Stress is a major and growing health concern in America, according to the American Psychological Association (APA). In fact, a third of all Americans say they are extremely stressed, and 77 percent report experiencing physical symptoms associated with stress, according to an APA study.
"Stress is a normal part of life, and small amounts can actually make you stronger physically and mentally," says Martica Heaner, a health, fitness and wellness expert. "But when stress builds up and becomes overwhelming, it's time to take action to manage its impact on your life. Looking after yourself by focusing on your wellness is one of the very best ways to take care of what's on the inside as well as the outside."
Americans are more focussed on overall wellness than ever before, a fact that has not escaped the notice of companies like The Body Shop, Heaner notes. The Body Shop, long recognized as leaders in the naturally inspired beauty industry, recently launched a line of Wellbeing products that fit into four key aspects of a wellness regimen - Divine Calm, Total Energy, Deep Sleep and Pure Detox.
Your well-being routine should help you create calm, get adequate rest, re-energize and purify your body, Heiner says.
* Manage small stressors. Try not to over schedule yourself or constantly react to every demand on your time. For example, rather than constantly checking e-mail throughout the day, schedule a few regular times to do so.
* Give yourself time to do nothing at all. Turn off the TV. Don't answer the phone. Or soak in a hot bath seasoned with a calm-inspiring bath product. Look for products that incorporate naturally calming ingredients such as French lavender essential oil, camomile and soya milk.
Reaping the rewards of rest
* Sleep deprivation can leave you feeling "hung over," impair you as much as several alcoholic drinks, shorten your attention span, make you feel sluggish, and even cause you to overeat.
* Follow a calming routine prior to bedtime. Incorporate some pampering in your routine, such as a relaxing shower, soothing moisturizer and a spritz of calming scent in the room, on your pillow or bed sheets.
* Get extra sleep whenever possible. Set the alarm to go off at the last possible minute, instead of setting it earlier and hitting the snooze button a few times. Your body will benefit more from those extra 20 minutes if they're uninterrupted.
Re-energize your body
From improper nutrition, to lack of sleep or exercise and dehydration, there are many reasons why you might feel fatigued.
* Never skip breakfast. Even a small bowl of cereal or a piece of fruit can help you energize for the day ahead. Eat more if you exercise in the morning and will be expending energy.
* Put nutrition first, and worry less about calories, carbs or fat. Add some colorful vegetable or fruit to every meal - spinach or red peppers on your sandwich or pizza, beans in your salad or pasta.
Purify your body
You can minimize your exposure to environmental toxins with a few simple steps:
* Choosing organic foods can help you reduce the amount of toxins you ingest.
* Eat more walnuts and walnut oil, which are high in Omega-3 fatty acids that help quench free radicals in our bodies.
* Drink more water. To function at their best, every cell in your body needs to be properly hydrated. Getting enough water can help you feel less tired and flush toxins from your body.
* Choose all-natural products in every aspect of your life, from the cleaning products you use in your home to your beauty products.