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  • Writer's pictureLydia Cotter

How to Reduce Stress and Burnout in 5 Simple Ways

Updated: May 27

Chronic stress can wreak havoc on your health, but you don't have to live with it. Learn the 5 key strategies to combat stress, reduce burnout and regain control of your wellbeing.


Sounds silly but taking 5 slow deep breaths is proven to activate the parasympathetic nervous system to regulate stress.

Here how to use the box breathing method (also known as the 4-4-4-4 or square breathing technique) for maximum impact:

box breathing to calm the PNS

Find your comfort zone. Sit or lie down in a relaxed position.

  1. Inhale deeply through your nose for 4 seconds. Feel your belly inflate.

  2. Hold your breath for 4 seconds.

  3. Exhale slowly through your nose for 4 seconds. Imagine releasing tension with each breath.

  4. Hold your breath again for 4 seconds.

  5. Repeat the cycle 4-5 times or for as many that make you feel more calm and relaxed.

Focus on your breath and feel the stress melt away with each box.

Eat right

Eating things that fuel and nurture your body like protein rich foods including -mixed nuts, or mood-boosting serotonin and dopamine foods like dark chocolate, pineapple, bananas, kiwi fruit, strawberries and eggs.

chocolate boosts mood

When we’re overwhelmed and stressed, we often forget to eat well and resort to using sugary, fatty snack foods as a pick-me-up.

Carbs can give you a temporary mood and focus boost! This is because they can increase serotonin levels, that feel-good hormone.

Choose wisely though! Opt for unrefined carbs like sweet potatoes and whole grains. These are packed with nutrients and fibre, meaning they release energy slowly and avoid a blood sugar crash.

Skip the simple carbs! Cookies, cakes, white bread, and white pasta might seem tempting, but they cause a quick spike in blood sugar followed by a dip, leaving you feeling drained. They also contribute to inflammation, bloating and headaches.

So next time stress hits, reach for complex carbs for sustained energy and a mood boost!

Getting sunlight

Change that morning scroll on Tik Tok and Insta to sipping on a cuppa in the sunshine. Vitamin D plays a huge role in nervous systems adaptability. Vitamin D activates tryptophan, which leads to increased serotonin levels.

sunlight sunshine and vitamin D for boosting mood regulate stress

Early morning sunshine also regulates melatonin to help your circadian rhythm which is responsible for energy and sleep cycle.

Sunlight hitting your eyes tells your body to stop producing melatonin, making you feel awake. But this suppression also sets the stage for nighttime. By stopping melatonin production in the morning, your body anticipates needing it again later, naturally increasing melatonin production as it gets dark. This creates a smooth sleep-wake cycle.

Get moving

Dance, walk, practice yoga or pilates in you PJs, get busy in your garden! These are a few things you can do at home without paying for gym fees, carers for your kids or even leaving your backyard or lounge room.

Yoga at home to reduce stress

There are plenty of benefits associated with incorporating movement into your routine is an excellent way to combat stress.

  1. Feel-good boost: Exercise releases endorphins, lifting your mood and combating stress.

  2. Stress hormone chill: Movement lowers cortisol and adrenaline, helping your body flush out stress chemicals.

  3. Mental break: Get active to focus on your body and take a break from worries.

  4. Better sleep: Exercise improves sleep quality, making you better equipped to handle stress.


The big guns may need to come into play here - like Magnesium, Ashwagandha/ Withania somnifera, Rhodiloa rosea, Holy Basil, Lemon balm, Avena Sativa, B vitamins and Vitamin D.

Supplements at therapeutic dose

I often speak with clients and they are taking some or all of these but unfortunately not at a dosage that is the therapeutic level to make an impact. Meaning wasting money on taking products because they are too low a dose to make a positive impact on their health condition.

If you are struggling with stress derailing your health and wellbeing, particularly your hormones, energy and happiness, book in with me for an appointment to work out the best therapeutic dosage for your personal situation.

Want professional naturopathic guidance? Read about my personalised sessions and programs and let’s create a nourishing healing plan together, just for you.

Sources: Benefits from one session of deep and slow breathing on vagal tone and anxiety in young and older adults for supplement image. How Getting Sunlight in the Morning Can Help You Sleep Better

The Effects of Acute Exercise on Mood, Cognition, Neurophysiology, and Neurochemical Pathways: A Review

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