Managing Stress in a Crazy World

The past two and half years have felt like a constant roller coaster.  And that takes a toll on the body.
It started with 2 years straight of juggling a full time job, school, my husband and my friends and family as well as keeping my house in some sort of order.  After school finished there was co-op to arrange and finish which I did just in the nick of time.  During co-op, I had a weirdest flare up of my skin.  I had a severe allergic reaction to something, which took weeks to get under control.  I tried everything from detoxing to antihistamines to prednisone.  And then there were odd food intolerances.  Nothing really worked.  I finally went to my Chinese medicine doctor.  He gave me some herbs, told me I had too my fire in my stomach and to stay away from spices, alcohol and red meat for 2 weeks.  I did.  And my skin and food intolerances finally cleared up and stayed that way.
Even though the symptoms were gone, I was left worn out both physically and mentally.  After almost 3 years of being on “high alert”, life is finally calming down.  It’s still really busy and exciting and kind of scary (starting a new business usually is), but it’s the kind of stress I can handle… the positive kind.
So what do you do when life never quits?  There are numerous options.
  • I highly recommend meditation.  Even 10 minutes every morning can help “reset” your mind.  If you start the day calm and focused, the stressors won’t do as much damage.  I also recommend another 5 or 10 minutes of meditation just before you go to sleep.  It will help you shut your mind off and have a more restorative sleep.
  • Exercise is an amazing stress reliever.  Some of my favourites are listed below:
  • Yoga is a wonderful form of exercise.  It helps with focus, strength, flexibility.  It runs the gambit from gentle, restorative yoga to intense, hot yoga and everything in between.  You can have private lessons or join a group.  You can even do it by yourself at home.  There are yoga postures which target certain areas of your body, as well as postures to help get you moving in the morning or relax you at night.
  • Walking … especially in nature, whether it’s by the lake or in the woods, is very restorative.  You can stroll or powerwalk or something in between.  So whether you prefer to walk by yourself, with a friend or with music, just getting out and being active is a great stress reliever.
  • Strength training and cardio both work to get the blood flowing and the sense of accomplishment you get from pushing your body can be so empowering, as long as you remember you are competing against no one.  If you’re really stressed, the last thing you need to be doing is putting more pressure on yourself.
Regardless of what form of exercise you do … make sure you’re enjoying yourself or it just becomes another form of stress in your life.  Only you truly know what works best for you.
  • Daily journaling is amazing.  It took a very long time for my health coach to convince me that this would help me.  I’m more of a talker than I am a writer but there truly is something about writing down how you feel that is very freeing.  Another option for journaling is a gratitude journal.  Write down everything you are grateful each day.  There will be certain things that are repetitive. That’s good.  But the idea is to focus on the positive.
  • Talk therapy.  This helped me work through a lot of my stresses.  In talking about what’s bothering me, I’ve had these great revelations about what’s important, about what’s really bothering me.  I recommend talking to someone you trust who will not judge you … whether it’s a friend, family member or a professional, we all need someone to talk to sometimes.
  • Sex. Yes … I said it.  Sex is one of THE best stress busters out there.  As long as there’s no pressure and you’re just enjoying yourself.  It doesn’t matter whether sex is short and sweet or a long session of love-making.  It doesn’t matter whether it’s with a partner or by yourself … whether you have an orgasm or not.  The point is to relax and enjoy.  It shouldn’t be “another thing on my already crazy long list of things to do”.  It should be time out for something enjoyable.
  • Nutrition … you had to know that as a nutritionist I was saving the best for last.  A healthy diet consisting of lots of fresh fruits and vegetables (preferably organic), lean meat, fish, poultry, eggs, nuts and seeds, healthy fats (like coconut and avocado), lots of clean, filtered water and yes … even the occasional healthy (refined sugar and grain free) treat like the ones included in my blog, goes a long way to helping you deal with stress.  Of course everyone is different and you must be careful of food intolerances.  If you can tolerate grains, make sure they’re whole grains.  If you can tolerate dairy, I recommend goat and sheep or if you have to use cow products, at least try to make sure they are organic grass fed and hormone and antibiotic free.
  • Hand in hand with nutrition is supplementation.  Keep in mind that they are called supplements for a reason.  You can’t expect to eat an unhealthy diet full of refined sugars, grains and dairy and then make up for deficiencies with a ton of supplements.  It just doesn’t work that way.
Before embarking on any supplementation program, you really should consult with a nutritionist or naturopath to ensure that you are targeting those nutrients that you are likely deficient in.  We will advise what to take, how much to take and the brands you should be using, always being mindful of your budget.
One of the biggest mistakes people make is they buy cheap supplements and then think that all supplements are useless because the cheap ones contain so many fillers and very little actual active ingredient and they don’t receive any benefit from them.
If you’re under a lot of stress and want help, please contact me. I’d love to help you manage your stress.

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