Happy Friday everyone!!!!!! You made it! The weekend is almost here and I know you’ve earned every last second of it. Not to burst your bubble but Monday will be here before you know it and with it may come a teeny weeny tiny bit of stress. Just sayin’. If you’ve been following the last 2 blogs, you know we’ve been on a stress busting mission. If you’ve missed the last 2 then scroll down to catch up. Today is the last in this blog series ….thank goodness! I had a friend ask if I was especially stressed because I’d been blogging about it. Nooooooo. Not especially, just normally stressed and that’s enough for me. So here’s the last of my two cents on this subject….for now 🙂 .
- Eat happy and be happy. Dark chocolate, beer, red wine, coffee!!!! Have I got your attention? You can have these!! All things in moderation, but these treats can actually be good for you. Oh happy day!
First let’s get the stress inducing foods out of the way. Things to avoid are foods laden with sugar and caffeine (soda/pop), as well as “white” foods (white bread, chips, white crackers etc). These cause blood sugar spikes or adrenaline to rise which can put you on a roller coaster that you do not want to ride. It makes sense. Your blood sugar and adrenaline level rises – with that increase in stress, your heart rate and breathing become rapid. NOT GOOD! Your blood sugar and adrenaline level crashes and so do you. You feel sluggish, irritable, and tired. NOT GOOD! You think more of the same is going to get you “up” again only to come crashing down once more. How crazy is that? If you haven’t recognized it yet, you’ve just experienced a dreaded mood swing. Who the heck needs help having more of those? There is a time and a place for exceptions of course. White bread toasted with marshmallow cream and peanut butter sandwiches are fine on a camping trip when your child can run that sugar high into the woods and crash in the tent. This is not a good snack choice when you are headed off to school to sit still, pay attention, and stay awake to learn. You make the call.
Now we can move on to the Superfoods that are stress busting. Superfood = broccoli, fatty fish (salmon etc.), garlic, high fiber food (beans, whole grain food etc), tea, tomatoes, olive oil, berries, soy, and nuts. All of those foods keep our bodies running smoothly. Look for more blogs to come with ideas about how to fit more of these into your snacks and meals. These foods are packed with anti-oxidants, vitamins, and minerals. The high fiber in them keeps your blood sugar levels from rising and falling quickly. If your body feels good it will help your mind feel good. I know we could all use more feel good moments.
- Fake it ‘til you make it. Smile. Go ahead and smile. It feels good. Those days that it is hard to face the world are really tough. Try to rethink whatever is weighing heavily on your mind and smile a bit. What do you do when you approach someone who is smiling at you? It is human nature to smile back. You don’t want to look like a loon. But a smile, even a small one, begets a smile. It’s the kind of cycle you want to perpetuate. Beware of the doom and gloom bunch because they will seek out a sad face and just tell you to hunker down because it’s going to be a bad day. Smiling when you don’t really feel like it is not going to work every day. It will work on plenty of days. I say, the more days that you are smiling on this earth, the better. Just give it a go. What do you have to lose…maybe a few frown lines?
- Shake your groove thang. Get moving. It’s no great mystery that you feel good after you’ve gotten your blood pumping. You don’t have to run a marathon to reap the rewards of exercise. ANY exercise can be of benefit to you. A good walk can do wonders to clear your head. A fun spin class at the gym can get the sweat pouring and make you feel good because you’ve accomplished something. A 30 minute yoga session can put you in your happy place and stretch the stress away. Raking the leaves with your ipod jamming can shorten that list of things to do and get your heart going. The world always looks a bit brighter to me after I break a sweat. Lots of people dread a workout, but I don’t know one person that doesn’t feel better afterwards.
As I said, our family is a work in progress when it comes to managing stress. I fly off the handle WAY more than I ought to. I obsess about things that are out of my control more often than I should. I worry about what “they” will think as if it really matters. Our kids are doing a bit more than they probably should be doing. Alex is a touch more negative than he needs to be. Admittedly, we are a bit of a disaster in this area of wellness. Rethinking is our biggest challenge and we are facing it with a smile. We are working on it. What will you do?
Until next time….Live Well! –Toni Kuhel