3 Simple Ways to Alleviate Stress

I am currently up to my ears in moving boxes so you can imagine the level of stress pulsating throughout my body. Typical bodily response and one you can relate to I'm certain, however the tricky thing is that my mind has turned itself into one big, fat saboteur. It's undermining me every single step of the way and it's really starting to get at me.

Current status of our downstairs living room... even pooh bear is overwhelmed!

Current status of our downstairs living room... even pooh bear is overwhelmed!

Once everything I hated about the apartment I'm now getting all sentimental about. I loathe the fact that my bedroom is right off the living room for all to see... but now I realize it's so much more convenient than having to climb stairs if I forget something or simply want to change my shoes before I run out! And how cute is the little park that we play at every single day in the summer now? I know it's more of a patch of grass next to the train station, and not the safest in terms of traffic, but man, it's so convenient. (Seriously?? I could not wait to exchange it for a lawn. There is only so many times you can shout at your kids to stay on the grass in front of others before you become known as the screamer mom!) All the things I wanted to exchange for a house, my mind is now making me think twice about. Have we made the right decision?? Are we really going to be happy with a whole big house?? Can I take my super with me??

Upstairs living room... cringe-worthy!

Upstairs living room... cringe-worthy!

Clearly I do not do well with change and my mind is all over that. Ever since the possibility of buying this house presented itself, my body has revolted. Case in point, I have never once experienced eczema, but since January when this house popped on the market, my legs have been letting me know that change is a'comin! They have never been so itchy, blotchy, downright horrendous looking. No chance I'm getting a pedi with this going on. Stress be damned! I've heard it muttered before that the one constant you can rely on is change, so I better start adjusting to it or I will be taken over by disease and discomfort.

So to battle stress, I've realized that it must be done methodically. It has to be focused on and dealt with head on, otherwise it will simply take you over, one limb, one organ, and one waistline at a time! We all know stress is a silent killer, the havoc it can reap, so it's best to have a few tricks up your sleeve, even when you just want to crawl under your covers for days!

So when those legs start itching up a storm, I've got it down to three things I can do that help me to feel a little more in control, a little more relaxed, and even a little, dare I say, happy! 

Here's what I've relied upon the last three weeks that seemed to have made my mind focus on something other than the elephant in the room. My hopes are that these three little tactics can help you, even if it's only for a moment... but then again, life is all about the moments, so you may as well try your best to make them as enjoyable as possible! (And it beats hiding out under your covers hoping it will simply pass.)

1. Listen to your favorite music. This one is my favorite. I love putting on my headphones and busting out a song like Katy Perry! I'm enveloped in the music, the beats, the vibe, and whatever mood I was in, the happy tunes turn it all around. There is magic in music and if you wait long enough, your body is going to start picking up what you're dropping and get in on it too. You will bust a move! So when I'm packing up a closet, or I'm knee deep in sentimental photographs that fell from an unearthed drawer, I got my tunes to keep me grounded and "yelling timbeeeeer"!! 

2. Eat foods that naturally boost your mood. In times of stress it's almost an automatic response to grab the most unhealthy kind there is (twinkies! jelly beans! disco fries!), because hey, I'm stressed!!!!!! Instead of reaching for the crap though, instead go for a little fat. Yes, have a little fat with your stress!

Omega-3's have been shown in studies to help alleviate depression and improve your mood. Your brain loves fat, and it needs it to perform and function at a high level, so give it what it needs, not what it wants (that whole carton of ice cream! Yes, it has fat but no omega-3's baby!) Try dishing up a little salmon for lunch, or have avocado toast with a soft scrambled egg on top - fillling your belly with good foods your body can use in times of stress will go a long way in keeping you healthy even when it feels like everything is falling apart.

If we want to get into the nitty-gritty, eating foods that are high in tryptophan is your best bet when stress comes a'knockin! Tryptophan is an essential amino acid needed for general growth and development, producing niacin, and creating serotonin in the body. A few foods you can stock up on are nuts and seeds, cheese, meats (all grass-fed and finished), chicken/turkey (organic), fish (wild-caught), eggs, beans and lentils. Basically, you want to eat a healthy diet especially during times of high-stress. Resist the urge to dive into a bag of chips by acknowledging that that bag is doing right by no one! Stay healthy, stay hydrated, and stay guilt-free!

3. Exercise. You knew this was going to be in the top three didn't you?! What better way is there to get your happy hormones pulsing through your body than moving your body with purpose? And playing your music while doing it, well then you hit the daily double! You can go for the trifecta by ending your sweat session with a little happy does of additional serotonin by eating shredded grilled chicken salad (all that is is grilled chicken, 2 Tbs hummus, 1 tsp dijon mustard, 1/2 chopped red pepper and a little salt and pepper.) Get your body moving because exercise is the magic pill that you can't get over the counter.

And that is how I have been getting through the last three weeks... oh well wait, there was also a weekend away with my sisters which always helps to get back to neutral, and to also help make you realize that sometimes you may take things too seriously. (Nothing like siblings to help keep it real for you!) Make time to take care of yourself, even if that means just sitting down and reading a book for a half an hour. Take care of yourself because life will always present a challenge. It's how you handle the challenge that help you grow and learn.