When I feel stressed out, I feel all throughout my body - so it's imperative to combat it.
You can be eating well, but if your mind isn’t on the same wavelength, you’ll never feel your best. It’s a mutualistic relationship - if you’re stressed, it will affect your gut and digestive health. For me, if I have anxiety, I feel it all in my stomach to the point that I don’t even want to eat on the off-chance that I’ll get sick. On the flip-side, your gut health directly affects your mood too. It’s a balancing act that I know I’ll be working on for my entire life, but it’s a worthy cause!
Combating stress is a major thing that so many people struggle with. Most of us really don’t know how to balance work and personal life, and I hate to say it, but it’s one of my worst problems. When everything came to a head and I felt worn down beyond function years ago, I had to force myself to stop thinking about work after hours, and learn how to be more present at home… and that wasn’t just for me! I needed to be more mentally present in Jade’s life, too, and not be worried about work while spending quality time with each other. Everyone in your life will appreciate a more balanced version of yourself - and yes, counter-intuitively, that includes the people you work with and for.
For me, it took awhile to find out what works to de-stress, as it might for you too. I resisted meditation for so long… to be frank, my mind just doesn’t shut up. Instead, I slowly started to incorporate quiet time wherever I could - even if it was just pausing for a moment in a corner of the bathroom or in my closet. Now, I find that sort of mindfulness in many activities. In your daily routine, take notice of what things bring you the most joy and peace. Your time for mindfulness can be anything! Here are a few of my favorite ways to feel grounded and calm every single day - and maybe some of them might help you combat stress, too.
Taking Bruno for a quiet and relaxing walk. My animals are my happy place. Being able to take Bruno out on a quiet walk is such a great time for me to decompress. I used to sometimes look at it as a chore that stressed me out a bit - I'd think, I have to rush through this to get back to work - but now I've flipped that idea on its head.
The act of cooking a meal for my family (without the cameras!) Cooking really is my ultimate form of meditation. It's a creative act that's full of love. Baking, in particular, is very therapeutic to me - which is probably why when quarantine began, I couldn't stop baking constantly!
Drawing a bath at the end of a long day. Is there anything more relaxing? Curate a lovely environment for yourself - with music and candles, if you like - and just allow yourself some solid time to soak in the hot water. It gets your body ready for sleep and, for me, it helps feel like the stresses of the day are literally "washing away".
A skincare routine. This might sound a little silly, but bear with me. Everyone makes fun of me for how long my nighttime skincare routine takes, but it's not just about the wellness of my skin - it's about my wellness, too. It's my daily ritual that gets me relaxed and ready for bed, and it's something really nice I make sure to always do for myself.
Deep breaths. A good way to calm down is just taking a deep breath through your stomach. A good belly breath! It's the expansion of allowing yourself to let go, breathe into your stomach. So many of us, especially women, were always taught to "suck it in" - stop sucking it in, ladies! Let it out, really relax, and work it out. Let your whole stomach expand with your breath. It gets everything flowing in your body and reminds you to relax.
Put your feet on the floor and feel them there! When I wake up in the morning, especially if I'm facing a day that brings me a bit of anxiety, I make a point to plant my feet on the ground before I fully get out of bed. It's really just a grounding technique - I plant my feet there and I feel and notice them while taking a few deep breaths. It takes just a minute, but it kicks off my day with a better mindset.
Move your body - even if it's something super low impact and simple. Exercise can be one of those daunting things that’s always changing trends, but listen - you don’t need to commit to any kind of class, gym membership, or super involved regimen. My doctor literally told me once to just do some jumping jacks when I’m feeling stressed out - or even just shake my body and do a dance! (Feeling a little silly is a good thing sometimes!) On a scientific level, when you’re full of anxiety, your body is experiencing a biological fight-or-flight response to a situation. Making yourself work out in some capacity raises your heart rate and literally takes you out of that mindset.
What are some of your favorite ways to combat stress every day? Let us know in the comments below!