07 Apr 4 Simple Lifestyle Steps To A Stress-Free Drive
This month as part of Stress Awareness Month and World Health Day, registered Nutritional Therapist, Fiona Coleman, speaks to us about the simple lifestyle steps we can take daily to build resilience ready to deal with anything that we encounter on our drive.
Do you feel stressed as a driver? Does the thought of getting in the car and driving to the office leave your neck muscles feeling tense? Is there a certain tricky junction you have worrying thoughts about or perhaps driving on the motorway leaves you feeling rushed and slightly fearful. Know that you are not alone. But did you know that there are simple lifestyle steps we can take daily to support our bodies ready for those times in our lives when we are feeling more vulnerable or fraught?
So, firstly whilst stress is something very much in the news this year, do we really understand what stress is? Stress is a natural, non-specific response to a demand placed on the body. The way we respond is highly individualised, what can feel manageable to a friend may leave us feeling overwhelmed, and it can be impacted by our past experiences, beliefs and habits. Stressors include physical sources such as illness or lack of appropriate nourishment or they can be psychological such as a new job or the loss of a loved one. They can even be perceived or anticipated, such as imagining a challenging drive before it has even happened!
Our body is designed to function on short lived stress where the ‘threat’ is quickly dealt with and our body settles back into relaxed mode. In fact, physiologically there is a sweet spot where we actually thrive in these acute types of circumstances. However, our busy 21st century lives expose us to more of these stressors and for extended periods of time and if not managed effectively this can contribute to a wide array of health conditions. However, the important thing to remember is that our bodies have an incredible aptitude to return to a place of calmness, balance and physiological and psychological strength given the appropriate support!
So, now here comes the fun part. You can start exploring which lifestyle steps you can take to help bring about a stress-free drive. The following are just 4 simple tips to start adopting into your life now and get you on your way 😊
🛏️ Sleep tight
A good night’s kip is essential to overall health, energy and concentration. Switching off blue screens 90 minutes to 2 hours before sleep can help promote a better quality of sleep.
When we are stressed our bodies utilise huge amounts of nutrients in an attempt to first cope with the biochemical responses to the stressor and then return our bodies to homeostasis or balance. Making time to eat, slowing down and focusing on eating whole, unprocessed foods aids our digestion and absorption of nutrients, keeps our energy levels stable, our nervous system functioning optimally and our reserves replenished and strong.
You don’t need to commit to joining a gym or running a 10k. Find a form of exercise that suits you to help reduce feelings of stress and regulate mood. Go gently if you are particularly stressed. Gardening, yoga and a dog walk are top of my list!
🙋♀️Ask for help
Finding a supportive community is such a key step. We are often programmed to see this step as weakness or failure, but in fact it is hugely empowering and a proactive one to be commended. The Mindful Driver Community on Facebook allows you to share your concerns and get professional help from an Grade A Approved Driving Instructor.
I encourage you to pick one or two of these to start with and really embrace and enjoy them, not just for your drive but your life!
Sending you health and wellbeing, Fiona