I have a confession… I’m stressed. There, I said it. I have been moving too fast, taking on too much and not taking my own advice for too long.
As a parent, wife, household manager, business owner, friend, daughter, sister, etc, etc, etc, I strive to find balance in my life, and yet it slips away so quickly that I can rarely maintain it, so I asked the Universe for some insight and it came to me last month… I simply need to slow down and not do as much that requires so much energy.
I need to say no more. Gasp.
I so need to enjoy these nuggets more… and be more present for them and with them…. I mean, look at those faces!!
I want to enjoy Zack, my youngest sons last year of preschool before he hits kindergarten next year… and I want to show up and be present for Ben in this his second year of school (he starts today!) as well as for his sporting events. And most importantly at least 2 times/week get a great family dinner on the table when we’re all sitting down together at the same time in the same place with no tears, feet on the table or complaining. Read more, stretch more, and stop going to bed feeling angry and resentful of my life because I didn’t have a second for ME time.
Because guess who’s in charge of this stuff? Oh ya, that would be me!
In light of these recent discoveries and musings, I’m committing to making life simpler as we head into the busiest season of the year (lots of work functions, business events, school / sports / fall starting).
I’m planning to get more bang for my buck so to speak and put energy into things that give me larger returns… this includes taking my work week down to 4 days. So unless it’s totally unavoidable, I will no longer be working Fridays. I’ll also be doing less blogging – still will be here but will be less frequent. Smarter client work is also on this list, meaning that I am taking on less of the smaller type of projects and being much wiser as to where I’m putting my energy and how it relates to my long-range goals.
That feels good to share.
The final insight I have had in order to restore some balance in my life is that I need to ACTIVELY engage in relaxing. I know, sounds weird, right? I have been reading more and more about this and it totally makes sense, especially for someone like me that has a constant full plate and then complains because I never get a second to sit down. I’m putting myself back in control and will be following some of this advice in this great article from Mind Body.
So, as we head into this very busy push to the end of the year – join me in making just one or two small changes that will bring you big results to move more towards the pace you desire internally.
10 Natural Tips To Beat Chronic Stress
Eliminating mind-robbing molecules like caffeine, alcohol, and refined sugars and eating regularly can help you avoid the short-term stress of starvation on your body. You maintain an even-keeled mindset throughout the day, even when things get hectic.
You’ll replace those foods with clean protein, healthy fats, leafy and cruciferous vegetables, berries and non-gluten grains. Food is information that controls your gene expression, hormones and metabolism. When you eat the right foods, you balance blood sugar, restore hormonal balance and reduce stress’s damaging impact.
Stress is a thought, a perception of a threat, even if it isn’t real. That’s it. No more, no less. If that’s true, then we have complete control over stress, because it’s not something that happens to us but something that happens in us.
Here’s where it become interesting. Stressors can be real or perceived. You might imagine your spouse is angry with you. Whether or not they are, you raise stress levels. Real or imagined, when you perceive something as stressful, it creates the same response in the body.
Fortunately, a wide variety of techniques and tools can help effectively manage stress. Among them, these 10 are most beneficial:
1. Address the underlying biological causes of stress.
Find the biological causes of problems with the mind including mercury toxicity, magnesium and vitamin B12 deficiencies, and gluten allergies. Changing your body can change your mind.
2. Begin actively relaxing.
Humans remain primed to always do something. Even when we’re not working, our mind is on work. To engage the powerful forces of the mind on the body, you must do something relaxing. You can’t just sit there watching television or drinking beer. Whether that means deep breathing or a simple leisurely walk, find active relaxation that works for you and do it.
3. Learn new skills.
Try learning new skills such as yoga, biofeedback, and progressive muscle relaxation or take a hot bath, make love, get a massage, watch a sunset, or walk in the woods or on the beach.
4. Make movement your drug.
Exercise is a powerful, well-studied way to burn off stress chemicals and heal the mind. Studies show exercise works better than or equal to pharmaceutical drugs for treating depression. Try interval training if you’re short on time but want a powerful, intense workout.
Take a multivitamin and nutrients to help balance the stress response, such as vitamin C; the B-complex vitamins, including B6 and B5 or pantothenic acid; zinc; and most important, magnesium, the relaxation mineral.
6. Reframe your point of view.
Challenge your beliefs, attitudes, and responses to common situations and reframe your point of view to reduce stress.
7. Find a community.
Consciously build your network of friends, family and community. They’re your most powerful allies in achieving long-term health.
8. Take care of your vagus nerve by using deep breaths.
Most of us hold our breath often or breathe swallow, anxious breaths. Deep, slow, full breaths have a profound affect on resetting the stress response, because the relaxation nerve (or vagus nerve) goes through your diaphragm and is activated with every deep breath. Take five deep breaths now. See how differently you feel?
No matter how much or little time you have to commit, find a practice that works for you.
Lack of sleep increases stress hormones. Get your eight hours no matter what. Take a nap if you missed sleep. Prioritize it, and if you feel like you’re not getting high-quality shut-eye, find strategies to improve it.
What one technique or strategy would you add to this list to manage stress levels? Share yours below or on my Facebook page.
Photo Credit: Getty Images