22 Mar Squash Stress 4: Sleep, nutrition and exercise
What you eat,
how much you sleep, and
if you exercise,
all play a huge role in how well you can manage stress. Remember, stress is like an invader. Are you prepared for an attack? What are your defense strategies? Your diet, sleep and exercise all boost your ability to defend against stress. How are you helping yourself build up those defenses?
Food fuels your body and your mind. You quite literally are what you eat. When you don’t eat well, your body does not have the proper fuel to help you function. Therefore, in times of stress, when you need all your resources to perform well, you may not have what you need. It’s sort of like needing a rocket to get to the moon, but you only have a balloon to get you there. Are you eating well? Please visit the nutrition posts of this website to learn more.
During the teen years it is very common to turn to food as comfort. This “comfort” food is usually composed of greasy or salty or sugary snacks that ultimately make you feel worse, not better. The trouble is that it can feel better in the short-term. Try to think long-term (we know this is like trying to plan the weekend party on a Monday or Tuesday!), but if you plan your meals like you are preparing to fight a battle, you will win the war on stress.
Do you get enough sleep? As a teen you need at least 9 hours of sleep. Most teens do not get enough sleep. Just like with nutrition, when you don’t get enough sleep, you don’t function as well. Lack of sleep can actually cause your brain neurons to misfire. So when you are sleep deprived and stress hits, you not only will be less likely to combat it because you are so tired, but also your brain won’t be able to think straight.
Please read the post on sleep so you can become better prepared when stress knocks on your door.
Research has shown that exercise is about THE most important thing you can do for yourself to maintain both physical and mental health. In fact, many people use exercise as a great “quick release” for stress. Need we say more? Please visit the main post on exercise if you would like to learn more.
Of the three topics here (nutrition, sleep and exercise) which one do you need to improve upon the most? How will you do so?