Alcohol can feel like your best friend during stressful periods – I get it. It really can take the edge off. However, it can actually make things worse for your body by disrupting sleep, increasing anxiety and creating a nasty hangover that makes sticking to healthy choices much harder (which in itself is stressful!)
Here are some simple, nutritionist-approved ways to relax your mind, no vino required.
1. Use your weekends to relax and rest your body. Head to a yoga class and fresh coconut or Kombucha with a girlfriend instead of meeting for a drink.
2. Set your social media boundaries. Social media increases stress. My rule is to switch everything off by 8pm. Choose your own boundaries – ones that work for you – and stick to them. This dramatically improves sleep.
3. Self-care day. Sunday is my day just to sleep in, cook delicious food, leave emails and social media and do something special for myself. Try it – this can really help you to de-stress before a busy week.
4. Choose early nights with a good movie or book when you can – this immediately reduces stress and the need to drink!
5. Create a beautiful night-time routine – light a candle, have a lavender oil bath and watch your favourite TV show.
6. Reduce your caffeine intake – sorry! We know coffee can increase stress and anxiety. The JSHealth rule is one coffee a day, before 10 am. Enjoy herbal teas or a dandelion chai with almond milk and cinnamon instead.
7. Taking Magnesium powder at night is great for the nervous system, which helps to lower stress and improve sleep. Talk to your trusted healthcare practitioner about this!
8. Swap 1-2 of your intense exercise sessions with yoga, Pilates or a walk in nature. Intense exercise and the pressure to exercise can be stressful on the body.
Jessica Sepel is one of the founding members of the Women’s Health Fitfluential Network. Jess believes in inspiring us to “nourish our bodies rather than punish them […] I believe our diet culture has caused women to have a complex relationship with food and their bodies."