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Make 2019 Your Best Year Ever 10 Tips to Help You Manage Your Stress, Sleep Better and Be Healthier
January 10, 2019
The beginning of a new year means a fresh start. It is an opportunity to tackle new projects, set new goals and find new opportunities to get and stay healthy – including reducing the amount of stress in your life. But why does stress play such an important role in our health? There are a number of reasons, according to Registered Dietitian, Kay MacInnis with Providence Health.
“Stress can cause depression or anxiety, increased blood pressure and weight gain, and can even lead to heart disease, among other detriments to your health,” MacInnis says. “And while some level of stress is inevitable and can even be positive, it’s essential that we learn how to manage stress to maintain our physical and mental health, and protect our overall well-being.”
Stress, which is your body’s response to any demand or change, can come from a variety of sources, both positive and negative. It can be short-term or long-term and can present itself in a variety of ways.
“It’s important to identify the “stressors” in your life – those events or situations that cause you stress – and recognize how your body responds,” she says. “If you are aware of these factors, you can learn to manage your stress more effectively, which can help you sleep better and fight illness, among other health benefits.”
This year, consider improving your approach to stress management with these 10 helpful tips:
- Be organized. Prioritize your to-do lists and plan out your time, being realistic about how long tasks will take to complete.
- Be flexible. Planning can help prevent stress, but so can being ready to adapt when things don’t go quite as planned.
- Be prepared. If you know a stressful event is on the horizon, think through the situation and your options for responding.
- Breathe. Make it a habit to take moments to breathe deeply, stretch your muscles and relax. Relaxing the body and mind can do a world of good.
- Exercise. Incorporating physical activity into your daily routine can help improve your mood and prevent stress.
- Eat healthy. Give your body lots of energy by eating plenty of vegetables, fruits and protein.
- Avoid excessive alcohol. And refrain from drinking as a means to manage stress.
- Treat yourself. Read a book, listen to a favorite album, make plans with friends or enjoy a good laugh.
- Talk to people. Friends, family members or co-workers may be able to help you work through a stressful situation. And verbalizing your stress can help to physically relieve it.
- Finally, ask for help. If you feel out of control, depressed or too overwhelmed to cope, ask your doctor or a mental health professional for help. They can help you navigate and manage your stress.
Trying to eat healthy can sometimes push your stress levels a little. Try this recipe from our Providence Cooks! class. Super easy and super good! Meets all the qualifications of a healthy menu and helps us with our New Year resolutions to de-stress and be healthy!
Salmon & Pesto-dressed Vegetables
- 2 cups new potatoes
- 2/3 cup fine green beans
- 2/3 cup tender stem broccoli
- 4 x 120 g salmon fillets, scaled and pin-boned, from sustainable sources
- olive oil
- 2 Tbsp. pine nuts
- ½ a small clove of garlic
- ¼ cup fresh basil
- extra virgin olive oil
- 2 Tbsp Parmesan cheese
- 2 lemons
- For the pesto, peel the garlic and add half to a jug with the pine nuts. Pick in the basil leaves and blitz until finely chopped.
- Add 2 to 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil–you need just enough to give it an oozy consistency – then finely grate and stir through the Parmesan. Give the mixture a final blitz, then halve the lemon and add a squeeze of juice to taste, then season with a pinch of black pepper.
- Scrub the potatoes, then trim the beans and broccoli. Cook the potatoes in a large pan of boiling salted water for 15 minutes, or until tender, adding the beans and the broccoli for the final 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat a large non-stick frying pan over a high heat. Rub the salmon fillets all over with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place in the hot pan, skin-side down, turn the heat down to medium and cook for 4 minutes, or until the skin is golden and crisp.
- Turn the fillets over, then cook for a further 2 to 3 minutes, or until just cooked through. Remove the pan from the heat, rest for 30 seconds, then add a good squeeze of lemon juice and give the pan a shake.
- Drain the vegetables well, then tip into a large bowl. Add the pesto, then toss to coat.
- Divide the salmon and vegetables between plates, drizzle over the pan juices, then cut the remaining lemon into wedges for squeezing over.
Nutrition Information: 473 calories, 24.2 gms fat, 36.3 gms protein, 27.6 gm carbohydrate, 590 mg sodium
If you would like to speak to a primary care provider or mental health professional about your stress, call 1-800-424-DOCS or visit the “Find a Provider” tab at YourProvidenceHealth.com.
This is another in a weekly series of healthy recipes from Kay MacInnis, registered dietitian at Providence Health in Columbia, S.C.
Kay promotes health and wellness, helping cardiac and diabetes patients eat their way to healthier lives. She works in consultation with the trained chefs at Providence, combining her nutrition knowledge with their food prep know-how to create delicious, healthy dishes for patients and the public. She also conducts a number of health and wellness events for the public, including the monthly Providence Cooks! classes.
"She doesn't just give you the fish, she teaches you how to cook it."
– a Kay MacInnis fan and Providence Cooks! regular.