Well-being

How To Reduce Stress Through Exercise

How To Reduce Stress Through ExerciseDivorce is among one of the most stressful events that we can go through in our lives. It’s second only to the death of a loved one. However, if you ask around, you might hear that even death might be easier to deal with than a family that is torn apart over abuse or betrayal.

Besides divorce, we face stressful life situations day in and day out: maintaining hectic schedules, demands of work and family, the emotional needs of important people in our lives, financial stress, and self image are a few things that quickly come to mind.

One proven way to reduce the physical and emotional stress of a divorce is through regular physical activity. Pair this approach with talk therapy, self-improvement, and medication when appropriate and you have all the tools you need to heal and happily move on with your life.

The Proven Link Between Stress and Activity

Scientists have long since seen that having too little exercise can have a major negative impact on mood and mental health. One of the most common pieces of advice from any medical professional is to make sure you are getting some physical activity in everyday, whatever that activity might be.

As you move through the difficult stages of divorce, from the first filing to navigating a new world of dating and single parent life, keeping physically active is a natural way to help lower the stress levels that are impacting your body.

If you are finding yourself slipping into depression or being overwhelmed with stress, a simple and affordable solution to this problem is to make fitness unavoidably accessible. If the gym is a good social setting for you, grab a membership and get to work. If exercising at home suits you better, home gym equipment is an affordable way to stay on top of a fitness routine. Being realistic with your current state, your time restrictions, and other life factors, decide the best route for your physical activity and get on it!

How Exactly Does Physical Activity Alleviate Stress?

Physical activity produces more endorphins. Endorphins are the feel good chemicals of your brain that naturally elevate your mood. They make you happier, more cheerful and help to replace pain, both physical and emotional.

Physical activity takes your mind to a healthy place. Nothing is worse for stress than sitting and dwelling on a problem, replaying past scenarios or recent arguments, worrying about things out of your control, or whatever it might be. While feelings can’t be ignored, they should definitely take a back seat on a regular basis to make room for positive thoughts and growth. Exercise encourages focused thought and can even act as a form of meditation, removing the stressful thinking from the brain and helping you think about other things.

Physical activity increases self esteem. Stress plays a major part in the way we view ourselves. A “can’t-do” attitude is prevalent as we worry or doubt ourselves. This slippery slope is quick to move past the current issues at hand and bring to light other worries and doubts we’ve had about ourselves whether it be our appearance, our work ethic, our parenting, and more. As you increase your physical activity, you reach goals (confidence boost #1), increase physical and mental strength (confidence boost #2), and enhance your physical appearance (confidence boost #3). With these three motives for self-growth, self-esteem is bound to grow as well.

In the end, exercise is one of the best things for us. Especially when we are being bombarded with stress. Implement a regular schedule of “you” time to get your body moving, your endorphins flowing, your mind lightened, and you’ll work through those stressful issues at hand.

Author of this article, Tyler Jacobson, enjoys going to the mountains near his home in Draper, Utah to connect with his wife and children through camping, hiking, and quality time together. When he isn’t rebooting in the outdoors, he shares his fatherly experiences with the world through writing and creative work. Tyler shares the ups and downs of family life and the solutions he’s found through lengthy research and involvement in the industry and his own experiences to help parents everywhere. Follow Tyler on: Twitter | LinkedIn

 

Surviving Stress: The Women’s Guide to Getting Through the Day-to-Day

Every woman knows the feeling: After countless days of work, eat, sleep, and little else, energy drops to an all-time low and sanity starts to waver. You question why you’re working so hard at all, and if any of it even matters. It’s all too easy to let the stresses of daily life get you down, but giving up isn’t the answer. What you need is to regain balance in your life so you can bring your best to each and every day. Here’s how.

Manage Stress at Work

Even if you love your job, spending 40-plus hours a week at work can wear on you. Whether it’s an overly-demanding boss, inefficient coworkers, or just the mundanity of the same thing day in and day out, a full-time job is bound to get to you. When it does, you’ll need strategies to cope.

When it comes to stress management, the best offense is a good defense, so make sure you’re practicing good sleep and diet habits and working exercise into your schedule. A healthy lifestyle is one of the best defenses against stress and its cousins, depression and anxiety.

To ensure enough time to take care of your personal needs, set professional boundaries with an eye on work-life balance. Don’t make a habit of working overtime. If your boss gives you a project with an unrealistic deadline, negotiate the timeline rather than scrambling to get it done. Colleagues constantly interrupting your lunch break with work requests? Start leaving the building during lunch so you can use that hour to relax.

When you walk out of the office at the end of the day, turn work off. No matter how strong the temptation, don’t check your email or squeeze in “just one more hour” of work. Avoid venting about work as much as possible, and when you just have to, stick to a hard limit of 20 minutes. The last thing you want is for your workplace stresses to seep into your home life.

Practice Self-Care

Women today are expected to do it all — have a successful career, a loving relationship, happy children, and a Pinterest-worthy home — but living up to those unrealistic standards can leave little time for actually being happy. Try to focus less on outward appearances and more on taking care of your own needs.

What does that look like? For starters, make sure you’re getting plenty of sleep each night and eating healthy meals. Eating well both preserves your health long-term and keeps you happier and more energetic now. In fact, good nutrition has been linked to better health outcomes in everything from cardiovascular health to mental health.

But self-care is about more than meeting your basic needs. It’s about building a rich personal life that brings you joy and fulfillment. That means making time for hobbies, cultivating new interests, spending time with the people you care about, and practicing gratitude every day.

Bond with Your Pet

Pets take care of us in more ways than we give them credit for. In fact, the simple act of being in the presence of a furry friend has emotional benefits. Spending quality time with your pet can be an instant mood-booster and can help stabilize your stress over the long-term.

If you don’t currently share your home with a critter, consider adopting one from your local shelter. Saving the life of an animal in need will instantly lift your spirits every time you see your new family member. If adopting isn’t an option, you can enjoy the emotional perks of spending time with animals by offering to help with friends’ pets, such as by dog boarding in your home or even dog walking.

Nurture Your Relationships

When everything is going wrong at work and life is a mess, it’s friends and loved ones that can lift you up and get you back on your feet. That’s why no matter how busy life gets, it’s critical to always nurture your personal relationships.

Social relationships are so important that they actually help us stay happier and live longer. To make sure you sustain this pillar of wellness, carve out time every week to connect with your friends, family, and romantic partners. Whether it’s a Saturday barbecue or a quick phone call, making time for relationships helps them grow stronger.

Of course, personal relationships aren’t without their own stresses. Whether it’s a boyfriend or a best friend, work through your relationship issues respectfully and lovingly. Arguments come and go, but when you treat them right, good people stay by your side for a lifetime.

Life can be overwhelming at times, but when you take care of yourself and prioritize your needs, you can get through whatever the day throws at you. Try implementing these tips in your daily life as part of your journey to a less stressful, more centered life.

Author is Paige Johnson      Paige is a self-described fitness “nerd.” She possesses a love for strength training. In addition to weight-lifting, she is a yoga enthusiast and avid cyclist.  website http://learnfit.org/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Keeping Healthy in Body, Mind, and Spirit, After Divorce

photo-1498568715259-5c1dc96aa8e7 - CopyAnyone who has been through a divorce will easily understand why the process ranks second in the iconic Holmes and Rahe stress scale. Such a big change in one’s personal life has a significant impact on your financial situation, home stability, and, sometimes, social status. Living a happy, healthy life post-divorce can be challenging, but it can definitely be achieved by keeping your body and mind in optimal shape. In this post, we discuss the importance of approaching health in an integrated manner, during the post-divorce weeks and months.

What Happens to Your Body when You are Stressed?

Stress is more than a state of worry or anxiety; when present chronically, it can cause elevated blood pressure, digestive problems, and headaches, and it is linked to obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. There are no big secrets when it comes to being physically fit. Daily exercise (aim for 30 to 40 minutes) and a sound, Mediterranean diet (comprising lean proteins, seasonal fruits and veggies, nuts, and healthy fats such as olive and flaxseed oil) are key.

Foods for Life and Adaptogens

Stressful times call for extra measures, and this means placing a bigger emphasis on life-enhancing superfoods such as apples (linked to a reduce risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes), apricots (which are a known immunity booster) and blueberries (rich in anthocyanin, a flavonoid thought to reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease, and diabetes). These are just a few of a vast list of superfoods, so feel free to experiment with new ones depending on the results you wish to achieve.

Back these up if you are feeling low with amazing adaptogens. As noted by beauty guru, Leslie Kenton, these are herbs and roots that “improve your ability to adapt to all forms of stress, while at the same time helping to normalize its biochemical effects.”

Some of the best known adaptogens include Siberian ginseng (thought to promote better sleep, increased stamina, and clearer thinking), suma (a wild root said to raise energy levels and increase endurance), and echinacea (an excellent detoxifying supplement).

Making Room for Mindfulness

Mindfulness based activities such as yoga and meditation are currently used across the globe in top centers catering to a numerous conditions, including eating disorders, depression, anxiety, and substance abuse.

Yoga is also recommended to deal with stress caused by diseases such as breast cancer, prostate cancer, and heart disease, with researchers strongly recommending this millenary practise as a complementary therapy following their successful findings.

Study after study has shown that yoga, meditation and even Tai Chi significantly lower levels of stress hormone, cortisol, and boost energy levels and mood. Scientists belief their success has to do with their emphasis on mind-body control and on pranayamic breathing (which is a powerful way to stop a panic attack in its tracks, as well as keep the mind ‘in the here and now’, instead of focused on the past or in a state of worry about the future).

When going through a divorce, it is vital to approach health and fitness from a multi-faceted perspective that encompasses both traditional healthy nutrition and exercise, as well as activities that work on a mental and spiritual plane. By committing to yourself and exercising self-compassion, health and wellbeing can be two core values that shape your life for the better.

 Author of this article, Lucy Wyndham, is a freelance writer and former Financial Advisor. After a decade in industry, she took a step backward to spend more time with her family and to follow her love of writing.