I know I most often talk about food and fitness here because they are my favorite things to help educate about! I could talk about recipes all day… I’m a food addict trapped in a fit body.
But HEALTH is made up of so many compartments and if I only talk about workouts and food, then we are really just skimming the surface.
What I consider the pillars of health to be:
So I want to focus on the mental pillar today because I think most of the population is stressed AF, sleeping poorly and therefore making poor choices for their health and/or straight up sacrificing their health by the anxiety directly.
I’ve even been seeing more Instagram stories and posts about dealing with anxiety and I love that people are speaking out about it. 1) You realize that to a certain extent, everyone deal with this 2) By hearing another person’s experience, you can apply their tips to your life.
I definitely deal with stress.
Just for starters here…
My husband works four days on and two off, plus second shift, so that adds a funk to our days. I wish I could plan for weekends to get projects done or visit family or even have a night out, but typically he is working. This also means that most of the care for our daughter falls on momma bear.
I also work for myself so as a business owner, there is a lot of work and planning that I have to do daily in order to stay organized. I run this blog (everything from design to responding to emails to coordinating with brands who want to work with me) I also coach clients online with nutrition and training. I have to plan a lot of quality content for social media, blog posts, newletters, as well as create the content (what videos do I need, image editing, recipe testing, text overlays, hashtags and descriptions, etc.)
Basically, my day is a shit storm.
But it’s an awesome shit storm and I’ve learned how to turn the crazy hectic and stressful moments into productive and meaningful success! Here are some things I have learned…
Stress vs anxiety
Stress is a part of our everyday life and is a situation where you feel under pressure. Our “fight or flight” response signals chemical reactions to occur in our bodies and brains, which is built in to keep us safe. Stress can be external (loved one being ill) or internal (irrational thinking.) Also, not all stress is bad. Some stress can actually motivate some people to perform… but we will be focusing on the bad stress here.
Let’s think of stress as the “event.”
Anxiety is the “reaction” to the event.
Anxiety is having those “fight or flight” feelings for a longer duration than the event which has passed; a constant feeling of being stressed even though there is no imminent stressful situation. Beyond stress, the fear, worry, uneasiness, apprehension, etc (just bubbling under the surface) that people carry around daily could also lead to panic attacks.
Stress is usually a precursor to anxiety
Basically, if you are under stress and don’t find ways to relieve the pressure, the feelings and emotions can manifest and lead to chronic anxiety.
Chronic stress and anxiety can be so detrimental to your health causing ailments such as high blood pressure, headaches, loss of sleep, skin rashes, fatigue, digestive issues, irritability and more.
You are never going to completely eliminate stress. Sometimes, things just come up and situations add stress to our day. You can’t avoid it entirely. We will get stuck by a train and run late. We will have stressful deadlines for work projects. Our kids will puke in the middle of the night when we do desperately need some sleep…
So what do I do when stress is raining down and causing my anxiety to flare up?
One of the biggest reasons I have stress is that I take on too much. I have figured out that this is a huge trigger for me. I am a list maker to a T so it helps me to just write it all out. I will make a list of MUST GET DONE, SHOULD BE DONE, and things that can definitely be put on the back burner. Often times, I realize I was focusing on details of crap that can be done later instead of on the things I have to get done NOW. Once I re-prioritize my workload, I can prioritize my attention better.
Say “No” or Delegate
So when I am feeling a bit overwhelmed and the pressure of “how will I get all this done by this date” creeps in, I have to take a step back, look at that list of priorities and cut.it.out. Either say no when someone asks if I can help them with something OR refer them to someone else OR ask my husband to help a little extra with household duties so I can take on the work. I feel immediate relief!
Physical activity is key here. Stress affects the brain and the body. Exercise produces endorphins and even 5 minutes of low to moderate activity can help with pain relief, mood elevation, as well as improve sleep and energy levels.
If I’m feeling pissed, I like to hit the bags. If I am feeling overly jittery and my mind is racing, I like to do yoga. Find your stress relieving activity!
Do What You Love
When I have some added stress, I like to stop and smell the roses. I will meal prep with music on, turn off my phone and choose a book instead, make a facial appointment, etc. Sometimes I just sit outside in the sunshine for 15 minutes with my eyes shut! We tend to get so caught up focusing on the stressful event and where our focus goes, our energy flows!
I have always had a hard time shutting my mind off before bed. I tend to think about “what if’s” and situations that are upcoming (which are typically out of my control.) I have found it helpful to take melatonin, Z Optima as a natural sleep and recovery blend so I can get a deep sleep and wake feeling ready to tackle the day. I take these every night! (Ambassador code “kaylav” saves you 30% off) Or you may want to grab a sleep stack with 5HTP.
Add or Cut People (not literally… knives don’t help)
It may also be helpful to vent to someone (sorry, hubby) but I don’t typically find this helpful besides talking through things with my husband. Bitching and complaining won’t actually solve your problems, so think of venting more as seeking guidance. Talk to someone who may be able to help you make some actionable decisions.
Likewise, some people may be causing you a lot of anxiety and it may be time to distance yourself a bit and re-evaluate the relationship.
I hope this was helpful today and by no means am I a clinical psychologist or therapist… these are just my tips that I have found to be helpful. If you are someone who deals with anxiety/stress, please feel free to share this or reach out on social media.