If there’s anything that 2020 has taught us all is to expect the unexpected. 

The pandemic that happened is the first of our generation but isn’t unexpected. It just felt like a black swan event since it wasn’t something on most people’s radars. 

A black swan event is defined as having three components, an unpredicted event with catastrophic results that seem inevitable in hindsight. 

The unknown cause and duration have led to several disruptions in our daily lives, from work, school, and play, but one area that has been impacted the most is our physical and mental health. 

Stress is an essential stimulus for us to endure and to overcome.

Biologically we are designed to address stress in two ways, fight it or flight from it. 

Stress causes the body to flood the body with adrenaline, raise heart rate, increase blood pressure, and burn sugars if there’s a need for heightened focus, increased power, and short-burst energy.

Sustained over time stress in the body can build up and lead to serious health issues, and finding ways to minimize stress in your life is crucial. 

Change Your Behaviors

Stress can arise from external factors like work, school, family, or internal pressure that we put on ourselves, such as “how will I do…,” or “Am I good enough for…?” 

These stressors can wear you down, make you feel overwhelmed, as well as long-term health ramifications.

The goal then is to change your perception of the causes of your stress and find mechanisms to adapt your behaviors in healthier ways. 

Changing your behaviors starts with changing your perception. 

First, ask yourself what is the problem that is causing you stress and how do you currently work through it?  

Next, think about alternative ways to change your behavior. Bad habits can be tricky to change, but research shows that rethinking your past actions and focusing on positive thinking about changing your habits is one of the most effective tools at your disposal. 

Get More Sleep

One of the best ways to improve your mood, have more energy, and be able to think about alternative ways to tackle your problems is to get more sleep. I know it’s easier said than done but finding a way to get 8 hours of quality sleep a night can do wonders for your body. 

To get better sleep, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has a few suggestions: 

  • Set Your Sleep Schedule: Go to bed each night at the same time and wake up at the same time, even on weekends and holidays. 
  • Establish A Relaxation Routine: Create a habit of relaxation before heading to bed. The idea is to get the brain to achieve a calm sense before going to bed. 
  • Create A Sleeping Environment: Your room should be dark, comfortable, and quiet.
    Eliminate Electronic Devices; Distractions including TVs, phones, and tablets stimulate the brain, so avoid those types of devices before going to sleep. 
  • Don’t Eat Or Drink: Avoid meals, caffeine, and alcohol before trying to sleep. 
  • Exercise During The Day: Exercise helps strengthen the cardiovascular system, burn excess energy, and regulates moods at different times of the day. By exercising during the day, you’ll be able to relax quicker and more comfortably at night. 

Eat Better

What you eat is vitally important as a way to improve your mood, boost your health, and eliminate stress. Like a computer program, bad input equals bad output, and your body is the same. 

If you are continually eating high fat, high sugary foods, your body will spend a lot of its time trying to digest and break those foods down. 

The lack of nutrients and the unneeded calories will overstimulate your body, make it more difficult for you to relax and have a sense of being overwhelmed. Eating better makes your body perform better. 

Supplement Your Diet

Part of eating better ensures you’re getting the proper amount of nutrients needed. Sometimes we need to supplement our diet with vitamins, minerals, and other supplements specific to individual nutritional needs. 

From zinc and potassium supplements and those compounds of vitamin D, K2, and COQ-10 found in synergy D3, that enhances energy, mental focus, and more. 

How we handle stress is an important lesson to take from the past year, there will always be hurdles and obstacles in our lives, how we adapt to them and minimize stress in our lives is crucial for healthier living.