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  • Build Your Resilience (Part 2 of 4)

    Build Your Resilience (Part 2 of 4)

    Focus on Physical Wellness

    Physical wellness plays an important role in building resilience.  Stress can weaken your immune system making you more susceptible to illness. This can negatively affect your emotional state causing you to feel overwhelmed, worried and hopeless.

    Start with the basics of routine self-care:

    • Prioritize Sleep: According to the National Sleep Foundation, we have different sleep needs at different ages. However, no matter what our age, sleep is affected when we are under stress. Older adults tend to require fewer hours at night (7 to 8 hours), but may need a nap during the day. Adults need 7 to 9 hours, teens need 8 to 10, and children need 9 to 11. It is important to maintain a consistent sleep schedule, especially during stressful times.
      • Go to bed and rise in the morning about the same time every day.
      • Turn off all screens at least 30 minutes before you get into bed. Research shows that blue light from screens interrupts the production of melatonin, the hormone that regulates your awake-sleep cycle. Melatonin signals your brain it’s time for bed by making you feel sleepy.
    • Exercise Daily: Exercise is a natural stress reliever. Exercise and other physical activity produce endorphins (chemicals in the brain that act as natural painkillers) and also improve the ability to sleep, which in turn reduces stress. Regular participation in aerobic exercise has been shown to decrease overall levels of tension, elevate and stabilize mood, improve sleep, and improve self-esteem. Psychologists studying the way exercise relieves anxiety and depression suggest:
    • a 10-minute walk may be just as good as a 45-minute workout
    • just five minutes of aerobic exercise can begin to stimulate anti-anxiety effects
    • exercise can work quickly to elevate depressed mood in many people
    • although the effects may be temporary, a brisk walk or other simple activity has been shown to provide several hours of relief, similar to taking an aspirin for a headache

    The lesson here is get up and move, go out for walks or try a livestream exercise or a Zoom yoga class!

    • Focus on Healthy Eating: If you crave salty or sweet foods when you’re under stress, you’re not alone. Many people want comfort food in times of crisis; but balanced, healthy eating is best for your physical health.
      • plan ahead for a steady rotation of nutritious meals
      • smaller meals throughout the day are sometimes better than 2-3 large meals
      • limit sugar and caffeine intake
    • Maintain Hydration: Believe it or not, dehydration can worsen  symptoms of stress. Be sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day.  Aim for 8 glasses (64oz.) per day.

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