I just realized that as much as I love to talk about health and fitness, I’ve never talked about a huge obstacle we all encounter (big or small), or watch how it effects someone (in big or small ways). It’s a six letter word I try to avoid as much as possible, but it totally finds ways to get to me and people I know. I’m talking about stress.
And it stinks.
It basically eats you up from the inside without you even knowing it. Next thing you know you aren’t breathing right, your skin is doing weird things, your appetite is all over the place, you can’t sleep, you down a bag of Tostitos hint of lime chips in record time, same goes for dark chocolate covered espresso beans, and you can’t seem to focus or laugh at Seinfeld reruns as much as you used to. Ok, I’m talking about what happens to me. But hopefully you get my point.
So yes. I get stressed too.
As much as I do my best to avoid it like pink eye, it gets me. Sometimes in little ways, sometimes in ways that feel unbearable.
So I thought it’s about damn time I talk about my favorite ways to kick stress to the curb.
Note: My absolute favorite way to destress was to go to the beach, and get in the water in some shape or form (even if it’s just my toes). This is not doable for me anymore. So don’t worry, these solutions are not geographically sensitive whatsoever.
Here you go. A few ways to kick stress to the curb:
Workout – This probably comes as no surprise that this is one of my favorite ways to destress. Moving, breaking a sweat, it just gets the gunk out of your system, clears my head, and kind of helps me put things into perspective. Ready, set…YAY YOGA. Also, a medicine ball workout is particularly amazing on a really bad day. Boxing too. I Miiiiiiiight just need to invest in a bag, and gloves. A good ‘ol run or walk with some good tunes is a tried and true relief as well.
Breathe – Yes, that thing you do without realizing it. Well, when you get really stressed, you do it wrong, and miss out on the juicy, medicinal and therapeutic wonder known as a good deep breath. Seriously. Stop, close your eyes and breathe in through your nose as long as you can, (filling up your belly), then slowly breath out through your mouth. Yum. You can also google a bunch of breathing exercises to try, or there are a few apps. Here’s one I do that’s helped me a TON, especially when my darn monkey brain wont shut off at night. Breathe in your nose for a count of one, then out of your mouth for 1 count, then in for 2, out for 2, work your way up to 8 seconds in and 8 seconds out, then work your way back down to one. It’s like a deep breath breathing ladder. Ahhhhh.
Sniff Some Good Stuff – Certain herbs and scents really do have a calming effect. Anything Lavender or Eucalyptus tends to be my jam. (If only life could smell like a spa in Scottsdale 24/7.) I’ve become a big fan of This Works – Mainly their Stress Check Breathe In Roller ball. It’s full of (you guessed it) Eucalyptus, Frankincense and Lavender oils. And awesomeness. I keep it on my bedside table and in my carry on when I travel. The Stress Check Hair Elixir and Deep Sleep Pillow Spray are also pretty darn brilliant. I’m sure there’s some easy DIY’s and recipes for anti stress mixtures, but sometimes it’s easier, (and less stressful) to just buy a rollerball some experts created instead.
Unplug – As much as I love Social media and the doors it’s opened for me, it can also turn into a total beast in the stress department for us all in different ways. I could write a whole post on this one alone. But sometimes thinking about it too much…makes me stressed out. It’s amazing how much better I feel when my phone dies, or I get zero service or wifi. So, I take that little hint, and unplug for a few hours, or a day. Ironically, anyone I’m around appreciates it as well.
Get Crafty – There’s a reason I call my painting time art therapy – Making or creating something with your two hands is an amazing stress relief. For me it’s my watercolors, or somedays it can be taking scissors to old jeans or an old tee and making some cutoffs or a tank. Grab some beads and make a bracelet, grab and adult coloring book. Finally do a DIY you saw on pinterest. Bob Ross never appeared stressed did he? Maybe it was the beard, maybe it was the paint thinner, maybe it was the happy little trees. Good job Bob.
Slack Key Guitar – I pretty much have my Slack Key Guitar Pandora Station on in our place 24/7. I am actually listening to it right now as I type this. Start your own station. Thank me later. Any music without lyrics has a special way of kicking stress to curb…without saying a single word. If it reminds me of being back in Hawaii, consider it a Chuck Norris in an Aloha shirt stress curb kick.
Don’t Binge Eat or Drink a Ton – I’ve tried both. Didn’t help. And I actually felt worse afterwards. However, I have found that having a bag of mini carrots in the fridge at all times does help because I am a big time crunchy stuff stress eater. Jalapeno Kettle chips or Tostitos hint of lime chips..be afraid. Be very afraid. A bunch of mini carrots does do the trick when you are so stressed you feel like you could chew a hole in the wall.
Keep Things in Perspective – I know, easier said than done. But I’ve found that taking a step back, realizing theres a whole lotta crap in life you have zero control over, inhaling calm thoughts and exhaling all that other junk, does help. Don’t beat yourself up if you are stressed, or if your to do list is looking like an infinity sign (Mine lately). Know things will get better, that everyone hurts, worries, is human and not nearly as perfect as they seem.
and last but not least…
Get Outside – Fresh air. It’s nature’s 100% free and 102% reliable stress relief. I might even bump it up to 110% if you leave all technology at home or in the car. There’s even a prescription for it.
So next time Stress decides to show up to crash my happy laid back life party, I’ll be ready to break a sweat, make some cutoffs, not beat myself up, grab some mini carrots, shut off my phone, sniff some eucalyptus, take a deep breath, or listen to some alack key guitar.
I actually like the sound of doing all of that in a day actually.
Going to give it a shot.
Hope this helped a bit.