Can you guess what I am going to say? If you are thinking sleep, you are close! And nearly correct, but I am putting my finger on the root of the problem, which also disrupts sleep: Stress.
Stress is defined as a constraining force or influence. That is it. Just a force. But now, how can this force call for so many problems? When we are stressed our capillaries constrict, our thought processes are interrupted, focus is lost, we either reach for sugar and can’t touch food, sleep goes out the window, perhaps cholesterol levels go up, along with blood sugar and blood pressure, and geesh! We forget to breath. Yet, I know I am not addressing anything new, but the reminder this post serves to cope successfully with stress is needed; especially around the holiday season.
What are your go-to mechanisms for coping with stress? Do you call your mom? Does that do you worse? Do you go on a walk? Drink tea or water? Watch a comedy? Run? Walk? If you said yes, to any of the above, you are on a great path. But what other simple things can help you de-stress and reach your best health? How about some of these ideas?
- While in Australia I had the pleasure of meeting with an inspiring lady who was a psychologist. We had a chat about the mad increase in anxiety currently being experienced by the common person. What is the cause? Well, there are probably a hundred things including technology, which makes us all feel like we need to know everything about everything. But the important thing to spend time on, is learn how to manage anxiety. This lady suggested for people to listen to their breathing, yet, quite often this can cause more stress. As a second recommendation, or perhaps first, she tells her patients to take 3 deep breaths every day. Or maybe twice a day. No matter what, whenever someone thinks of it, take 3 deep breaths, and soon one will find out their anxiety is less overall.
- Gratitude. Start every morning by writing down something you are grateful for. This will assist you to practice mindfulness which is much stronger than stress.
- Pay it forward. I think we all understand what it means to “pay it forward,” and in doing this everyone once in a while, allows us to stop and smell the roses and realize whatever race is running through our minds does not have to the tone of our day.
- Use online free resources to help consumers manage stress, steps, food diary, labs and more.
- Journal. Very much like the suggestion to write down one thing you are thankful for, it is also good to journal your thoughts. This is especially handy before bed. With a calm mind, comes a solid sleep.
- Meditate. Using free resources again, iTunes has some free meditation downloads. Take advantage and decide which podcasts works best for you.
- Exercise. Most recently I have been participating in FitGirl’s candlelit yoga sessions and they are just wonderful. I perform yoga poses in ambiance and leave with a clear mind.
Between holiday shopping, cooking and entertainment, take care of yourself with a mind, body approach.
Cheers to you and good health, Kel