What is one chronic practice (hint: habit) in your life you can be assured leads to weight gain, poor sleep, pesky and serious illness, poor decisions, depression – and unhappiness?
Two of your top priorities as we continue this period of stay-at-home should be to A) keep a regular routine (hint: Alexandria Wellness Fitness Groups) and B) adopt practices that calm the nervous system.
These next few weeks, I will be unveiling ten simple hacks I’ve seen and practiced (and that work!) that lead to stress resilience, fat loss, and ultimately increased confidence. Interested? Click here for a free 30 minute consult.
How does stress impact your weight loss?
- It leads to poor sleep
- Triggers headaches
- Can lead to digestive problems
- It makes you hungrier and can lead more easily to obesity
- It slows your metabolism
- It can lead to taking prescription medication for stress and anxiety
- Leads to decreased cognitive function
- Creates an environment for reduced productivity
- Can more easily lead to injury and/or the ability to recover from it
- Serious medical conditions like diabetes, heart disease, or even death
- Makes you hungrier for carbohydrates
Below are the first three of ten practices you can start today to get your wellness back on track. They will help you in the moment and also overall lead to greater perspective. I have chosen the simplest ones. You can always get a consult with me to find others that work for you here.
1: Make Deliberate Breathing a Daily Habit
Deliberate breathing takes minimal effort, calms your mind and body in the moment of stress, and prepares you for the unexpected stress later. While we take it for granted, focusing just on your breathing can help you get in tune with your body and “take the edge off” a stressed-out brain. It’s also a very effective method to easily incorporate at any time during your day, lowering your stress through little effort.
- Try to breathe just through your nose, focus on the rising and falling of your breath whenever you feel tense. It allows you to become fully present in your life.
- Fill your belly with the inward breath and exhale slowly getting all of the air out. Don’t worry about counting…just in deeply and out.
2: Learn to Meditate
Learning to meditate, or cultivating a present state of awareness, is a no-brainer because of the many benefits. Some believe it does for the mind what physical exercise does for the body. Yet it also comes with a bunch of fear and anxiety, by many. Benefits like reducing stress, helping our physical health, easing chronic pain, and supporting better sleep, are compelling, yet many of you may feel intimidated.
Author and mega fitness guru Tony Ferris calls it a “meta-skill,” or practicing focus when it doesn’t matter (practicing mindfulness while sitting for 10 minutes) so that you can better focus when it does matter (negotiation, killer workout, difficult conversation, receiving bad news).
In fact, any time you bring your attention to the rising and falling of your breath without conscious interference, you are beginning a quick or longer journey toward mindfulness and meditation.
- Begin with a quiet space and draw attention to your breathing in and out – that’s all.
- Wherever your mind wanders, it’s okay, simply return your mental focus back to your breath. Whatever emotions come up, simply be with them.
- Join my friend’s meditations daily. Sign up here.
3: Stop Multitasking
Doing more than one thing at a time is hard on the brain. Your brain is not a supercomputer and is certainly not “wired” to accomplish multiple activities at once, or at least not well. When we multitask, we don’t do anything well because the task at hand is getting less than your full attention.
Talking on the phone and checking email? Spend time the next day fixing the mess you created because you weren’t paying full attention to the call. Eating while working? Say hello to digestive issues which also lead to weight gain.
- Read emails at one time, even dividing by topic or area of interest (finances, marketing, client services, personal, kids’ sports, school, retirement, etc.)
- Do not read email while talking on the phone. Admit it: you’ve done it even recently!
- Eat when you eat. Text when you text. Email when you email. Drive when you drive. And, God forbid, do not do all three at the same time.
Complete each task then move onto the next to best care for your brain and your stress.
I hope these three strategies and the tips to achieve them help you to gain the confidence in your mind, body, and spirit. Stay tuned for part two next week which will include three more strategies and tips you can use to reduce your stress. If you have any questions about how to achieve them even further, schedule a free consult with me here.