How to Deal With Stress

Like you, Alison Sweeney sometimes has way too much going on. She's learned to keep it from messing with her health, so follow her tips and you'll feel calm and get fitter, too.

By Alison Sweeney, Redbook

I used to drink several cups of coffee to handle work stress. I thought if I could stay up just a little longer, I'd be a better actor, producer, and mom. Then I had a wake-up call when a caffeine- triggered panic attack left me short of breath. Now when I'm stressed, I remind myself that I'm doing the best I can. That's all any of us can do! Here are my tricks to staying healthy, even when life gets crazy.


Do This When Stress Is Wrecking Your Diet

When I finish taping a scene, I crave sugar. Imagine how hard this was when I was hosting Food Network's Christmas Cookie Challenge. There were baked goods everywhere! But if I eat them, my blood sugar rises and it becomes more difficult for me to make smart decisions for the show. Since snacking on set is my vice, I pack a bag of homemade dark chocolate trail mix. It's delicious but also gives me a ton of energy. If you're craving comfort food in a burger and fries, I get it, and I'm not going to try to convince you to eat a kale salad, but maybe eliminate one side of the bun and split the fries. It's all about better choices.


Do This When Stress Is Keeping You Up At Night

It seems that every time we have to wake up early for a flight, my husband falls asleep without a problem, yet I lie awake worrying: Will the cab pick us up on time? Did I pack everything? Will I sleep through the alarm? I've discovered that reading a book in bed helps me wind down—it dawned on me after yet another night of watching my kids doze off before I even finished their bedtime story. Reading will help you relax, but make sure you still give yourself permission to fall asleep when you feel tired. Forcing yourself to stay awake to finish that chapter is almost as bad as staying up in a panic spiral.


Do This When Stress Is Making You Skip a Workout

The last thing I want to do after being on my feet all day is go for a run. The couch is calling my name! But the irony is that when I do go to the gym, I feel so much better. I can think clearly and I even have an easier time waking up the next morning. I remind myself of that, then go to a workout that takes my full attention. For the next 50 minutes, I'll only be thinking about surviving my spin class, not everything else I still need to do before bed. If you prefer exercising on your own, do intervals, where you push yourself to go harder a few times within your workout. That'll distract you—and leave you with a fresh perspective.


Do This When Stress Is Ruining Your Mood

To be completely honest, I get grouchy when I'm stressed. If I'm still worrying about a work email during my family dinner, I'm more likely to snap at my husband or be tougher on my kids than I need to be. It's not easy to switch gears when you're overwhelmed or frustrated, but you can do it if you make an effort to spend a few minutes thinking about something else. I use my car rides home from work to listen to podcasts or a book on tape. And I'm a big believer in music playlists; singing along to your favorite songs will make you happy. By the time you get home, that 2 p.m. crisis will feel like a lifetime ago.
Health, Wellness

See more at: Redbook
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U.S. Daily News: How to Deal With Stress
How to Deal With Stress
U.S. Daily News
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