"6 Ways to manage stress & thrive!
As Americans, we are more STRESSED out than we have ever been and more medicated than ever…I remember describing my stress as "the Knot in my stomach", or the "pressure" I would feel on my temples.... like my head was in a vice... It seemed like my stress followed me my entire life... in one form or another... The need for perfection and control has had a crippling effect on my life and left me stressed out, unhappy, and in constant fear about the future. I had no tools to deal with my stress, my feelings and life in a healthy way… All I knew how to do was to perform, perform, perform, work harder and control all that I could… Let me tell you something, it is so EXAUSTING and there is no serenity in living like this.
I recently read an article from World Net Daily citing that over 70 million Americans are on mind altering drugs. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 75 to 90 percent of all doctor visits in the U.S. are for stress-related ailments and complaints. Now there is no shame in taking medications as needed, but I feel there is a huge gap... We are NOT learning and teaching healthy coping skills to manage our feelings, our thoughts and our lives... we are medicating...
In the U.S. today we have become the most unhealthy we have ever been, the norm is to pour our lives into work, and by that we Americans work longer hours on average then any other industrialized country. We skip out on exercise, and lead sedentary lifestyles and are constantly trying new fad diets as well as being addicted to our phones and social media. This does not make for managing stress well.
A few years into marriage, my life came to a screeching halt… I was working through some deep emotional pain and really wanting a baby. I had a long journey with fertility and loss, which is another blog post… I was desperate to find new tools to deal with my life. I felt like I was drowning and this began my journey of finding new daily habits to allow me to actually be the leading lady in my own life and live fully present.
Here are some of the daily rituals that I have been incorporating into my life that have reduced my stress and given me the peace and serenity that I so desire. By really nourishing myself with these practices, I am able to show up and be the wife, mother, friend, and person that I want to be. Self-care is imperative for my overall health and wellness.
6 Ways to Mange stress & thrive!
1. Meditation/Prayer: I have tried to start each morning with at least 10 minutes of stillness and paying attention to my breathing and relaxing my body and quieting my mind and spirit. By starting my day this way I am able to center myself, set my intentions and can start to feel my neck relax, then my shoulders and then I become in tune with my breathing. I begin to engage with my Higher power and feel peaceful all throughout my body. This practice has been such a huge tool for me. When I first started I could barely sit still for 5 minutes.. Now if my kids allow I can sit quietly and pray and meditate for 30 minutes and it feels like 2 minutes. It was not until I was diagnosed with Adrenal Fatigue that I realized just how stressed out I was and how my "flight or fight" switch was permanently on. Having a quiet half hour calms my breathing, my heart rate and even shifts my mood and how I perceive the situations and people around me. It gives me such a positive boost.
2. Sleep: I use to struggle to fall asleep and would toss and turn and then end up looking at my phone for a couple hours and be just exhausted. I have learned the importance of creating a nightly ritual that allows my body to relax and fall asleep. For me that looks like turning off any electronics at least 30 minutes before bed, I usually put my phone on airplane mode. I start my diffuser with my favorite nighttime blend of Serenity, Patchouli, and Cedarwood. I then usually have hot water with a couple drops of lemon essential oil or herbal tea. I sit in bed and read a personal development book, and or look at what I have going on for the next day and set my intention for that day and I also review how my day went and if there were things in my day that I need to address or wished had gone better. I meditate /pray and or journal and then usually am ready to fall asleep. I also pay attention to when I am starting to feel tired and start moving towards bed then, rather than push through to stay up and get stuff done... Because if I miss my window its even harder for me to fall asleep. Getting 8 hours of sleep nightly has really reduced my stress and helped me maintain the serenity that I seek.
3. White Processed Sugar: , is highly addictive, like crack cocaine to the brain... and what is so hard, is that it is in so much of our food, hidden in high doses, causing us to want more and crave unhealthy food... It causes major inflammation in our bodies which leads to many chronic illnesses, cancer, chronic fatigue, altered thinking, stress, aging, and contributes to pain. All of these symptoms perpetuates the cycle of stress and compound it. Getting off of sugar can have a drastic positive affect on ones health. I had no idea how bad my relationship with sugar was… It was my crutch when my feelings were unmanageable and I binged on it till I was sick and then would exercise profusely to try to reverse what I had just eaten… not a good cycle to get into. Learning to reach for water when I am craving something, or using a citrus essential oil in my water to curb cravings and learning to be disciplined in what I ate and how I view food has been instrumental.
4. Exercise: I am that person that needs to move every single day. Whether its running for 30 minutes, lifting weights, hiking, taking an exercise class, I need to do something every day for ideally an hour. I feel dramatically better and the “runners high” is a real thing… I am a better wife and mama. I feel more grounded, focused, positive, and most of all PRESENT. I am way less distracted. Typically I try to get a work out in during the morning, which sets the tone for my entire day.
5. Essential Oils: These powerful plant agents have been such a game changer for me. Not only has my family and I experienced huge physical benefits but they have been amazing at therapeutically supporting mood in stressful times. When we inhale a bottle of Peppermint or Wild Orange, the essential oil molecules attach to receptor sites inside of our nostrils that then communicate with neurotransmitters that send information to the olfactory bulb in the brain. It is here where major brain structures are communicating and regulating hormone balance in the body, supporting mood, trauma, our sense of smell and our ability to process information. Every essential oil has a unique chemical profile that makes it dynamic and effective at supporting our body systems. Here are a few of my favorite ones to support mood. Balance, otherwise known as the Grounding Blend has quickly become a daily staple... I apply over my heart and on the back of my neck throughout the day. Wild Orange, Motivate, Cheer, and Peppermint are some of my favorites for uplifting the mood and giving me a "pep in my step". Serenity and Patchouli are very grounding and calming when I am feeling stressed and anxious. I love to apply over my heart and pulse points. I often put a variation of these in the diffuser throughout the day. Using oils aromatically is the fastest way to get the oils into the bloodstream and experience them therapeutically.
6. Re-evaluate your to-do list: Here is the deal, many of use have multiple lists a mile long of all these things we “think” we have to do in order to provide the “relief” we are seeking… I have learned to surrender to motherhood and that much of the things I thought I needed to do were not a priority.. So each night before I go to bed I look at what the next day has planned for me, I have a list and I quickly prioritize the top 3 things that I have to do… Everything else I let go of and if I end up having space or time to get any of those “extra” things done then that is an added bonus… if I don’t, oh well. You know what, I have quickly learned that most of the things on my list are really not that important at all. A lot of those things that I thought were so important was just busy work that was not really important at all… the important things are reading with my kids, playing tea-party, having dinner as a family…. Learning that my worth is not wrapped up in how many things I do, has been so liberating and greatly decreased my stress levels.
Note: I am not a physician and I do not advise changing any medication or health protocols without consulting your physician. The tools I have spoken of can compliment any health protocol you may already have in place.
So much Love and Smiles,
I read a very inspiring article from Sarah Kate Anderson, who is a mother, wife, DoTerra Leader, and Blogger that inspired me in this article, check out her blog post @Mariposa Moment.
My name is Holly Boyer and I am a life long Alaskan, mama of two of the most precious babies, and wife to my soulmate.