Stress seems to be a daily part of our existence. Even before we had a global pandemic that was causing underlying anxiety, we seem to be addicted to stress. I wore stress like a badge of honor for years, bragging that I was so exhausted that I ate a bag of cookies and drank a bottle of wine to decompress at the end of the day. Even though I was teaching and practicing yoga almost daily, it wasn't enough to calm my nerves. I needed more practices in my day that would relieve the build up tension in my nervous system. But I also realized that the idea of meditating for 30 minutes or journaling every morning felt intimidating.... and I knew if it felt overwhelming, I wasn't going to do it. So I needed effective ways to decrease stress that were also quick and easy.
Now, I help my clients re-think what it means to de-stress, and provide them with skills and techniques to weave into their daily routine that feel do-able and don't take long. Some of my favorites are below, but if you want more ideas on how to keep your overwhelm down and your energy up, download the FREE "Burn Bright" Guide that will share how to prevent burnout so you can burn bright every day!
Sniff some essential oils. I have recently become obsessed with essential oils as a way to change my mood and connect with my sense of smell. We know that certain smells can affect our hormones. Any mom who has ever held her baby can tell you about the hormone cascade that happens when we smell our child. We also know that people can be triggered by smells that were present when they experienced a traumatic event. So it makes sense that smells can also produce a positive emotional effect on the body. Lavender is one of the most common oils that people reference for stress relief. But according to Medical News Today, other oils that may be effective include bergamot orange, camomile, and sage. I personally love doTERRA's ClaryCalm for
Take supplements to support gut health and mood. There is increasing evidence that shows the connection between the gut and the brain. In one study, scientists found that people who took probiotics reported lower rates of anxiety and depression. Other supplements such as Omega-3 fatty acids, ashwagandha, Vitamin D, and Magnesium have also been shown to positively impact mood. As with any supplements, it is good to consult a doctor before adding something new to your routine.
Write down your worries. One of my favorite ways to decrease stress is to get things out of my brain and onto paper. The Brain Dump activity in the "Burn Bright" Guide is a great activity for doing this. It helps to decipher what you have control over and what you don't, which allows you to focus on things you can do something about.
Move your body. I'm sure by now, you have heard about all of the benefits that exercise has on stress. From releasing "happy endorphins" in your brain to helping prevent insomnia, physical activity is one of the best things to do to prevent stress. The key is finding something that you enjoy so you will do it regularly.
Smile. There is something to be said for the old "fake it til you make it" idea. The Vagus Nerve is a major player in activating your "fight or flight" response, and one of the branches of the nerve is connected to your facial muscles. So even if you are fake smiling, the nerves in your face transmit information to your brain that you are happy and keep you in "rest and digest".
Even though stress and anxiety are normal parts of everyday life, there are many ways to keep the negative effects at bay. If you need more support in decreasing stress and finding more fulfillment in your life... reach out! I would love to hear from you.