The Bare Necessities

This month, we are writing about specific techniques to reduce stress based on Diane’s Top Ten Tips Plus Two. Today, I’d like to concentrate on, “Nourish your body with food, sleep, activity and rest.” It sounds like a no-brainer, doesn’t it? But when we chop this tip into pieces, we can see where we’re lacking.

1. Nourish Your Body With Food: I’m fairly sure that everyone that’s reading this eats every once in a while. But with busy days, sometimes we don’t take the time to make or buy something healthy. We end up going through the drive thru or getting a bag of chips out of the vending machine. This kind of diet will make you gain weight, raise your cholesterol, and increase your chances to develop Diabetes and heart disease. Think about it – how can you make time for eating healthy foods when you’re on the run? Many fast food chains offer some healthier choices, but cooking at home is the best because you’ll know everything that’s in your meal and can control its caloric content.

2. Nourish Your Body With Sleep: Raise your hand if you get 7 – 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep at night. Since I don’t see any hands up, I’m assuming you’re trying to live on 4 – 6 hours per night. Some of you may be operating on even less, especially if you just had a baby. The trick is to get at least 5 hours of uninterrupted sleep per night. You may need to get your partner or family member involved so you can sleep while the other person tends to the baby. All of you other women who are not sleeping enough: find a way to go to bed earlier! Lack of sleep can also increase your risk for heart disease, stroke and depression.

3. Nourish Your Body With Activity and Rest: So many jobs involve sitting behind a desk or in front of a computer. This creates a very sedentary day! If your workplace has stairs, use them! Take a walk on your lunch break. Do stretches at your desk. Most experts agree that getting aerobic exercise for at least 20 minutes, 3 times a week will help you lose fat, gain muscle and make you feel great! Exercise releases endorphins, which are the same neurotransmitters that are released during orgasm! On the other side of the spectrum, we also need to take time out to rest. Not sleep – rest. Lie on your couch and breathe. Let the stresses of the day evaporate and let yourself slowly transition from work to home (or from homemaker to peace and relaxation).

Which tips are you already using? Which ones would you like to use? If you give these tips a try, let us know how it goes and you will be entered into our May Self-Care Challenge! Good luck!