Your NCAA Tournament bracket got you down? Follow our five tips to avoid the downside of March Madness — stress over busted brackets.
Considering more people filled out NCAA Tournament brackets than voted in the last presidential election, it’s safe to say that March Madness is a big deal.\ But focusing all of your attention on arena scoreboards can foul out your health. Here are five helpful hints for surviving the NCAA Tournament:
1. Check your stress.
Remember, it’s just a bracket. It’s not like you’re in the middle of a tax audit. If your bracket is a magnet for upsets, just back away slowly. “Stress is hard to measure or even define,” Mary Talboys, a licensed clinical social worker at the University of Utah School of Medicine, says. “But we do know that most stress is self-imposed.”Talboys reminds us to be mindful of how we respond to expectations and demands. The outcome of your bracket is beyond your control. And, as an added note, there has never been a perfect bracket entered online. So, get over yourself, and relax in front of a game knowing that predictions for who will win the World Series will soon be here.
2. Get plenty of rest.
As essential as the late tip-off games are to us, it’s easy to lose track of sleep. World Sleep Day on March 17 reminded us that getting some winks in is an important part of good health. In fact, the lack of sleep has been linked to increases in heart disease, diabetes and stroke.
3.Don’t walk and view live stream games at the same time.
Don’t laugh. “Recent studies indicate that the number of accidents involving distracted pedestrians is rising,” health writer Sandra Levy says.
4. Don’t take a timeout on healthy eating.
When your favorite March Madness mascot resembles the pizza guy, it’s time to make some adjustments in your diet. So, what can you do when tip-off hits at the same time as dinner hour? Fire up the slow cooker before the games begin, and enjoy a hot, home-cooked, healthy meal at halftime.
5. Make a fast break outside for some exercise.
The teams are playing their guts out. We could benefit from following their example by going outside to shoot some hoops, walk around the block, or do some yard work. Daily exercise keeps our heart pumping smoothly, controls weight gain, maintains muscles and flexibility, and helps stave off depression.
“The more activity a person does, the less depressive symptoms they have,” said Jason W. Hunziker, M.D., and assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Utah and the medical director of inpatient care for the University Neuropsychiatric Institute. So, take some tips from the athletes and get off the couch.
For many of us, March Madness is our favorite season, and with good reason. The excitement of school spirit and tradition is infectious. Our brackets may not survive, but by following the basic rules of maintaining healthy habits, you will score big with a winning strategy for healthy living long after the season ends.