The days following the New Year are often full of angst as people set up goals and then let them slip through their hands. It’s fairly hard actually to do an about face and completely change your lifestyle when you have so many things competing for your interest.
It’s actually quite stressful.
And when you’re setting goals, most likely you’re trying to make a better version of yourself. I doubt that included being stressed out.
So here’s some tips for destressing your life and making your goals easier to achieve. Don’t think of these as time-stealers, but rather as tools of preventative maintenance.
Yoga can be one of the most easygoing forms of exercise to get into. Not only will a good yoga class be calm and relaxing in the moment, the benefits will continue well after the class is over. There’s more than one reason for this, too. First, exercise creates endorphins which will make you feel better mentally. Second, a core tenant of yoga is deep breathing. Deep breathing is great for fflushingtoxins, getting fresh blood to your muscles, and most importantly helping to interupt the fight-or-flight response that many get trapped in during the day.
The human body needs 64 ounces of water a day. Without it, the body loses its ability to funciton well. While this might be old news, how often do you do it? Are you pounding a glass of coffee at 7AM and the going for a top off at 11, and a wind down at 3? Not only are you not drinking water, your subsituting a beverage that doesn’t even alllow your body to absorb water properly. With the majority of the body made up of water, you should make it a point drink two 32 oz water bottles a day. And if you live in a dry climate add 16-20oz more.
Reduce Your Caffeine Intake
We’re not anti-coffee, we swear! We love a rich, oaky brew as much as the next person. But we say put a limt on it. Caffeine is a drug that millions in the USA abuse on a daily basis. Caffeine stresses the adrenal glands by limiting and impeding your sleep function. The human body that is hooked on caffeine can actually go through withdrawal in the middle of the night. If you are one of those people who drinks throughout the day and then goes to sleep, your body actually craves it during the sleep cycle and does not get it, resulting in poor sleep. Poor sleep results in higher stress levels and a vicious cycle of “hydrating” with coffee over water. Your adrenal glands spit out cortisol to deal with the higher stress, putting you into “fight-or-flight- mode… and well you’ve seen where this goes.
Chamomile tea is a herbal tea made of the petals of the flower of the same name. This herbal elixir will have an immediate effect on bringing your anxiety down. It’s a great tea to drink before bedtime, and can be used during other parts of the day to de-stess you.
Meditation has gotten a bad rap in recent years, with images of chanting and candles, but it doesn’t have to be weird. Really, it’s practicing silence and focus. Take a few minutes in the morning in the morning to sit and just focus on your breathing. You might find this hard at first.. your thoughts might race or you might even think “I’m wasting time!”, but the truth is you can use this time to A) Breathe deeply (once again, getting out of fight or flight mode and B) Imagining yourself as you would like to be- This visual meditation can do wonders for instilling confidence in yourself and giving focus to your goals. Sometimes it’s just a lack of planning that can cause stress and if you use this time to clarify your direction, you will find yourself going where you need to.
There are certainly enough external stressors in the world. Don’t try to implement all of these at once. Pick one. Give it some time to work. You’ll be amazed what changing and sticking with one habit will do for your confidence and stress levels.