I got SO many messages about this last post and the “Wheel of (un)Wellness” and I loved them all. Count on hearing more about how to GET OFF of it and onto the “Wheel of Wellness” or “WoW.” We are down to the last two Pillars of a Nutritious Life and this week’s might be the hardest. STRESS. It doesn’t matter how well your life is; you are going to have stress. Sometimes it is just for a moment, like almost getting rear ending someone, and sometimes it lasts longer, like when a loved one gets a horrible illness. UGH. It sucks, and we have to learn coping mechanisms to get through the stressful times in our lives. Keri Glassman says:
Stress increases the level of the hormone cortisol in our bodies, which in turn makes our bodies crave carbohydrates, specifically high sugar carbohydrates, and store fat around the midsection. So, even if you don’t eat more due to stress you can still gain weight due to stress! To make matters worse, stress also causes an increase in appetite… We all know what that does! Make time in your day to unwind and reset. Take 5 minutes to sit quietly and practice deep breathing or go for a walk outside for a breath of fresh air.
It’s funny how stress affects me. I can have certain stressors in my life that cause me actually to FORGET to eat! Then there are others that make me feel like a human garbage disposer. Give me more and more food. Let me feed these emotions. Both suck.
While I have no perfect cure for stress that works for me 100% of the time, here are the things that help me day to day:
- I spend the first three to five minutes of my day, in bed, setting the tone for my day. I do a quick run through of everything that I’m doing that day, who I will see, what my eating plan looks like, and a few tasks that need to get done.
- I say a “gratitude” prayer.
- You know that I’m going to say SWEAT. I’m not a broken record. It IS a cure-all for so much that ails us. Boosting those endorphins helps boost our moods and therefore, works to kick that stressful mood to the curb. DO IT!
- I snuggle with a dog or hold a baby whenever possible. No explanation needed.
- I meditate. This is a tough one because there are so many ways to do it, and I find most of them incredibly difficult for my energetic and creative mind. When I stick to a daily meditation practice, it doesn’t reduce my stress level, but it sure does help how I react to stressors. I let a LOT more run off my back.
- I play silly dance music very loud. Britney, JLo, TSwift…nothing is off limits.
- I cook something really healthy and make a lot of it.
- I take to the computer and try to learn as much as I can about whatever it is that is going on. Knowledge is power.
- I go to bed 30 minutes early.
- I sit outside in the sun.
- I don’t dwell in the past. I move on pretty quick. (Maybe too quick?)
I wish that each of these worked 100% of the time. The point is that I have these tools in my kit. Do you have a Stress Tool Kit? What is in it? I want to know!