Before you read this — slow down. Take a deep breath in through your nose. Hold that breath for 10 seconds, then exhale slowly through your mouth. Repeat these breaths five times, and really focus on breathing. Feeling better? Chances are you're more stressed than you realize. For HBFIT girls who are always in motion, it can sometimes feel strange to pause for a moment and ask ourselves how we’re feeling. But stress can pop up in surprising ways, and when it comes up, it can spoil your whole day. With winter around the corner and the days getting shorter, it’s more important than ever to make time in your life to spot the five surprise stressors that can really ruin your mood — and learn how to beat them! The Stress of Sub-par Snacking Did you have breakfast today? How about lunch? And if so, what did you eat? When you're always on the move, it’s surprisingly easy for self-care basics to fly right out the window. But if our bodies don't get all the vitamins and nutrients we need, we’ll run out of steam sooner than later, and in no time that stress will bubble up to the surface. You can beat that stress by focusing on fuelling your body for everything from gym workouts to fun nights out, with good, protein-rich, clean food. Prioritize meal time, and snack on ingredients that are high in energy and low in junk. Your brain and body will thank you. The Stress of Saying Yes If you’re the kind of girl who always has something going on for someone in your life, you know the struggle of balancing your commitments. Whether it’s your friends, family, work or play, the temptation to give up time and energy to help others is strong. Generosity is one of the best traits you can find in a friend, but remember to watch out for the stress of saying “yes!” Saying “yes” can mean you don't have time to unwind. After all, if you’re always doing something for others, you can't take care of yourself — and that makes it harder to give as much you want to in others areas of your life. It’s okay to say “no” and embrace the cheat day! Busy, extroverted types might cringe, but hear us out — everyone needs a moment to relax and recharge, and sometimes that means unplugging from your commitments and letting yourself enjoy being alone. Treat yourself to a the best bubble bath, a the best workout routines with fun exercises, or even just some pampering right at home! The Stress of Making A Big Move Big changes constitute some of the largest and worst sources of stress, right up there with financial burdens. But stress is pretty much unavoidable when pairing heavy costs with major changes — the kind of problems you might encounter during a move. Every aspect of apartment-hunting is a hassle, from the first search to all the surprises that hit you along the way even after you move in. Your home is your sanctuary, and it’s important that everything is just right! So beating this kind of stress isn't easy, but the best way around it to get informed. Know what you’re getting into! Especially if you live in a city that where moving means loads of surprise costs — here’s looking at you, New York — you’ll want to do as much research as possible ahead of time. It’s a pain to do that research, but you're not alone. There are all kinds of services out there to help you through the process, and you can always call in a favor or two. The Stress of Spillover Stress Everything is going great in your life, you eat three solid meals a day, and you exercise regularly. But you’re still feeling tense all the time — what’s happening? Believe it or not, spillover stress can have a big impact on your mental health. The people you spend your time with are part of your world. If you're working with people who are too highly strung, that negative energy can enter your head space and make you feel foggy, sour, or unsettled. So if your coworkers are giving you stressed out vibes, do your best to create a buffer. Face your workspace away from these distracting people, or add personal items into your little work zone; studies show that something as simple as indoor plants can work wonders. Often, something as simple as just taking breaks for snacks, walks, or a phone call with a friend can be huge helps at relieving this spillover stress. And always remember that their stress is not your fault — stay uplifted, girl! The Stress of Social Media It’s always good to stay social and connected with your circle. But sometimes, all that screen time and all that scrolling can leave you feeling frazzled, distracted, or generally off your game. On one level, being perpetually plugged in can be harmful simply because so much of what we consume online every day is nerve-racking stuff. But it can also be a function of spending so much time on social media, refreshing for new notifications. It can be seriously difficult to focus and unwind when we feel like something is constantly demanding our attention. If you want to unplug but still keep connected, it’s up to you to treat your social media game seriously, Designate set times to go online, and hold yourself to it! The same way you plan your workdays and workouts, try planning out your screen time with your personal wellness in mind.