoor fitness opportunities. She enjoys running, spin cycle, yoga, weight training, basketball, and indoor rock climbing.