Tag Archives: stress management

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!

Plan Your Own Personal Wellness Day

Woman in nature

Here’s the scenario. You wake up in the morning, you’re coughing, your nose is running and you feel like you’ve been hit in the head with a hammer. You know you’re not going to perform your job well and you’re liable to cause a health risk to your fellow employees. Here’s another scenario. You wake up in the morning, you’re tired, your stressed, you’re resentful. You’re not going to perform your job well and you may be liable to cause bodily harm or injury to your fellow employees and quite possibly your family. What do you do? You take a wellness day.

Let’s face it. We all suffer stress and anxiety and sometimes the only cure is to take a day off to decompress. Here are some ideas about taking your own personal wellness day.

Why We All Need Wellness Days
As it becomes more widely acceptable to admit to struggling with depression and stress, the more justifiable taking a wellness day has become. Kathy Caprino, woman’s career coach says, “I believe that part of the widespread malaise of corporate America is that so many people feel and believe they don’t have any control over their lives and time, and they’re exhausted to the point of non-functioning.”

She believes that control is the key to ending this epidemic and recommends managing “your time in and out of work in an empowered way.” Ciprino cautions against ignoring the symptoms of stress and anxiety as potentially leading to mental and physical breakdown.

How Do I Know I Need a Day Off?
If you’re almost killing the woman at Sephora because they didn’t restock your lipstick color, you may think this is a signal that you need to take a day off. Not so, says Caprino.

“Feelings of extreme apathy -like you just don’t care- or extreme anxiety about nothing in particular are cues that could indicate you would be better off taking a day to reset.”

Women doing yoga

Planning Your Day

Gather Materials
Look around your house for things you might want to turn your house into your own private sanctuary. Have candles, oils, music, healthy foods, and whatever else you may need on hand in advance.

Plan the Day
Decide what your day will look like. What activities will be included? What will you eat? Will you meditate? Exercise? Read?

Incorporate Nature
Consider including a walk in the park, or some gardening time.

Zone Out
Turn off cells phone, radios, and computers.

Of course, your wellness day should be tailored to suit your likes and dislikes, but here is a suggested formula that may inspire you.

Start the day with some light weightlifting and yoga.

Give yourself a facial with a high-quality cleanser.

Bask in a long shower or bath with a salt scrub or essential oils using a loofah to exfoliate.

Eat light meals, like fruit and juices. Indulge in a salad with a large variety of vegetables, cranberries, nuts and cottage cheese with a light dressing.

Relax to music, burn incense or use fresh flowers and candles to add to the atmosphere.

Try meditating, reading, or journaling.

How did your wellness day look? Did it work? Can your co-workers feel safe to go to work tomorrow? Let us know!