Tag Archives: De-Stress

Avoid These Barriers To Healthy Living

Woman running

Does anyone out there really believe that supermodels eat fast food burgers? Although we are probably living in one of the most health-conscious time periods to date, we are still receiving mixed messages about what it means to be healthy. While it might be tempting to believe that the typical beer drinker has bright eyes and glowing skin, or that ice cream is a common nightly indulgence for the physically fit, quite often these examples would be more aptly place in the “too good to be true” files.

False advertising can encourage bad habits, and bad habits can become barriers to healthy living. If you are struggling to live healthily, here are some tips for avoiding some of the most common barriers.

Take Stock
One of the first steps to healthy living is to assess your current state of health. Make an appointment with the doctor and dentist to gauge your health. Have your BMI checked and make sure your waistline is not putting your health at risk.

Think about your physical activity. The CDC recommends at least two and a half hours of aerobic activity and two sessions of muscle-strengthening exercises per week. How do you stack up?

Consider your social network and keep an eating journal. “The idea, says Kathianne Sellers Williams, MEd, RD, LD, and nutritionist, “is to write it down without judgment. You can’t change what you’re not aware of.”

Eating healthy

Eating Healthy
Healthy eating requires the ability to take power over what you eat. The key, according to Williams, is saying, “I choose,” rather than, “I should.” So it’s, “I choose to eat more fruits and vegetables,” instead of, “I should be eating more fruits and vegetables.” Williams says. “it shows that you’re in control and making the right choice.

Another thing Williams recommends: leave guilt out of the equation. The doctor points out, “Usually, whenever someone feels guilty about something, it feeds right back to the behavior that they’re trying to get rid of. So if someone is an emotional eater and they say, ‘I know I shouldn’t be doing this,’ it implies more guilt and judgment on themselves; they feel worse, and they end up eating more.

Exercise More
Pick something you like to do. if you’re dreading cardio in the gym, go for a hike or take a dance class. Set weekly goals for physical activities and keep track of how much you do. Williams says, “Make the first goal so easy that you say, ‘I know I can do that.’ She recommends weekly checkpoints because they give more flexibility. If you miss one day, you can redeem yourself on the next. Williams often encourages you to reward yourself after being good all week with a visual reminder that you can look at often to celebrate your accomplishments.

Sleep better

Sleep Better
Common barriers to a good night’s sleep are computers and TVs before bedtime. Not only does the light from electronic devices trick your body into thinking its time to be up and about, computer activity and t.v viewing can be very stimulating, and not conducive to a peaceful rest.

Heavy exercise close to bedtime is another contributor to poor-quality sleep. Sleep medicine specialist Lisa Shives, MD says vigorous activity can heat the core temperature of the body and make sleep difficult. As a guideline, she says, “If you’re working up a sweat, you’re working too hard before bed.”

Improve Relationships
Although diet and exercise are big contributors for healthy living, social connections also play a major role. C. Nathan De Wall. assistant professor of psychology at the University of Kentucky suggests looking for a person like you. “What really is important in terms of promoting relationship webbing is that you share a similar level of comfort in getting close to people. Feel people out in terms of, ‘Does this person seem like me in terms of wanting to be close to other people?”

DeWall also emphasizes the importance of having in-person relationships in these days of virtual online connections. He does not discourage social media relationships, but advises, “I think long term, having all your relationships online or virtual would probably be something that wouldn’t be as beneficial as having a mix.

Woman meditating

Cut Down on Stress
Stress is another big barrier to healthy living. Positive coping skills, like yoga and visualization can be very helpful in keeping stress levels to a minimum. Williams recommends handling stressful situations by burning off anger through exercise or allowing anger to dissipate in a quiet place.

Have you broken through barriers that were keeping you from living a healthy life? Tell us all about how you did it! We love to hear good stories!

Work Out To Relieve Anxiety

Anxiety and excess weight have a lot in common. They are both dreaded first world problems, they are both unhealthy, and they are both difficult to avoid. While it sometimes appears that there is no escape from either, there is one more thing that the two have in common: an enemy. Although it is true that stress and obesity are formidable contenders, there is one thing that has been proven capable of taking down both of them in one fell swoop. What is this thing of which we speak? The Workout. Find out why working out may be your best ally in the constant battle to remain stress and fat-free.

Woman running

How does exercise help relieve anxiety?
Exercise releases feel-good brain chemicals, reduces immune system chemicals, and increases body temperature, all of which may have calming effects and have been shown to improve mood and boost confidence. Meeting exercise goals can make you feel better about yourself and looking better increases confidence in your appearance.

Exercise can also distract you from your worries and give you the chance to socialize with others. You may find friends at a gym, in an exercise class, or simply strolling the neighborhood. Physical activity is also a healthy coping activity, and a healthier alternative to dwelling on problems.

Physical Activity Vs. Structured Exercise
While the phrases physical activity and exercise are often used interchangeably, there is a slight difference between the two. Physical activity is defined as any activity that expends energy and contracts muscles, and can be applied to household work and leisurely activities. Exercise refers to a more structured repetitive plan done with the sole aim of improving fitness.

Although we generally think of lifting weights and running as ways to get in shape, less intense physical activities, such as walking or gardening are equally capable of improving your mood and helping to maintain physical health.

Family cycling

How to Get Started

Pinpoint What You Enjoy Doing
Pick out something you can envision yourself sticking with and try to make a plan that you’ll be likely to follow through with.

Set A Reasonable Goal
Find a plan that meets your abilities and schedule. While 30 minutes a day three to five days a week is the recommended amount, as little as 10 to 15 minutes of physical activity can be enough to make a difference. Also, keep in mind, more vigorous activities can improve your mood and meet your workout requirements in less time.

Avoid Thinking of It As A Chore
If you think of exercise as something in your life that you need to live up to, you’re likely to associate it with failure. Try instead to think of it as a therapy session to help you feel better.

Find Out What’s Stopping You
Try and think of what may be preventing you from working out. Do you feel self-conscious? If so, you may want to exercise at home. Maybe you would prefer to work with a partner. Find out what it is that’s causing you to hesitate and try to find an alternative.

Know Your Limits
Remember to pat yourself on the back every once in a while and forgive yourself for small slip-ups. Just because you miss a day, doesn’t mean you can’t get right back on the horse.

Does working out relieve your anxiety? Let us know you’re best workouts for helping to get through your day!

Alternatives To Stress Eating

If you want to see the most dire examples of stress eating, you need look no further than the 1980 classic, “Fatso.” Fatso documents the tale of Dominic DiNapoli, played by the late, great Dom DeLuise who is brought up by a mother who offers him comfort by feeding him whenever he becomes upset. To say Dominic grows up with a love of food would be an understatement.

Woman eating junk food If all this sounds like normal behavior to you, you may be looking to find alternatives to padlocking your refrigerator. Well, before you go to Home Depot, you may want to read further.

Emotional Eating
Emotional eating is usually used as a way to soothe or suppress negative emotions caused by anything from major life changes to the hassles of day to day life. They can include work, financial pressures, and relationship, and health problems among others. Eating can serve as a distraction to take the focus off a painful situation, or it a may be more of a reflexive response to strong emotions, resulting in an impulse binge, wolfing down food without enjoyment. However, whatever the cause of your emotional eating, it is almost never a satisfying solution, with emotions returning along with added guilt over your recent calorie intake.

Preventing Emotional Eating

1. Start keeping a food diary. Keep track of what you eat, how hungry you are, how much you eat, and how you feel after eating it. You will begin to see how your mood is connected with your food intake.

2. Lower stress. If stress is a big factor in your overeating, try to manage it with techniques like mediation, yoga, and deep breathing.

3. Check your hunger. If you ate recently, your hunger is probably more emotional than physical. if your stomach’s not rumbling, give yourself some time before eating to see if your craving passes.

Woman eating sweets
4. Avoid temptation. If you don’t keep the ‘go to’ comfort foods in your house, you are less likely to need to padlock the fridge. Also, avoid emotional food shopping and save grocery store expeditions for less temperamental periods.

5. Try not to deprive yourself. If you limit your calories too severely, you may just increase your cravings. Try instead to make healthier choices, eating more satisfying portions of lower calorie foods, allowing for the occasional treat.

6. Prevent boredom. Overeating is often a side effect of lack of stimulation. Try to distract yourself with things besides food, like a book, a movie, or the computer.

Or, you can always distract yourself by writing to us! Tell us how your feeling and what you’re eating or trying not to eat. We love to hear it!

Foods That Relieve Stress

The American Psychological Association reported that in 2010, 40% of Americans reported either overeating or eating unhealthy foods in direct response to stress. When you’re super stressed your cortisol levels rise and it is true that cramming your face full of cookies or chomping down on french fries can make you feel better initially because cortisol causes food cravings. Although your favorite ice cream may soothe you immediately, ultimately this will result in more negative feelings like irritability or mood swings on top of the stress you were trying to get rid of to begin with. But, when your cortisol levels tell you need something this second, there are foods that you can eat that can actually help you to relieve stress, feel calm and help you to feel focused and balanced so you can tackle stressful situations head-on.

Avocados

Avocados
Technically a fruit, avocados are often considered a source of fat, so it’s best to eat this stress-busting food in moderation. One of the potential problems when overindulging in unhealthy fats and sugars is more oxidative damage, and a substance, glutathione, in avocados specifically blocks the intestinal absorption of these fats. In addition to glutathione, avocados contain beta-carotene, lutein, folate and vitamins B and E. A serving of avocado is roughly ⅓ of the fruit and you can eat this is so many ways. Mash some with fresh chopped cilantro, onions and tomatoes and a squeeze of lime juice for a healthy, stripped-down guacamole or simply slice some thinly and add to your favorite sandwich.

Berries.

Berries
Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries…take your pick. Berries are an excellent source of vitamin C and a German study indicated that vitamin C is helpful in the fight against stress. In the study, researchers asked 120 participants to give a speech and then complete difficult mathematical problems. The participants who have been given vitamin C had lower blood pressure and cortisol levels (two indicators of stress) following these exercises than participants who had not been given vitamin C. Berries are delicious on their own, in healthy smoothies or on top of your favorite Greek yogurt.

Dark chocolate.

Dark Chocolate
You may have reached for chocolate before when you were feeling particularly stressed and ended up regretting doing so. This is most likely due to the variety of chocolate you decided to eat. Milk chocolate is loaded with extra sugar and it’s easy to polish off an entire bag of milk chocolate candies pretty quickly. The resulting sugar crash probably only made you feel worse. Good news, you can continue to eat chocolate during times of stress if you choose dark chocolate and enjoy it in moderation. Dark chocolate lowers your blood pressure, which leads to feelings of calm. Additionally, dark chocolate contains two important types of antioxidants, flavonoids and polyphenols, that are helpful to your overall health. Keep a few squares of dark chocolate in your purse or in a drawer at work and enjoy when you’re feeling particularly stressed. Remember that moderation is important, though it is easier to curb the amount of dark chocolate you eat because it is so rich tasting. Stick with dark chocolate that is 70% or more cacao to get the full stress relieving benefits of this sweet treat.

Reaching for food during periods of stress is a completely normal response in both men and women, but it often is done in an unhealthy manner. Training yourself to choose the right foods when you feel frazzled can help to reduce levels of stress, increase feelings of calm, help you feel energized and keep you focused so that you can meet your challenges head on.

Soothing Scents to Try – Vine Vera Reviews

When you’re feeling stressed out and a bit overwhelmed, your first thought is probably not of aromatherapy for relief. But maybe it’s time to rethink your strategy to stressful events. Your sense of smell is the strongest of all five senses in your body. Your olfactory bulbs are part of your limbic system. This means that your olfactory bulbs (how you are able to smell)  are directly linked to areas of the brain involved in processing emotions and learning. You probably have noticed that there are smells you react to by remembering a particular moment or time in your life, and the connection to emotional responses in the brain is why. When you need something soothing during your hectic day, Vine Vera recommends you to try one of these calming scents.

Lavender oil with lavender flowers on a wooden table.

Lavender
Lavender is probably the most well-known scent for reducing stress and promoting a calm, peaceful scent. It is a very popular addition to many sleep products such as eye masks or sprays for your pillow. Lavender has several important benefits. First, lavender contains calming properties that are able to control your stress levels. Secondly, because lavender is so calming, it can help you get a good night’s sleep even in the most stressful times. Lastly, the benefits of lavender are not limited to your emotional concerns, lavender can also help relieve nervous tension and soothe physical ailments such as tension headaches and migraines.

Jasmine oil with jasmine flowers on a wooden table.

Jasmine
Jasmine is much more than a pleasant scent, it has excellent mental benefits for times when you need to just relax. Like lavender, jasmine helps to provide stress relief by calming your nerves. However, jasmine is not just a perfect scent for calmness, it is also recognized as having anti-depressant properties. Jasmine is used to help with issues such as mental blockage and sadness. It is an uplifting scent that gives you increased feelings of confidence and optimism. Additionally, jasmine can help soothe you while providing you with a bit of refreshed energy.

Lemon oil with cut lemons on a mat.

Lemon
You may not immediately associate this yellow fruit with stress relief, but don’t count it out. Lemon is the perfect scent for times when you need to calm down, but remain productive and alert. The scent of lemon helps boost concentration and helps you slow down negative feelings such as stress and anger. At the same time, lemon also induces positive, happy emotions. Some studies using the scent of lemon suggest that it definitely has an impact on your mood and it does indeed improve cognitive function.

So, how do you benefit from these scents without having to lug around bags of lemons and flowers? The most commonly used method of aromatherapy is through the use of essential oils. There are tons of ways to use essential oils no matter where you are. One of the easiest ways to use oils is to grab a small glass and simply add a few drops of your chosen scent. You can also apply essential oils to your body. Doing this is especially helpful on pressure points such as your temples or the inside of your wrists. Lastly, you can buy a diffuser that uses water and the oil to emit a soothing vapor in your surroundings.