See that guy above? He’s stress free. He’s not worried about getting dinner on the table, registering the kids for summer camp, or making that work deadline. No, that’s a guy who has mastered the art of the chill. That is a guy who has embraced his Fitbit activity tracker and used it to his advantage in every possible way. Be like that guy. Here’s how.
Say No to Stress With These Healthy Fitbit Habits
Build bonds. It’s hard to overstate the positive effect social support can have on your physical and psychological health. Connect with like-minded individuals via Fitbit Community in the Fitbit app, where you’ll find groups dedicated to everything from injuries to parenting. Ask questions, get advice, or just browse posts and soak up the positive vibes.
Get up from your desk. People under stress often overcompensate by working harder, says Ken Yeager, PhD, a psychologist at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and director of the Stress, Trauma and Resilience (STAR) Program. Left unchecked that stress can lead to fatigue, irritability, and trouble concentrating. Give your brain (and body) regular breaks by turning on Reminders to Move. Ten minutes before the hour your Fitbit Flex 2, Fitbit Alta, Fitbit Alta HR, Fitbit Charge 2, or Fitbit Blaze will vibrate if you haven’t taken 250 steps.
Always be on time. Forgetting important events or being late to them are two common causes of stress that are easy to solve for. Add birthdays, appointments, and anything else you have to the electronic calendar synced to your Fitbit Alta, Fitbit Alta HR, Fitbit Charge 2, or Fitbit Blaze, and turn calendar notifications on. Your device will alert you when your specified activity is on deck.
Never miss a message. If it’s calls and text messages you’re worried about missing (hello, parents of teenagers), the same Fitbit trackers—plus Fitbit Surge—can keep you appraised of those as well. Follow these instructions to get notifications from your mobile device.
Take a stroll. Stanford University researchers found that walking through nature decreases rumination, a negative thought pattern that can increase your risk of depression and other mental illnesses. Here’s how to set a new step goal.
Stay sane during major life changes. Calling all ladies. Whether you’re 28 or 58, check out how your Fitbit account can help you navigate major life changes like pregnancy and perimenopause. You got this.
Practice deep breathing. Taking some time to focus on every inhalation and exhalation is one of the best—and easiest—ways to stifle stress. Fire up the Relax app on your Fitbit Blaze or Fitbit Charge 2 to experience a two- or five-minute guided breathing session that’s customized to your heart rate. Have a Fitbit Flex 2, Fitbit Alta, Fitbit Alta HR, or Fitbit Surge? Set a silent alarm to remind you to do one of these five deep-breathing exercises.
Give progressive muscle relaxation a shot. Jaw clenched? Shoulders hunched? Head aching? Relieve tension with 15 minutes of progressive muscle relaxation, a nearly 100-year-old mind-body technique that involves slowly tensing and relaxing muscle groups for specified periods of time. The interval timer on your Fitbit Charge 2 can help. Here’s how.
Stay hydrated. Research shows that even mild dehydration can cause your mood to worsen and tension and anxiety to increase. Keep on top of your hydration status by tracking how much you drink. You can set a water consumption goal and log your intake straight from your Fitbit dashboard.
Break a sweat. Physical activity is a proven stress reducer, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Yoga, in particular, may help reduce inflammation and fatigue—two symptoms of stress—and boost vitality, according to Ohio State University researchers. Tap the “Guidance” tab at the bottom of your Fitbit app for a personalized workout recommendation from Fitstar. If you own a Fitbit Blaze, you might even be able to see the workout right on your device.
Keep a consistent sleep schedule. Not getting enough shuteye can throw your sleep stages out of whack. The result? Slight sleep deprivation (or poor sleep) can affect your memory, judgment, and mood, while chronic sleep deprivation can lead to health issues, like obesity and high blood pressure, reports the American Psychological Association. Help your body fall—and stay—asleep by going to bed and waking up at the same time every day.
If you own a Fitbit tracker that detects sleep, your device can help. Tap the sleep tile in your Fitbit app and then on the gear icon at the top right to set a sleep goal (7 to 9 hours is recommended for adults) and target times you want to go to sleep and wake up. Then, turn on bedtime reminders. Your tracker will vibrate when it’s time for you to start winding down.
Watch what you eat. As Fitbit previously reported, early research shows that eating junk food can make you more prone to anger and anxiety in high-stress situations. Are you eating too much high-fat and high-sugar foods? To take stock of your diet, commit to logging meals on your Fitbit app for seven days (just seven!). This expert-developed guide will make the experience painless.
Monitor your resting heart rate. If you have a Fitbit tracker with heart rate tracking capabilities, don’t get too hung up on how much your heart rate fluctuates over the course of a day—your pulse is affected by numerous factors, including air temperature, caffeine, and medications. Instead, look for patterns in your resting heart rate. You want to see this number go down over time. If it starts to creep up and you haven’t changed your diet or exercise routine, stress may be to blame. In that case, revisit the tips above.
This article is not intended to substitute for informed medical advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or condition. Always check with your doctor before changing your diet, altering your sleep habits, taking supplements, or starting a new fitness routine.