Give stress the slip!

         Sometime ago I was watching an episode of the Biggest Loser. In this particular episode the 2 teams had participated in a physical challenge and the prize for the winning team was to get to watch a video from their loved ones at home. As you know if you watch the program, the contestants are gone from home for several weeks and even months and they yearn for that contact and support from loved ones. On this episode the losing team was led by Trainer Bob and as he met with them to talk about their disappointment in losing the challenge he said “OK get up. Let’s go walk it off.” And off they went on a taxing hike. For some reason that scene really struck me. What an amazing thing it would be if you could build that response within yourself. I dented my car, one of my children is in a difficult situation, things are going poorly at work, someone I care about really let me down, money is tight and I feel the STRESS, STRESS, STRESS of what I’m suffering. And what is my response to this stress? To head outside for a strenuous walk!
Last week my house was full of workmen as we are just in the beginning baby steps of a renovation that will take several months. Already I slipped into comforting myself with Cape Cod reduced fat potato chips (Note if you have not tried them DON’T EVER!) I realized I was once again attempting to alleviate my stress with food. Basically it’s a poor effort at self-medicating.
         And so our challenge for the week beginning May 16, will be to search out and discover healthy activities you can use as a remedy when you are feeling an overload of stress. And to earn the daily points you will perform some type of de-stressing activity each day. 

Here is a list of just a few ideas. I hope that as you discover others you will add them in the comment section so we can all give them a try:

1. Run a bath and add some bubbles or a few drops of essential oil, such as lavender, to soothe aching muscles and relax your spirit.

2. Drink a cup of herbal tea or cocoa. Even in warm weather these can relax.

3. Breathe in evenly through your nose, letting your abdomen expand. Breathe out slowly and evenly through your mouth, taking about twice as long as you did to inhale.

4. Mix together salt and olive oil; rub into your feet and rinse well for a natural foot scrub. Follow with a massage. (By the way I got a very cool electric foot massager from my daughters for mothers day so that is one of my new distressing tools!)

5. Take some time to laugh. Laughter can make you happier – and healthier. Watch a favorite comedy t.v. show or movie or listen to Brian Regan or Jim Gaffigan on Netflix (My personal favorites.)

6. Seek out some water. Go to the beach, community pool, lake. Soak up some sun and enjoy the water.

7. Take the time to do something you enjoy, whether it’s reading a magazine or calling a friend. 

8. Take a lunch break; don’t just keep working while you scarf down a bagel with cheese at your desk. Read a novel, take a walk or try a new restaurant.

9. Play your favorite music and sing out loud and maybe even dance a bit.

10. Get back on track for our wellness competition. If you are behind in reporting your points, make your most honest guess and enter them. If you have fallen off track in recording on start today entering your daily exercise and eating.

11. Enjoy something yummy and healthy. I have been making popsicles out of whole juices. Buy the ingredients and make something you love and savor each bite.

12.Have a list of motivational sayings that inspire and strengthen your resolve. Use affirmations daily to help you feel good about yourself and your mission to lose weight.

I would also like to recommend to you a book that I have very much enjoyed. 50 ways to soothe yourself without food!

P.S. For those of you that are still raising your family, you have the responsibility to teach your children healthy responses to stress. Additionally you should make an effort to teach them healthy ways to celebrate accomplishments. My dietician daughter commented to me recently that instead of always heading to the
ice-cream parlor to celebrate a child’s accomplishment it would be so much healthier to go for a family bike hike, play a board game together, go for a swim, put on the music and dance!!

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