The Lifestyle

Happy YOU Year! Week 6

February 7, 2016

Are you stressed?  Who ISNT, right? There are two kinds of stress.  One is typical, daily stuff that keeps us on our toes or makes us worry a little bit.  This type of stress is just a part of life and our bodies and minds are meant to handle it.  An example of this would be a final exam or an upcoming public speaking event. The second type of stress is the keep-you-up-at-night kind of stress that doesnt stop.  These are often on-going and unrelenting!

Sometimes these are life events, but ones that involve a deeper level of emotion and a big portion of our time and energy.  Examples of this type of stress include prolonged illness, care for an elderly family member, divorce, hideous boss, etc.  This second kind of stress is also a part of life, but its unrelenting nature is catabolic (it breaks down the body).  This level of stress is the #1 cause of illness in many people and thought to be the cause of 90% of all common ailments and degenerative diseases.

If you have ongoing stress, it is important to use relaxation techniques like breathing, meditation or guided imagery to help you cope and relieve it.  Relaxation is different than exercise.  While exercise delivers a stress-busting component, it is not relaxation. A bath. A nap. Reading a book that is relaxation!  Your pulse is low, your mind is clear and you feel good.

Tips and Tricks to Promote Relaxation

Tension and stress often build up inside of our bodies before we begin to feel its outward effects.  Listen to your body and recognize when you are beginning to feel stressed so that you can take action before you are overwhelmed.  Here are a few tips for keeping stress in check:

Practice meditation or breathing exercises.  There are some great apps out there that can help you integrate meditation, even just for 5 minutes a day, into our daily life.  Stop, Breathe & Think is a favorite!  Take a yoga or tai chi class.  Get out in nature, breathe fresh air and feel the sun on your skin.  Block off time on your calendar for breaks during the day (YES, this is ok!).  Use the time to: eat lunch, go for a walk, take a nap, listen to guided meditation, read a book, stretch, pull weeds in the yard, get a massage, pedicure or some other form of pampering.  Ask for help with daunting tasks when you need it, such as childcare or prioritizing work.  Find a hobby that you enjoy and make time for it at least weekly!

Taking this critical time for yourself will help you reduce your stress levels and feel more balanced and joyful in your life!

Blog contributor:

Gennis Lafayette, N.C.

Certified Holistic Nutrition Consultant

Bar Method Teacher, Palo Alto & San Mateo