Saturday, March 28, 2009

Stress Really Bites!

Stress eating. I think it hits all of us who struggle with the pounds. It’s about comfort. Stress makes us feel upset, unsure, and unstable - stretched and pulled all different directions. A child can hug a teddy bear, but where do adults go for that feeling of security and balance again - to recapture our peace and calm? Well, for many of us, it’s our refrigerator or pantry. What’s more comforting than sitting down to a bag of cookies or a big piece of pound cake? (Aptly named, by the way.) Or perhaps instead of a sit-down nosh, your stress eating manifests itself in grazing all day long. Sort of like a smoker who is comforted by the feel of their lips curled around a cigarette – some stress eaters are comforted by mindless hand-to-mouth nibbling.

Of course the obvious problem with this kind of self-comforting effort is the additional stress we inflict on ourselves when we see the results we’ve “gained.” More weight on a body that doesn’t need it and a mind that doesn’t want it, equals what? More stress. Yikes! The very thing we’re trying to salve only gets worse.

Here are 8 tips, (thank you to help us get over or at least get through stressful moments and hopefully keep us from wrapping ourselves in a blanket of calories to feel better.

1. Anger Management – practice letting go, making a conscious effort/choice not to become angry or upset – too much energy and thought is wasted on this often unproductive emotional state.

2. Breathe – slowly and deeply. Take three deep breaths and release them slowly before reacting to the next stressful situation.

3. Speak slowly – slowing down our speech enables us to think more clearly and react more reasonably to stressful situations.

4. Time management – select one simple thing you’ve been putting off and do it now. Return that phone call, make that doctor’s appointment. Having an undone task or responsibility hanging in the backs of our minds adds to our daily stress level.

5. Get out – fresh air really does help! Don’t be deterred by bad weather or a too full schedule. Take a few minutes – even 5 – standing on a balcony or on your front porch – it can rejuvenate you.

6. Drink water – dehydration can add to our feelings of anxiety and stress without our realizing it.

7. Straighten up! - Check your posture. Stooping or slumping can lead to muscle tension, pain, and what? Increased stress.

8. Reward yourself – plan an end of the day reward like a nice hot bath or a half hour with a good book – putting aside work, housekeeping, or family concerns for a few minutes before bed so you can fully relax and get the rest you need. Don’t spend time planning tomorrow’s schedule or trying to catch up completing chores you didn’t get around to all day. You need time to recharge and energize so you’ll be better prepared to face the next stressful day!


Don's Girl said...

Thanks for sharing the 8 tips. I am 100% behind the water thing. Water fills you up as it hydrates you. Less 'grazing.' Ha! I like that--maybe I've mistaken my wake up from snoring--it's really a 'moo.':)

The Sugar Plum Fairy said...

Thanks, Don's Girl! Yep, filling up on water is much better than most of our other, um - choices!