Hey there awesome you! Let’s go from OMG to OM shall we? A ways ago I did a post called “Stress, Disease and Bears oh my”. If you are new to me please go back and check it out. It discusses the cortisol reaction of stress and what stress does to our bodies over time. I don’t want to rehash that here so go on, go read it, I’ll wait…….. Ok you’re back, great. Do you know when I ask my coaching clients to rate their daily stress on a scale from 1-10, 10 being totally stressed, what the majority say?
The majority of people tell me their daily, regular stress level is a seven. A SEVEN folks, that is crazy stress. Like bears chasing you around almost every corner (if you went back and read my older post you know what I am talking about here 😚). It is no wonder we are a mess. What would you give yourself? I will tell you two years ago I would have given myself a similar number. Today, I will give myself maybe a three or once in a while even a four if its a really busy, hectic day. So no I am not perfect, farrrrr from it but I have embraced some techniques to deal with my stress so I can manage it a lot of the time and dare I say, eliminate some of it completely. Being able to dial down your stress and reset your bodies is critical to your well being.
There are three pillars of health I spoke about last post, Diet, Exercise and Sleep. They are incredibly important, the most important if you want to live a life of health and wellness. I would argue also that there needs to be a fourth and that is Stress management. You can eat all the broccoli you want but if it is just going to give you heartburn,well that won’t work at all.
There are several tactics for managing stress. I have not gone woo woo on you all yet but this might go a little woo woo here and there but stay with me and try these things. You will be pleasantly surprised. And what do you have to lose really, just some stress!
So the first one is no big surprise, exercise. Did you know regular exercise can decrease a person’s chance of depression by 40%? It is a major stress reliever. And this doesn’t have to be crazy, kill yourself exercise just 20 minutes a day at least three days a week. That is ONE HOUR a week folks. We can all do that for sure. Just walk, bike, swim, hike, yoga, barre, pilates, gardening whatever you like to do . If its not something you like to do, you’ll bail. Don’t do that!
Second, BREATHE and relax your shoulders. We often hold our breathe when we are tense and crunch our shoulders up. This is bad for us. Our blood pressure increases, we get headaches, our cortisol goes up…. Do this- ready? Breathe in your nose for 4 counts, hold it for 7 counts and breathe audibly out of your mouth for 8 counts. repeat 4-5 times. I love doing this while sitting in traffic, it immediately relaxes me.
Third Laugh out loud. Laughing has actually been shown to lower cortisol (your stress hormone) levels. I won’t recommend funny movies to you though because everyone’s tastes are really different. My husband just made me watch “Superbad” claiming it was the funniest movie ever. Meh…
Fourth. Listen to music that soothes your soul or makes you feel happy. I have some chill music and some classical music stations that are my go to whenever I feel a bit AHHHH. I am not a nature sounds/ocean noises gal but if that works for you go for it.
Fifth is self-care. I talk a lot about this on my instagram page. It is vitally important for your well being to take a few minutes (I am talking like 5 minutes a day here) for yourself everyday. Take a hot washcloth and to your neck and shoulders, do a dry skin scrub, take a bath, read a book, sit on your porch….Nothing extravagant just a few minutes each day to decompress and check in with yourself.
Sixth – get dirty. Yup walk outside sans shoes and socks and feel the dirt beneath your toes. Its really grounding and a total de-stressor, I promise. It allows us to connect with life on a most basic level.
Seventh is practice gratitude. How do you do this? Ok do you feel the woo woo? I promise its not painful, hear me out. Get yourself a little notebook and every night or every morning or whenever works for you, write down three good things that happened to you that day or things that made you happy that day. They don’t have to be life changing events, just small tokens from your day. I often write about getting to ride with the top down because the weather was nice. yesterday I wrote that I got an amazing hug from my 14 year old (this is a big deal). The important thing is to do this every day! Especially on crappy days. Those are the days it matters most. After time you will notice a shift in your thinking from glass is half empty to glass is half full. Things that would have ruined your day or sent your stress levels skyrocketing don’t have as great an impact anymore. I know you are like yea ok whatever but I am telling you from experience it really works. I would even go so far as to say this is one of the biggest game changers for me personally.
Eighth is Daily Affirmations. This is a similar practice to gratitude. When you repeat an affirmation in your head or out loud over and over what you are doing is consciously rewiring your brain patterns towards desired outcomes and positivity. What you speak or think will come. My gift to you is a list of daily affirmations get it here, just pick the one(s) that resonant with you that day and repeat them several times throughout the day. You can make your own as well. Whatever you need to hear that day is what you should speak. Make them in the present tense- I am enough. Make them positive, no I can’t…My personal favorite I use all the time is ” I f*ing got this!”
Ninth is to meditate. Do it everyday for just a few minutes. This is a quick, awesome way to destress your day and life. It is a practice that takes practice, I won’t lie. I often do it and find my mind wanders but its ok, I just come back. I love Calm.com and Insight Timer apps for meditation. The use of a mantra (a word, sound or saying), which are not the same as affirmations, is great for furthering your meditation practice. A Mantra like OM is used to aid in focusing and deepening the meditation.
Tenth is to grab the support of your friends. A tried and true method of relaxing is spewing your crappy day to a trusted friend. Find those who support you no matter what and bend their ear!
Lastly, and this sounds so obvious but be present and tune in to your body. Be present, there is no point dwelling on and living in the past, it is just that, past. It’s done and over and you can’t change it so move on. I am not just pontificating here, I have had to do this myself on some deep levels. My past was not serving me, at all, so I had to let it go. And the future is out of your control, it will be what it will be so don’t stress over things you have no control over. What you can control is your present. Be in it at the moment, even just eating your food. Taste your food, enjoy putting nourishment in your body and chew! While you are being present give yourself permission to slow down. Say no to a few things that will spread you out too thin. Take a few moments to scan your body and see if it is telling you anything. Then listen to what it is trying to tell you. I would always push myself and push myself all day, everyday, now there are times my body is like “nope, see that couch? Yes It’s only 4pm but we need to sit on it for a few minutes”, so I sit.
Now you have an arsenal of goodies to combat your stress. Drop me a line and let me know what works for you!
Don’t forget – EAT WELL, EXERCISE, SLEEP AND MANAGE YOUR STRESS. Need help click here or the health coach tab at the top.
One final gift for you to get your chill on: