There is no getting away from it. Stress is just part and parcel of todays modern busy world, and surrounds some of us like a toxic cloud. Unless your on some exotic island eating the most antioxidant foods nature has? Breathing the cleanest of air then your life has stress in some form. Mine certainly does, from waking nightly to the sounds of roaring toddlers. Then running to nursery with my top inside out because we were late AGAIN! Also the stress any one feels running their own business and wondering am I good enough(I am by the way but we all have moments of self doubt
Of course a certain level of stress is important. The caveman had his fair share back in the day. Catching his dinner whilst running away from a tiger. And we thought we had it bad! Now that is a reason to be stressed!. Although for the majority of us, our reactions to situations, how we take care of our health and well being are major contributes to the stress in our lives.
The issue today is we are in a constant state of stress. Stressed from traffic, exercise, work, childcare, our self confidence, our health etc . Were one big ball of stress. Taking action to reduce these everyday stresses is a practice. Unfortunately we cant just manifest our wishes and they come through. (I do love a full moon manifest from my rooftop). There has to be positive action also involved.
A couple of practices that have helped me are simple techniques such as
- Keep a journal or diary of the days events that have stressed you out. Reflect back on these for a few minutes every evening. Was there something you could have done differently? Would it have changed the outcome if you had reacted differently. Learn from it! Our brain is capable of so much but like every habit formed it has to be done repetitively for it to become an automatic reaction without thoughts.
- Look to keep the angry monster at bay by keeping your blood sugar levels balanced. Start the day with a source of protein. Protein is so important for keeping our moods and hormones in check. A couple of recipes I share with my clients are Egg muffins(which can be made the night before and kept for 3 days). Plain Greek yogurt with flaxseeds and fruit another great example. Oats are also a great anabolic food and veggie source of protein so porridge with some flaxseeds and fruit.
- Take some time everyday to fit something in that brings you joy. Going for a walk at lunchtime, reading on the tube, a bedtime hug with your kids having your favorite coffee, going for a run. Its the small things that matter most. Most of my clients come to me for just that. They need an outlet through fitness, food and mindset. Have something planned no matter how small that brings you joy, boosting happy hormones, and reminding us that stress does not have to rule our lives if we choose not to let it.
- Pack your plate with colours of the rainbow. Dark greens, red, yellow. All these veggies are packed full of antioxidants that keep illness at bay when stress takes over. Our immune system can be severely depleted when stressed. So help your body to fight back with an army of antioxidants. Aim to fill half your plate with these amazing troopers.
- Keep alcohol to a minimum. I can hear the sighs already. I am with you guys and feel your pain. I love a big glass of red to unwind but when alcohol becomes a crutch for stress then I hear the warning signs. It was something I did after having my kids, and loved to stretch out with an episode of poldark with a big glass of red. But next day I always was tired, cranky, stressed!! So I cut it out for a month to break the habit and it really made a difference to how I dealt with my daily stressors. It leaches vitamins and minerals from your body and lets be honest we need all the goodness we can get.
I hope that by reading this you have taken some small steps you can implement. By including little action daily we can make positive changes in our life.