By Jen Gendron: Health & Wellness Coach, PTS/FIS
We all experience stress in our lives to varying degrees. A little bit of stress in our lives is actually healthy – it helps to move us forward and pushes us out of our comfort zones. Excessive amounts of stress however have just the opposite effect. Unfortunately, in today’s busy world, most of us are feeling the weight of incredible amounts of stress in our lives and we are just not sure how to get out from under it. While the “fight or flight” response is a healthy one designed to protect the human body from dangerous situations by either fleeing or fighting to protect ourselves, in today’s society, we are trapped in “fight or flight” mode much of our time.
Personally, I succumbed to the affects of stress last year when I experienced a complete burn out after an extended period of extreme stress combine with pushing myself too hard. It left me feeling exhausted and run down and had a major impact on the functional of my thyroid and adrenals. I have spent the last year making conscious changes to help overcome it. It has not been easy – as a Type-A personality, making the conscious effort to slow down from time to time and put myself first has been difficult but slowly, I am making the changes needed to live a healthy life and I am feeling better because of it.
I wanted to share with you some of my top tips so that you too can begin to make the changes that will help to free you from the negative effects of stress in your life.
When we are under the effects of extreme stress, we often don’t feel we have time to take care of ourselves because there are so many “more important” things we need to do. In fact, just the opposite is true, and this is the time when we should be working hard to take care of ourselves the most. The saying “you can’t pour from an empty cup” is what I use to describe to my clients why it is so important to schedule time for yourself no matter what else is happening in your life. By taking the time to care for YOU, you will be so much better equipped to take care of those around you. Here are a few of my favorite “stress-busting” tips for self-care:
1. Get Enough Sleep – This one is huge and unfortunately, hugely ignored! Being sleep deprived is extremely hard on the body leaving us physically depleted, mentally drained and overall feeling miserable! Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep each night for the greatest health benefits.
2. Learn to Say NO – One of the biggest sources of stress in today’s world is our crazy, busy schedules. We have gotten ourselves so overscheduled that “down time” feels like a waste of time and we constantly feel we need to “do more”. By saying “no” to things you are not 100% interested in doing, you open up time in your schedule for the self-care you so desperately need. It is hard at first, but over time it gets easier and is a very freeing habit to get in to.
3. Move Your Body Daily – Physical activity will not only help you to manage your stress levels, it will keep your body healthy and your mind clear. Take some time each day to exercise in a way that you enjoy.
4. Focus on the Positive – We are bombarded in today’s society with all of the negative things – in the news, online and even in our day to day discussions. When was the last time you took the time to consciously focus on the positive? There are many ways to do this, but my favorite is by keeping a gratitude journal. Pick a time (usually either at the start of your day or as you finish your day) to write down three things you are grateful for every day. By taking the time to focus on the positive, you will shift your mindset and set yourself up for success.
5. Connect With Others – When we are overscheduled and stressed out we often disconnect ourselves from family and friends, too busy to enjoy some “down time” which is so vitally important to our health. So book a girls’ night with friends or a day trip with your family, something you enjoy that gets you “unplugged” and engaged and sharing a few laughs – it is good for the mind, body and the soul!
These are just a few of the many ways you can de-stress and take care of yourself. If you would like to learn more, message me here to request to request your copy of my “22 Ways to Take Care of You” guide for more practical ideas and suggestions you can apply right away or download my 10 Tips to Reducing Stress Guide by clicking here.
Commit today to make just one small change that is manageable for you and each week, make another small change. You will be amazed at how good you feel once you start to implement these changes in to your life one small step at a time!
To connect with me and receive ongoing tips on reducing stress, healthy eating and physical activity, join my private Facebook group “Healthy Living for Busy Women” by clicking here.