October is Mental Health Awareness Month in South Africa. As we enter October and the last quarter of the year, we look back on the last few months that, for everyone, has been nothing short of stressful. Although stress is not a mental illness, there are connections between stress and mental challenges such as depression and anxiety.

If you are looking to alleviate some stress in your life, here are a few pointers that can lead you in the right direction. Fuelling your body with the right nutrients, getting active, and taking some time for yourself can make the world of difference. Here are a few tips you can follow in your everyday life to make that big change.

1.) FEEDING YOUR BODY WITH NUTRIENTS

Nourishing your body with certain food groups definitely reduces your stress levels. Eating the right foods allows to you feel in control of your body and have the energy to deal with stress. Incorporating Vitamin C into your diet by eating certain food groups can decrease your stress levels. This is the same thinking we apply when boosting our immune system and fighting off the flu with a bag of oranges and a good dosage of vitamin C. It is also the case when fighting to get our stress levels down. By incorporating certain Vitamin C rich foods into our daily meals we can make all the difference to our mental health.

Vitamin C rich foods can include:

  • Broccoli
  • Tomato
  • Spinach
  • Green & Red Peppers

2.) GET MOVING AND ACTIVE

Changing up your daily routine with exercise can significantly reduce stress. The endorphins that your body creates when exercising contributes to mood elevation. The endorphins that are given off when exercising are considered “feel-good”, and are often referred to as the “runners high”. Similarly to eating the right foods, exercise has positive physical and mental effects. By taking part in physical activity, you can relieve your mind of stress and worry that can be consuming you. While contributing to stress relief, exercise also improves self-esteem and general health.

3.) TAKING TIME TO DO THINGS YOU ENJOY

As we live out our busy lifestyles, making time for ourselves is often last on the “to-do” list. Being too busy to take time for ourselves is often the biggest cause of stress. Taking time for ourselves to do what we love and enjoy can take the edge off. It gives you a chance to “stop and smell the roses” while doing something that you truly enjoy. Spending time with friends or fulfilling a hobby can help you unwind, reducing your stress, and improve your well-being.