Are you feeling stressed?
Summer is just beginning and I’m already loving the park concerts, barbecues, river rafting, and warm nights. I hope that you’re enjoying all the fruits of summer and having tons of fun.
But if you read that first paragraph and thought to yourself, “Not this summer, I have so much on my plate,” you’re not alone. We just surveyed our clients at my spa to find out what their number one struggle is, and not surprisingly, it’s stress.
Stress is a major killer of our internal feel-good. And when it’s there, it can feel unshakeable. Like there is an underlying anxiousness or pressure to every moment of our lives. For the most part we respond to stress by becoming tight – ready to act and unable to chill out and go with the flow – all of which makes perfect sense since it’s our survival mechanisms that are engaged. Our minds don’t function as well, we make poor dietary choices to try to comfort this pressure, and our relationships suffer.
Then there are those of us that use stress to drive our dreams to realization. When it pushes us to get things done, we can see that stress isn’t altogether bad, but it has a price – our ability to fully experience the present, and that’s where the magic is. So, if you can’t (or don’t) turn the stress off, and that pressure feeling is with you more often than not, I urge you (as I urge myself) to stop using the stress factor to get things done. Instead use inspiration.
My mama used to tell me: “You have to do what you have to do, you can do it stressed, or you can do it not stressed. And it feels better to choose the latter.” – Tweet it.
I’ve tried my whole life to choose “not stressed,” and most of the time it works to just choose. But, sometimes we need help to escort that choice into reality.
Here are five ways to de-stress that actually work.
1. Take supplements that support a healthy mental state. I used to think that taking supplements to decrease my stress levels was kinda cheating, like I wasn’t really doing the work or something. Anyway, that’s total BS and there are tons of great supplements out there that make a profound difference and are also nutrients, so, unlike a Xanax, they’re actually good for you.
Here are six things worth considering from my husband, Dr. Peter Borten:
- A B vitamin complex. When we are stressed we tap our B vitamin supply.
- Omega 3 fats. Found in things like fish oil and oily seafood, chia seed, walnuts, omega 3 eggs, hemp seed, sesame seed or tahini, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and flax seed. Omega 3’s are an integral building block of our brain and nerves, and they appear to help cognitive function and mood.
- Magnesium. Magnesium deficiency is abundant, and it’s challenging to get enough out of food alone. It’s also tapped when we’re stressed. Try Natural Calm or another dissolvable form.
- Theanine. This amino acid is calming to our nervous system. Most people benefit from 200 milligrams twice a day.
- Adaptagens. These herbs help us adapt to the all kinds of stressors. Some great ones are: Rhodiola, Ashwagandha, Tulsi, Syberian Ginseng (Eleotherococcus), and Schizandra.
- Bupleurum. This is a central herb in Chinese medicine because of its efficiency at releasing stagnant chi. When we’re stressed, we’re often clenching and holding – this promotes free flow again.
2. Have Fun. This is often one of the first things to go out the window when we’re stressed, or maybe we’re stressed because we’ve totally devalued having fun. Either way – it’s time to bring it back into daily life.
Whether you’re a mama of three, a single lawyer, or a traveling sales rep for Snookie’s Sugar Shop, playing is essential. Repeat: playing is essential. You have to let yourself be free, enjoy, and to let loose every once in awhile. There are no rules that you can’t jump on a big trampoline, dance around the house, or take time to finger paint just because you’re an adult.
If you’re out of practice, it’s okay. Just commit to finding something fun to do every day for a week – it’s like riding a bike, you’ll find the balance.
3. Exercise. I wrote this blog about the importance of exercise, but I think it’s important to mention it again. Moving your body helps move stagnant thoughts and feelings. It also releases feel good chemicals – endorphins. Turn up your music and move.
4. Make healthy food choices. The temptation to eat comfort food, and a lot of it, when we’re stressed is high. But foods like sugar, white flour, processed foods, hydrogenated oils, deep fried foods, and fatty red meats , all have the potential to cause internal inflammation, which is adding stress to your body.
I’m not a huge proponent of trying to do some crazy diet when you’re already feeling stressed. Instead I suggest adding in more good things until you’ve edged out the crap. Here are some great options: spinach, avocados, almonds, yellow fin tuna, green beans, oatmeal, dark leafy greens, wild rice, broccoli, peppers, blueberries, mushrooms, green tea, olive and coconut oils.
Take breaks to eat. How you eat, is just as important as what you eat. Slow down, pay attention to your food, make it an enjoyable experience.
5. YOU time. Reconnecting with yourself every day helps you refill your reserves. When we’re stressed we tap every ounce of energy that we have, so refueling daily is important. Create time to meditate, take a bath, write in your journal, be in nature, breathe clean air, put your feet on the earth, get a massage, do some yoga, read a novel or whatever fills you up.
If you need permission to get started – it’s officially granted. If you release your stress, you’ll be able to show up and be your full loving self in every situation. That’s what the world needs.
Scroll down to the comments and tell me what your first step will be in decreasing your stress.