Since giving up, packing up and moving to Hawaii is not a viable option to deal with the stressors of your life (although I wish it was) we need to talk about some practical advice that fits into your day.
We are talking about decreasing stress and not adding to your to-do list, so my goal is that these tips are simple and easy to incorporate.
The first and most powerful way to decrease stress and break that fat-loss plateau is sleep. In this day and age we consider how little we sleep as a badge of honor. We think the fewer the hours we sleep the harder we are trying and succeeding at life.
This is backwards thinking for many reasons but we are here to talk about fat-loss. Not sleeping enough raises that level of cortisol which has you reaching for sugary, simple carb foods while always feeling hungry and never satisfied. EEEKKKK!
How would you feel with seven more hours of sleep a week? Do you think you could make better food choices when you are better rested?…..You betcha. If you were to go to bed at 10pm every night instead of 11 pm each night that would equate to one extra hour of sleep each night. If you do this every night of the week that adds up to seven more hours of sleep a week or one extra full-night of sleep.
For many people that may seem like a hoops dream. Start by trying to go to bed just 15 minutes earlier or waking up 15 minutes later each morning. Even 15 minutes would result in almost two extra hours of sleep a week.
The importance of sleep on decreasing cortisol levels and therefore aiding in fat-loss cannot be understated. Think you are doing everything right but can’t seem to drop those lbs….first and foremost look at your sleep.
Here are the practical ways to decrease stress, increase fat-loss and find your zen
- Aim for at least 7.5 hours of sleep a night. Think this is impossible. Start with going to bed 15 minutes earlier or waking up 15 minutes later.
2) Decrease caffeine intake and when it is consumed:
Can’t open your eyes without your cup of coffee. This is a sign that you aren’t getting enough sleep. Caffeine consumption becomes a vicious cycle. You drink it to make it through the day but it ends up being the thing that prevents you from sleeping soundly at night.
If you do nothing else limit caffeine past 2pm in the day
Work to decrease the amount of caffeine you consume each day by choosing a smaller mug, adding in decaf coffee or trading out coffee for matcha or green tea.
3) Work-out consistently:
Exercise helps your body to deal with physical stress. When you work out regularly, your body reduces the amount of cortisol it releases each time it is faced with a stressful situation. Basically, it helps you deal better with all the daily stressors that you are already facing in your life.
Working out releases endorphins which make you feel good about yourself and life which in turn help you to handle rush hour traffic, meetings and toddler tantrums without going over the deep end.
Working out often forces you to be single tasked. It is hard to think about grocery shopping while squatting under a heavy barbell, or when you are pushing yourself on a jog.
- Family walks are one of my favorite ways to decrease stress. I use it as a time to connect with loved ones, to breathe in some fresh air and appreciate my life. This can all be done with a short ten minute walk.
5) Gratitude Journal:
Change your focus, change your life. We often spend most of our life thinking about what we have to do, or what isn’t going right or what is coming down the pike that we often forget how much is going well for us. Changing your focus might help you to see you are lucky to be sitting in your car in traffic or that the toddler tantrum is the benefit of having a healthy little nugget. Changing your perception will change the way that your body responds.
Everyday spend time in the morning writing down three things you are grateful for. (p.s. It has to be something different everyday)
For extra credit write down three things that went well during your day at the end of the night.
My favorite gratitude journal is the 5-minute journal
6) 5 minutes of meditation/journaling or hobby:
When is the last time you just let your mind wander without the use of a device. Probably not often these days. When your nose is constantly in your device or TV, you don’t give yourself time to think about your day, life and problems. When you let your mind be still, that is when you often come up with solutions to those issues causing the greatest amount of stress. I like to do this in the morning with my morning cup of coffee. I set a timer for five minutes and just let my mind wander. The act of being still eases my brain and allows me to feel in control of my day.
7) Mind Dump:
At the end of the day write down everything that you have to do for tomorrow. Just the act of writing it down allows you to figure out how to get it all done. Knowing that you don't have to remember your to do list allows for more restful sleep.
- When all else fails just be prepared. Knowing your day is going to be busy and stressful, be sure to pack yourself healthy options to reach for. This way in moments of stress you are not tempted to reach for that Twix bar. Being stressed decreases willpower so let preparation work for you.
It is easy to think you don't have the time but it is not true. Every time you see yourself sneaking a peek at your Instagram, Facebook or Email that is your time.
Commit to 5 minutes a day for the next week and see how it changes your life. Not only will you enjoy each day a little more, you might find your clothes are a little looser as you enjoy a deeper sleep.
What do you do to reduce daily stress?
Need help! Contact me at Theresa.Worley@icloud.com