Stress. Until last week, I believed stress was a concept invented by people who lacked the skills to cope with life. Close-minded, I now know. My life hasn’t been all roses. I’ve stepped in my fair share of manure along the way. However, I credit my parents for instilling in me the ability to tackle and work through problems as they arise. Yet, things sometimes come along that no amount of will, muscle, or thought can change. For me, the inability to control an outcome sprang forth a fear I’d never imagined…a mother’s fear for her child’s life. That fear was my stress.
After hours and days of research, trying to gain knowledge to change the outcome, I found that stress is not only a buzz-word for the faint of heart. Stress has measurable physical effects on the body. Stress depresses the immune system. Staves off sleep. Suppresses the appetite while simultaneously sending signals to the body to execute a death grip on the fat stores we have which no amount of cardio will help. Prolonged stress can lead to severe depression and even death.
If we’re dead, we can’t read, write, or help the ones we love!
So, here is a moment of zen followed by one major step you can take today to alleviate the effects of stress on your mind, body, and spirit.
TRIM THE FAT – We all have excess in our lives weighing us down. From the clutter in the corner, to the late-night catch up on our favorite show(s).
PRIORITIZE : What is important? Make a list of large and small scale things. Stick to it. If it’s not on the top half of the list, let it go until you complete the rest of the list. Then re-prioritize.
ORGANIZE : Where in the hell are my keys? If you put them in the same spot every day, you’d know. Create healthy habits. Go through the mail as soon as you pick it up. Trash or recycle the trash. Classify the rest. Make to do lists. Keep a calendar…digital is great. Make a place for everything. If it doesn’t have a place, give it away! Put everything in it’s place.
CONSOLIDATE : Your worth is not based on the things you own! No matter what society says. No, you don’t need four pairs of brown boots or ten years worth of back issue magazines. Keep what you use and ditch the rest. Buy what you need and no more. Does your kiddo have soccer practice every Tuesday, Thursday, and sometimes Friday? Get together with a parent you trust. You take Tuesdays and every other Friday while they get the rest. Your child knows you love them without you seeing EVERY inside drive.
EAT TO LIVE : American eating took a major dive in the fifties with the introduction of convenience foods, a.k.a. laboratory engineered food-like products, and our health has gone with it. That cracker you ate is not flour, milk, egg, butter, and sugar. It’s flour bleached of any nutrient and “fortified” or “enriched” with chemical compound vitamins. It’s laced with a laundry list of chemicals we can’t even pronounce to make it look more appealing, taste better, and last two decades on the shelf. Sit alone with no distractions. Read the label. Eat one cracker. Don’t chase it with anything. Let three minutes elapse. Do you like the film it leaves on the roof of your mouth? Bet not. Your body doesn’t either.
Our nation is the most calorie rich and nutritionally poor in the world. Eat more raw fruits and veggies.
Don’t believe the hype: low fat, no fat, no sugar. It’s all chemical laden and killing us from the inside out. This is the best documentary I’ve seen in a while (and I watch a lot of documentaries) Hungry for Change. It’s on Netflix and there are free screenings in large cities. Take a peek.
SLEEP LIKE THE DEAD : People say, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.” You’ll get dead a lot faster, if you don’t exercise good sleep habits. Sleep allows your body to filter out the hormones which cause depression. Little sleep equals little feel good hormones. Allow you body to reboot. Enjoy these seven tips to better sleep.
GET OUTDOORS : Take a walk. Read or write on the back porch. Lift your face to the sun or whipping cool breeze for five minutes a day. Promise, you’ll feel better.
Megan Mitcham, Author