Hi friends! Happy Thursday.
Today, I wanted to talk about stress relief.
This topic has been covered a lot on the blog + for good reason. America is currently full of a lot of over-stressed people.
On Monday night, I headed to hot yoga with two of my friends. It was the first time for both of them. I had told them many times how yoga has become such a great stress buster for me + how they should really try it. Finally, I just suggested that we go to a class together. I told them what they would need + a little about what to expect.
We flowed together in a room full of yogis. Not surprising to me: they loved it!
Here is the thing: yoga is as much about your mind as it is your body. Where else can you spend 1 hour focusing on deep breathing? For me, it clears my mind. Over time, I’ve truly learned to stay on my own mat. Meaning, I’m not looking at other people + judging their practice. Instead of focused on my own practice.
Yoga is a huge suggestion that I have for you. Other suggestions:
- Workout. AHHHH! My favorite subject ? Exercise has many benefits for you including stress relief. How does it work? The FEEL BETTER PHENOMENON: is a complex interaction of social + psychobiological factors that come together to improve your psychological state. Exercise has been shown to reduce anxiety, depression, stress, + enhance cognition. Complete bonus to all of the physical benefits that I keep sharing. Sure, at first working out might not be your favorite new hobby…but, it is vitally important to your health and you will learn to enjoy it/use it for stress relief.
- Eat right. We live in a culture that is constantly in a rush and there is probably a fast food joint within 10 minutes of where you are reading this article. Being stressed + time crunched can lead you to make poor dietary choices. However, unhealthy eating + alcohol are stressors for your body. Avoid alcohol and processed food as much as you can.
- Sleep more. Chances are you are skimping you your sleep. DON’T! I have to say, I feel SO much better now that I’m off of nightshift (besides the occasional night shift). Why? Because even with a baby, I can keep more of a routine. I’m in bed by 9:30pm (usually even on the weekends). Sleep is SO important for our overall health, head here to read more.
- Cognitive restructuring. You are what you think. Is the voice in your head constantly negative? STOP yourself when you are headed down a negative spiral of thoughts. Take a few deep breaths and then consider the negative thought. Do I really feel like this? Am I letting my negativity spiral out of control? Next, think about how you can restructure the negative thought.
- Social support. Where would we be without our family/friends/significant others?! Social support from positive relationships has been proven to protect your health and well-being. You have to realize who feeds you and gives you positive support and who minimizes your stress or doesn’t listen well.
- Prioritize fun time too! Last night I headed to sushi with my girlfriend. It was SO enjoyable. Even when I get busy I need to make sure to prioritize mommy breaks + girlfriend time because it is also good for my stress levels + makes life more full.
- Nurture yourself. You might spend all your time taking care of other people, but what if you need care? Take time for self care. Whether that means reading a book, painting, blogging, taking photographs, cooking, landscaping, laying in a hammock, etc…do it! Make time for it, it is stress relief waiting to happen
- Get a massage. Soak it in, turn your mind off, just be. A couple massages ago, I literally drooled on the floor because I was so relaxed. It might not be in your budget to do this all the time, but the benefits are clear
- Deep breathing, guided imagery, mindful meditation. I’m a huge fan of deep breathing. I practice it often when I’m in stressful situations, and I should more mindfully engage in it throughout the day. Find which variety of these relaxation eliciting techniques works best for you and incorporate it. There are plenty of resources online, just put one of these key terms in the search box
- Avoid stress. Is the most stressful part of your day your commute? Could you leave a half hour earlier or workout after work to avoid the rush hour? Is your stress level a 10 when you have a zillion work emails to catch up on? Could you block off half hour each morning and afternoon to clear up your inbox? Instead of getting stressed about the same things daily, try to figure out solutions
- Manage your money. Study after study showed Americans are stressed about money. Are you spending too much? Do you have money stored away for when things go wrong? I remember when I was living in Chicago + something went wrong with my Jeep. I had to borrow money from my dad for this unexpected expense. I remember when I was talking to my dad, he very sweetly told me…”Amy, things are going to go wrong with cars.” Read this post on financial health if you want to hear more.
- Let go of things you cannot control. We all only got one vote.
Have a fantastic weekend my friends! Xo. Ames