Nutrition....the first step in stress management

Posted on March 5, 2015

 

March in National Nutrition Month!!  In support of that I thought this was the perfect time to get back on the wagon and to help you too as well. 

Whether you are a caretaker, the taken care of, or just a person who has HAD IT, there are ways to start feeling better.  I promise you.  One of the most important lessons to learn is Self-care.  It’s not uncommon for someone helping a family member with health concerns to forget his or her personal health needs. When you do not give yourself a break, stress can creep in and affect you emotionally and physically.

Try to keep a healthy balance—so you can do your best for the person in your care.

Stress and your body

Have you ever had an upset stomach? Or headaches? Or back pain? If there is no physical explanation, these feelings may be the result of stress. And when stress does not let up, it can affect eating habits too. Some people may crave certain types of comfort food to boost their mood, while others eat very little. Often the over-eater is recognized because we all know about “comfort food.”  I always joked that I was “an emotional starver.”  Less recognized but no less damaging to your body or emotional wellness. 

Good nutrition can help reduce stress

Experts advise that eating healthy foods can help reduce stress for caregivers. Healthy food choices supply your body with vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that can keep you energized and strong. Regular meal breaks also can provide some personal time to enjoy good food with friends or family. And that can go a long way toward reducing stress.

Healthy choices you can make

  • Good nutrition does not have to mean making big changes to your diet all at once. You can take it in small steps. You might want to start by reading food labels when you’re shopping—to help you make healthier choices.  One example:  Cut out artificial sweeteners and choose unsweetened ice tea or cucumber water.
  • Build good habits. Whether you’re cooking at home or eating out, try to include foods low in saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol. Get enough fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and fiber-rich foods. Go for lean meats, poultry, and fish— all in sensible portions. And cut back on salt.
  • Keep good nutrition a priority. Why not try an app?  It can help you with tasty, healthy ideas for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It’s easy and fun.
  • You can help reduce stress with good nutrition. Your healthier eating habits also may set a good example for the person you’re caring for to follow.
  • Go for a walk.

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