Maintaining Well-Being Through Stressful Times

Unfortunately, stress is just a normal fact of life and there’s really no way around it. The health of our bodies can take a huge hit due to stress especially if we’re already a pretty stressed out person whether it’s because of our job, daily responsibilities, or even our families and friends. However, there are plenty of ways to prepare our body to be able to handle stress in a much healthier way. We all have heard how stress can negatively affect our health and many of us have personally experienced a gut-wrenching stomach ache if we have to get up and give a speech in front of a crowd, get told the big boss wants to meet with us right away and feel our anxiety rising, or even experience the trauma after a car accident. Stress can wreak havoc on our health especially if we have no clue how to manage our stressors in the proper way.

Stress can make or break us depending on how good we are at managing it. Here are my favorite ways to lower our stress impact:

1. Evaluate your caffeine intake. Coffee is one of my own personal favorite beverages and I thoroughly enjoy “my cup of Joe” every morning. However, caffeine, especially in compact forms like coffee, can be an added stressor on the body. I’m not a fan of anyone drinking more than two cups of coffee per day but it’s extremely important for us to recognize that caffeine will raise our cortisol and create a stress response inside of us. If we’re already dealing with outside stress, more importantly, under more stress than usual, it would be a wise move to give your body less caffeine during this time. Sometimes that might mean going down from 2 cups per day to 1 cup or even eliminating it altogether to help your body get through this unfortunate time and come out just as healthy as you began.

2. Practice Deep Breathing. Put yourself in a calm environment, relax, and take a deep breath in through your nose for 4 seconds. Then hold the breath for 7 seconds, and release the breath through your mouth for 8 seconds. There are several variations of deep breathing and it’s extremely helpful at lowering stress so practice it whenever a stressful time is present, do it throughout the day, and even before bed if you’ve been struggling to fall asleep quickly. We have to realize how important de-stressing is when it comes to dealing with excess stress in our lives. The buildup of stress in our lives is harmful to our bodies but we can combat it with this vital lifestyle practice.

3. Get Outside. Being outside is naturally relaxing which is why outdoor sports like hunting, hiking, and fishing are so therapeutic. Our entire being loves the outdoors and all of it’s beauty. It’s a natural stress reliever. That’s why people flock to the gorgeous mountains and/or oceans when they go on vacation or your community gets so excited at watching the first snowfall of the season. We were created to be connected with the earth and enjoy all of its beauty. If the weather permits, go for a morning walk or jog even if it’s chilly–bundle up. The chilled air is great for your skin and being outside is therapeutic for your soul. Some quality outside time daily is just what the doctor ordered to relieve stress in your life.

4. Move. Getting regular movement most days in a week is an AMAZING method for combating stress. Exercise truly liberates our stress response allowing our muscles to adapt to stressful situations and recover in a more efficient way. The effectives of healthy movement helps every area of our bodies giving it energy, a happier mood, better sleep quality, and lymph activity which is extremely important.

5. Sleep Enough. We’re living in a world where over caffeinating and under sleeping is the norm and it’s really making us sick. While I’m totally an all or nothing girl and I feel like you should “go big or go home”, this mantra that we can sleep when we’re dead is not the code we should live by. Getting good, quality sleep is just as important, if not more important than eating the right foods, exercising, and drinking enough water, etc. Sleep is a gamechanger for people that are trying to get healthy. You can be doing all of the right things but if you’re not getting quality sleep, the health is not going to happen. Get those wonderful zzzz’s and if you’re struggling in this area, look into #ntpjeana for some helpful tips.

6. Do Something Relaxing. Sadly, it’s very common in today’s society to live overwhelmed and we all know stress alone can make us sick. We were created to handle a certain amount of quick stressors in life and be able to recover from them once they are gone, however, now days we’re living with constant stress that doesn’t go away for a long time if at all. We must combat every day stressors with stress relieving methods so we can go about our days in a healthier state of mind. It’s important to do something relaxing for yourself every day. I’m talking about practicing deep breathing (YouTube it if you’re unsure of what this is), sitting in a quiet room, sipping some kombucha while you listen to soft music and journal three things you’re grateful for that day, or even taking a warm, Epsom salt bath. Whatever you like to do to destress and try to clear your mind and relax yourself, be sure to do it as often as you can. Another way to combat stress is regular movement which we’ve already discussed but that’s just another wonderful reason to get busy with it.

7. Drink Water & Stay Away From Inflammatory Foods. WATER! WATER! WATER! I used to loathe water back when I only drank liquids with tons of sugar in them and ate foods that were highly processed. Everything unhealthy tasted SO good and therefore, making everything that was healthy taste like dirt. It wasn’t until I cleaned up my diet that my taste buds changed and actually enjoyed the taste of real, whole foods and yes, even water. Now, I’m a soda water gal and love me some carbonated water but that’s incredibly better than my soda chugging days. So be sure to get that water in……sure, you’ll be peeing more often at first but just think of how refreshing your organs will feel when they flush that cool watery goodness through themselves. Clean water is the number one deficiency in America because we’re just not drinking it the way we should be. Steering clear of those processed foods that cause inflammation is one of the most challenging goals most people face today. Processed foods are a huge money-making market and food companies use chemicals, bad oils, tons of sugar, and fake flavors to keep us addicted and coming back for more. It’s time to break the cycle and avoid unhealthy oils, processed sugar, and grains which are the leading causes of most common diseases today. Switching to a whole food diet was the best decision I could ever make for myself.

8. Supplement With Vitamin D if you’re deficient. For every client that works with me, I encourage them to get their vitamin D levels checked. Every single client I’ve had has been deficient. It’s important to not only supplement with vitamin D if you’re deficient, but also to get outside and get some good ole sunshine even if it’s cloudy out. The sun will still find you. I encourage you to get outside without sunglasses because your eyes also benefit from vitamin D and get those levels checked by your doctor. Your doctor is trained to not worry about vitamin D deficiency unless your level is below 30 but true healthy vitamin D levels should be closer to the 60’s & 70’s. So get outside in between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. to get the most potent Vitamin D the sun can offer you and talk with your levels checked.

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