We all have stressors in our lives. Some are minor like driving in rush hour, and some are major, maybe an unjust boss or financial struggles. Each and every one of us deals with stress and we all have our own ways of dealing with it. Some of us may not even know we are stressed until our bodies start to tell us otherwise.
I want to dabble into that topic in just a bit, but first I have a few food photos to share with ya’ll. This first one was actually from two nights ago, but it’s a favorite of mine:
The Southwest Salad but with a few minor changes. For one, I used the leftover lentils and black beans from the lentil tacos the other night. The rest of the toppings were virtually the same as always: tomatoes, cheddar cheese, corn, avocado, and a light drizzle of ranch dressing. I will sometimes add onion to this salad but wasn’t feeling the whole onion breath part of that idea so left it out last night. The only thing I forgot to add was cilantro. I even had cilantro in the fridge. Oh well.
A morning smoothie in my new Home Goods coffee mug. I do drink coffee from it as well but thought it was perfect for my smoothies too. Yesterday’s smoothie: Almond milk, banana, vanilla egg white protein powder, peanut butter, a tiny bit of cocoa powder (I’m out of my chocolate protein!), and a large handful of kale.
Lunch was eaten while running errands during break and isn’t worth mentioning. But dinner….that’s a different story.
A while back I bought a Hawaiian marinade by Lawrys. I brought the summer back by brushing this marinade on shrimp and pineapple skewers. I broiled them for a short while, broiled up some broccoli with parmesan cheese for a veggie side, and ended up with a seriously delicious dinner that was SO easy.
The rest of the evening was spent relaxing and watching Glee and Modern Family!
Now, onto this stress talk. I found the top ten stress relievers according to the Mayo Clinic and wanted to see how I was doing personally with containing my stress in comparison to their list. Here we go…
Top 10 stress relievers according to Mayo Clinic
1. Get active
“Physical activity pumps up your feel-good endorphins and refocuses your mind on your body’s movements, improving your mood and helping the day’s irritations fade away.”
I am physically active 6-7 days a week including different activities from yoga, to running, strength training, cross-training, etc. I would say 98% of the time, I feel fabulous after I finish a work out.
“During meditation, you focus your attention and eliminate the stream of jumbled thoughts that may be crowding your mind and causing stress. Meditation instills a sense of calm, peace and balance that benefits both your emotional well-being and your overall health. Guided meditation, guided imagery, visualization and other forms of meditation can be practiced anywhere at any time…”
I’m working on this one. I am reading a book about meditation but I having a hard time getting through it. I like the idea of guided imagery and picturing positive outcomes in stressful situations and would like to work on that more often.
“When you start to laugh, it lightens your mental load and actually causes positive physical changes in your body. Laughter fires up and then cools down your stress response and increases your heart rate and blood pressure, producing a good, relaxed feeling.”
Listen to a comedian, hang out with family and friends, or watch Modern Family. I am guaranteed to giggle.
“Social contact is a good stress reliever because it can distract you, provide support, help you weather life’s up and downs, and make you feel good by doing good.”
I am lucky to have great friends at work who I get to socialize with daily if time permits. I love being with family and friends as well. We help eachother get through the good and the bad times.
5. Assert yourself
“Learn to say no to some tasks or to delegate them.”
Over the years I have been working on this one. I’m learning that it is OK to say no sometimes and be selfish if it means taking care of my well-being. Most of the time, I do like to say yes to social gatherings, but once and a while I can tell when my body is saying no, and I try to listen.
6. Do yoga
“Yoga brings together physical and mental disciplines to achieve peacefulness of body and mind, helping you relax and manage stress and anxiety.”
Oh yes, the wonderful benefits of yoga. This is also a fairly new hobby of mine but I truly do enjoy it and feel it does a great job of relieving stress.
“…Sleep is the time when your brain and body recharge. And the quality and amount of sleep you get affects your mood, energy level, concentration and overall functioning.”
I’m definitely one of those people who needs at least 8 hours of sleep to function at my highest capacity. I’m usually in bed at 10 pm every night. I completely agree with this one.
Writing out thoughts and feelings can be a good release for otherwise pent-up emotions.
Thank you Beautifully Nutty for letting me relieve some stress through my fingertips.
9. Get musical
“Listening to or playing music is a good stress reliever because it provides a mental distraction, reduces muscle tension and decreases stress hormones.”
I like this one, especially if I can dance too.
10. Seek counsel
If new stressors are challenging your ability to cope or if self-care stress relievers just aren’t relieving your stress, you may need to look for reinforcements in the form of professional therapy or counseling. Therapy may be a good idea if stress leaves you feeling overwhelmed or trapped, if you worry excessively, or if you have trouble carrying out daily routines or meeting responsibilities at work, home or school. Professional counselors or therapists can help you identify sources of your stress and learn new coping tools.
I would also like to add “baking” to my stress reliever list. If I am not in a hurry and can leisurely roll out some cookies, it is very therapeutic to me.
There you have it. With the holidays now in full swing, it is easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the season, but remember to relax and remember the true meaning of the celebration. Try some of these stress relievers and come up with some of your own if you need to. Enjoy the season!
Full disclosure: The information for this topic was found on Mayo Clinic’s website at this direct address: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/stressrelievers/MY01373/NSECTIONGROUP=2
Questions of the Day: What helps YOU relieve stress? Would you add anything to this list?