Peppermint tea,  Greek yogurt, and crunchy peanut butter with a fuji apple are the perfect start to the day

Stress is something that we all battle with and it always seems that no matter how much we try the world always seems to get in the way.  With that being said this Fit Friday is going to be devoted to managing stress and dealing with it in a healthy way.  While I am not a fitness expert or doctor I am busy just like you.  I have compiled a list of things that I have found to effectively manage my stress level and hope that some of these items will be helpful with you as well.

Herbal Teas 

While Lance Armstrong may be underwater for doping, Livestrong.com's recommendation about the benefits of herbal teas for fighting stress sound worthy of looking into.  They basically mention three types: chamomile, kava, and valerian.  I personally love chamomile tea like the Celestial kind pictured above because it's available at most big box stores, inexpensive, and the flavor is so rich that I don't have to add sweetener.  I like to start my morning with a cup or even later on in the day when I need a breather.

Routine

Routine can be boring yes but it can also be very rewarding.  Whether that means getting up ten minutes earlier so you aren't starting your day frazzled and running late or getting ready for bed a few minutes sooner than normal to unwind, you will surely see the benefits.  I like to start my morning with breakfast, a cup of hot tea, and reading something of some sort.  One of my goals for the new year has been to be more diligent in my quiet time with GOD, so I've been either reading the Bible or working through my women's Bible Study book, the Wiersbe Bible Study Series on Ruth/Esther.

Exercise to Relax

We are always being told that exercise is a helpful tool when it comes to managing stress, but sometimes it seems knowing we need to make time to get to the gym can add too much to our plate.  Exercise is meditation, boosts your metabolism, and also releases feel good chemicals to your body.  Breaking a sweat may also work to your benefit when it comes to fighting off depression and will help boost your self esteem.  The Mayo Clinic breaks everything down and goes further into depth about why you should pencil in time to workout.  For those of you that don't have a whole lot of time, I get it, here are some exercises that you can try that won't zap your day.  In the words of Elle Woods from the movie Legally Blonde, "Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don't shoot their husbands, they just don't."

9 Minute Workout

Hit Every Muscle in 5 Minutes

5 Minute Workout to Reshape Your Body

Meditation

You may be picturing a small Indian man seated with legs crossed saying "ooooohhhm", but that is not the only form of meditation.  Meditation is basically just about being relaxed and enjoying the quiet.  That could mean prayer, yoga, or just taking three minutes at your desk to close your eyes and tune out all the white noise.  White noise is anything that is creating a distraction whether that's coworkers gossiping in the cubicle over, noisy children fighting with each other over a toy, or traffic outside your window at night.  Taking a few deep breaths to regain your focus is sometimes all it takes.  I encourage you to try and see what works for you.  Maybe going to GOD in prayer is calming, maybe it's yoga practice, or maybe it's taking a moment.  Benefits of Meditation for Stress Management will force you to turn off all the unnecessary noise.

"Let your gentleness be evident to all.  The LORD is near.  Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to GOD.  And the peace of GOD, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." - Philippians 4:5-7 

Healthy Eating

When your body is getting the right amount of daily minerals and vitamins it is more likely to work more efficiently for you.  By eating whole foods like fruits, vegetables, lean protein, slow burning carbohydrates, and reduced fat dairy your body has all the needed fuel to work for you.  Your body can't fight for you if you are filling it with excess sugar and carbs that have no nutrition value.  Everything from tuna, to almonds and leafy greens are mentioned as 10 Feel Good Foods that can fight stress.

5 Year Rule

The 5 year rule is something that my family and I started using when I was in high school and basically just means that if whatever you are worried about won't matter in 5 years then ditch it.  If you are overly stressed about something that won't truly have an effect on your life in 5 years then stop worrying about it because chances are it doesn't matter.  This rule started in high school when I was stretched thin and started having atypical migraines on a regular basis. I was experiencing everything from "mini blackouts" to tension in my jaw similar to TMJ.  After I had pretty much every type of scan performed my doctor and I determined that managing my stress was the best way to be able to lead a normal life without having to worry about the atypical migraine symptoms.  Stress can affect and destroy your whole body, but the 5 year rule will allow you to put things in perspective.

Do What You Love

This may seem like a no brainer, but there are a lot of people not doing what they enjoy for fear of what that might feel like.  Maybe that means breaking society's mold and casting your own.  Maybe that means saving up to start your own small business or Etsy shop online.  Maybe that is going to school at night or during the weekends to pursue a career change.  Your vision for your life is greater than the regret you will feel for not following your passion.  My dream is to start an Etsy shop and sell my gourmet canned products.  Everything from balsamic strawberry jam to spicy haberno peach hot sauce.  My passion stays alive by constantly thinking of new ideas and pursuing a career change that will allow me time to work on these products as a side business.  You can do it, just don't be afraid to!

“love the life you live.
live the life you love.”

― Bob Marley

I hope these tips will help you stop to smell the roses and relax around imperfection...because at the end of the day living a simple life will help with the stress more than any of these tips. The more you focus on living frugally, cherishing your family, and staying active the more your life will be complete with GOD at the center.

Happy Friday!

XOXO,

Alaina M.









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