Stress – it’s something we are all familiar with and all experience at one point or another. Whether it be at work, at home, at school, or somewhere in between… 3 years ago I found myself in desperate need of new stress relieving tactics. My old ones weren’t working and my cortisol levels were through the roof. I had just broken up with my serious boyfriend of almost 8 years and my business was expanding rapidly. I was absolutely devastated from the break up and completely overwhelmed with the thought of running a business by myself. The stress started to affect not only my mind, but my body. My weight fluctuated and my sleeping patterns became disrupted. I felt helpless! I’m a problem solver. When I come across a problem, I do everything in my power to fix it. Stress is tricky though because there’s not just some “magic pill” or solution that will get rid of it immediately. Over the years, I’ve been fortunate enough to meet some of the best doctors, naturopaths, healers, and nutritionists in the world. I wanted to share what I’ve learned thus far and some of my favorite ways to relieve stress and unwind!
- I meditate for 20 minutes every morning.
There seems to still be a weird, pre conceived notion out there about meditation (which I’ll admit I had too before I took this class.) It’s becoming increasingly more talked about though, and now there are drop in studios, apps, etc. I personally find “transcendental” or “vedic” meditation the most effective. You can read about the benefits here and see why Oprah and basically every top CEO and athlete meditates.
- I switch up my exercise depending on my mood.
For a while, I was only doing intense exercise i.e. boxing, running and Soul Cycle and I was actually increasing my cortisol levels. I’ve now learned to balance my routine with yoga and pilates. I was also doing BBG at home, but I found that group classes and great music make me a happier camper.
- I took a serotype test and avoid (for the most part!) foods that cause inflammation.
Trust me I still love pizza, ice cream, and french fries – couldn’t ever give those up completely… But for years, my stomach hurt after almost every meal. It was stressful not knowing what foods were triggering this! My friend Annie referred me to her doctor who did a serotype test (beware because many food allergy tests are not accurate) and I found out what was causing inflammation. Even if a food is deemed “healthy” it doesn’t necessarily mean it works for YOU. Once I eliminated things like chickpeas, cashews, and blueberries (random I know) my stomach problems disappeared which was a relief.
- I take a 30 minute epsom salt bath with a drop of this oil at least once a week + read a book while I soak.
Not only are baths relaxing, but epsom salt baths remove toxins and give your body the magnesium it needs. I put on a face mask too (gotta maximize that bath time!) and read a book (I just finished this one – highly recommend – Betty is the cutest!)
- I get acupuncture once a month.
I went here when I lived in NYC. You can read about all of the benefits here. I’ve also done cupping before which is AMAZING and I found it actually had a stronger effect (in a good way) than normal acupuncture, but it did leave large red circles on my back for over a week. I definitely got some weird looks when I wore a tank top.
- I bought a standing desk and anti-fatigue mat.
An anti-fatigue whhhhaaat? I know it sounds funny. But let’s be real, we all spend hours a day sitting. Sitting in a car, sitting at a desk, sitting at the dinner table. I started developing back pain and horrible posture from sitting so much until I finally decided enough was enough and ordered this mat and this desk. They were total game changers!!! I feel more positive, productive and my digestion is way better.
- I get reflexology and a Thai massage once a month.
You can read about the benefits of both here. The place I used to go in NYC was a hole in the wall and nothing fancy – but it was $25 for a 1 hour massage!!!! If you don’t want to get a massage – I have this lacrosse ball and run my foot over it while I’m at my standing desk (which is a tip I picked up from a physical therapist.) It works wonders.
- I’m a firm believer in therapy.
My dad has been a psychologist for almost 30 years so I am a huge advocate of talk therapy. You do not have to be depressed to go to therapy. Pyschologists are wonderful when you want a neutral opinion and sounding board that isn’t a friend or family member. Not all psychologists are the same – and not every one will be for you so meet with multiple people until you find the right one for you. I hear from too many friends that they “hate therapy” because they had one bad experience with a therapist they didn’t click with. It’s just like anything in life – you need to shop around to see what works best for you!
- I do a Reiki session once a year.
You can learn more about Reiki here. I had no clue what I was signing up for the first time I tried it, but just went in with an open mind. It was amazing and I’m a believer!
- I try to spend an hour in a sauna, steam room or float tank once a month.
All are such great ways to relax and detox. Grab a girlfriend and make a spa day out of it!
I left a few obvious stress relieving tactics out like call a friend, have a spa day, catch up with family, take a walk, watch a funny movie, binge watch Netflix, book a trip, dance, retail therapy etc. because I know you gals probably already know those ones/are doing them! Anyways, I hope I gave you a little insight into how I relieve stress and unwind! Please let me know if you try/like any of them! xx