How To Reduce Daily Stress

In the modern age, it’s very common for people to experience stress. In fact, nearly 70% of adults living in the United States claim to feel stressed every day. This may come as no surprise when you look at the way the majority of today’s population conditioned to always be on the go 24/7. People are working longer hours, getting less and less sleep, taking less vacation time, and putting self-care last. This type of lifestyle can greatly increase a person’s stress levels and even lead to depression, burnout, and even declining health.

You can live a longer, happier life it you take the proper steps to prevent stress from affecting your health. In fact, studies have shown that people with low levels of stress enjoy a great deal of benefits. Keep reading to learn how you can reduce the daily stress in your life.

Reduce Your Caffeine Consumption

Caffeine is a stimulate commonly found in tea, chocolate, energy drinks, and coffee. While ingesting caffeine is viewed as a normal way to get the energy one needs to start the day, too much caffeine can be a bad thing. People have different thresholds for how much caffeine their bodies can tolerate. If someone drinks too much caffeine, they can experience the following negative side effects:

  • Anxiety and nervousness
  • Insomnia
  • Digestive problems
  • High blood pressure
  • Caffeine addiction
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Fatigue
  • Frequent Urination

If you are noticing an increase in stress of anxiety after your mid-day cup of coffee, consider scaling back in your caffeine consumption. While caffeine can be healthy in moderation, too much of it can leave you feeling stressed and anxious throughout the rest of your day.

Laugh More

Laughing is a great way to reduce stress. Not only does laughing at a good joke stimulate and relieve your stress response, it can also relax muscles and bring more oxygen to your brain and organs. Overtime, daily laughter breaks can also help improve your immune system and your overall mood.

Learn to look for the humor in your daily life, spend time with friends with a great sense of humor, or watch a funny comedy to relieve any stress lingering around at the end of your day.

Exercise Regularly

One of the most effective ways to combat stress is to exercise on a regular basis. Physically exerting your body can help you relive mental stress. This could be why people who exercise regularly tend to experience less anxiety than inactive people.

There are several reasons why exercise is a great way to reduce stress. First, it lowers your body’s stress hormones while releasing endorphins at the same time. The effect acts as a natural painkiller and can improve your mood.

Second, exercise can improve your quality of sleep. While stress can make you anxious and keep you lying awake in bed all night, exercise helps you relax and gets you tired enough to sleep until morning arrives.

Third, many people who exercise notice an increase in confidence. Regular exercise leads to a healthy body that is easy to feel competent and confident in. This in turn promotes mental-well being and eradicates stressful self-doubt and social anxiety.

Spend Time Outdoors

A breath of fresh air can do wonders for your stress levels. Studies have shown spending time in nature not only decreases stress, but also lowers blood pressure, restores mental health, and can create an overall sense of wellbeing.

Add more nature to your life by taking a walk outside, visiting the local beach with friends, or even sipping your morning cup of tea on your patio. You can even bring the positive benefits of the outdoors inside by adding indoor plants to your home or work area.

Take A Break From Technology

Did you know the average person checks their phones eighty times a day? The amount of the time that people spend on their technological devices can quickly add up to hours. Make sure you set aside time in your day to unplug and take a break from technology. This is especially important if you visit a lot of social media sites.

Use the time away from your devices to go out with friends or to spend time with your pet. Not only will you the absences of never-ending notifications and updates give your overworked brain a break, the supportive and caring presence of your friends and animal companions can do wonders when it comes to eliminating stress.

Practice Meditation

A few minutes of mediation a day can reduce stress and anxiety and improve sleep quality. For some people, meditation comes in the form of sitting quietly with both eyes closed. Other people do well with meditation guidance. It’s important that you do what works best for you. Regular meditation practice cannot only reduce daily stress, it can also help you organize and process different events happening in your life.

Start Living A Stress-Free Life

Escape the stress of today by practicing any of the healthy habits previously mentioned. You can learn more ways to live a healthier, happier, stress-free life by attending one of VNA & Hospice’s upcoming public educational events. You can contact them at 831-226-7666 to learn what this month’s topic is.


6 Important Things You Need To Know About Shingles

Many adults know what chickenpox is and have even had it as a child. However, few people are aware that if they have had chickenpox, they face the possibility of developing shingles later in life.

Shingles is a viral infection caused by the varicella-zoster virus. This is the same virus that causes chickenpox. If you have ever had chickenpox, the varicella-zoster virus is nestled within the nerve issue near your spinal cord and brain. While the virus is usually inactive, there is the possibility it can reactivate years later in the form of shingles.

Fortunately, shingles isn’t a deadly condition, but it can be very painful. Shingle manifests in the form of a painful rash. While shingles can occur anywhere on the body, it is most common for a stripe of blisters to appear on the left or right side of the torso.

Common symptoms of shingles include:

  • Pain
  • Burning Sensation
  • Tingling or numbness
  • Sensitivity to touch
  • The appearance of a red rash a few days after pain begins
  • Fluid-filled blisters
  • Itching

If you are experiencing these symptoms, it is important you make an appointment with your local healthcare provider to make sure you don’t have shingles. It is especially important you contact your doctor if the rash or pain is near your eyes. If left untreated, an infection near the eyes can lead to irreparable eye damage.

While shingles is more common in older adults, it can happen to anyone. Anyone with a weakened immune system faces a greater chance of developing this infection. Shingles can be an incredibly painful experience. It’s crucial that you arm yourself with knowledge about shingles to protect yourself from it.

Remember, the sooner you seek treatment, the faster you can stop the discomfort and pain of shingles. Here are 6 important things you need to know about shingles.

1.) 1 In 3 People Will Develop Shingles

There are nearly one million of cases of shingles in the United States each year, according to CDC data. If you’ve ever had chickenpox, have a poor immune system, or over the age of fifty, you are at risk of developing shingles. In fact, almost half of the shingle cases that occur each year are in people who ages sixty and older.

2.) There Is No Cure For Shingles

Once a person recovers from chickenpox, the virus never truly leaves. Instead it becomes inactive, lying dormant in your nerve tissue. While you can never eliminate the virus from your body, you can take prescribed antiviral medications that can help clear up the painful rash faster, especially if you start taking the medication early on. It is possible to go through shingles more than once. Make sure you take the necessary steps to prevent shingles from reoccurring, or from evening happening once.

3.) A Shingles Vaccine Exists

While there is no cure for shingles, a vaccine does exist. In 2006 study, a vaccine called Zostavax was shown to dramatically reduce the chances of developing shingles. In addition, the vaccine is even better at reducing the chance of a person developing lingering pain.

Unfortunately, according to CDC data, no more than 25% of seniors get this important vaccine each year. If you are over the age of sixty, it’s important that you discuss getting the shingles vaccine with your primary care physician. After all, getting this vaccine can greatly reduce your chance of experiencing this painful infection. Remember, it is possible to get shingles more than once. Make sure you get your shingles vaccine each year to maximize your protection.

Residents of California’s Central Coast can easily get their shingles vaccine at one of Central Coast Visiting Nurse Association & Hospice’s Community Clinics. VNA strives to provide its patients with the best medical care possible, which is why they have the new shingles vaccine.

This new and improved vaccine is called Shingrix and is estimated to be 90% effective. Shingrix is a 2 dose series that is given 2 to 6 months apart. This new vaccine is so effective, the CDC recommends anyone ages fifty or older gets Shingrix. Even if you’ve already gotten the old vaccine, you can still get Shingrix for maximum shingles prevention.

4.) Shingles Can Be Contagious

For most people, shingles is not contagious. However, if someone has never had chickenpox, they have the chance of catching the varicella-zoster virus from someone who has shingles. While chickenpox is uncomfortable to have as a child, it can be disastrous for adults. In fact, some adults who catch chickenpox can end up in intensive care.

If you were born before doctors started vaccinating children in 1995, it is very likely that you’ve been exposed to the chickenpox virus. It’s even possible that you’ve had a mild case of the chickenpox and never even realized it.

5.) Pain Can Remain Even After The Rash Disappears

Up to 20% of the people who develop shingles end up getting postherpetic neuralgia (PHN), a chronic burning nerve pain that occurs at the site of the shingles outbreak. This may be due to continued inflammation or possible nerve damage.

The risk of developing PHN increases with age, as studies show the 80% of PHN cases are patients over the age of fifty. While the pain usually lasts from a few weeks to a few months, some people can experience sever and debilitating pain for years. It is crucial that you take the proper preventative steps, like getting the shingles vaccine, to prevent PHN from happening to you.

6.) The Best Defense Is A Healthy Immune System

There are many benefits to maintaining a healthy immune system and shingles prevention is one of them. If you’re over the age of sixty you face a greater risk of developing shingles. This may be due to our immune systems weakening as we age. However, it is possible to keep your immune system strong by living a healthy lifestyle. Doing any of the following is a great way to maintain your immune system as you age:

  • Get plenty of rest each night
  • Eat a well-balanced diet
  • Exercise on a regular basis
  • Reduce the daily stress in your life
  • Get regular health exams

If you want the strongest protection against shingles, follow these daily habits to keep your immune system healthy and get your shingles vaccine. This winning combination will greatly decrease your chances of developing shingles.