courtesy of catpictures.net
So, guess who slept through both her alarms yesterday? Somehow, I managed to make it to work almost on time and had a fairly productive day, despite feeling that I was sleepwalking. I’m still not totally convinced Wednesday happened.
I had no idea how I was going to make it to dinner plans with friends at The Smile in Soho that night, but luckily, I managed to fit in some quality time with my yoga mat before I had to shower and run out the door.
I never cease to be amazed at how restorative even twenty minutes or a half-hour of yoga can be. For me, it’s all about just breathing and moving and being present. I’m giving a presentation next week on stress management techniques for the food service staff at the hospital, and you’d better believe breathing exercises and yoga are part of it.
Meditation is a big one too. A lot of people think you need to sit in lotus position for, like, two hours and be free of all thoughts, but honestly, even just five minutes of focused stillness can be beneficial. Sometimes if I’m really stressed, to calm myself down I’ll repeat a phrase to myself such as “now I’m inhaling, now I’m exhaling.” Or I’ll use alternate nostril breathing to give myself something to focus on instead of the madness in my head. I always feel so much better after!
As for dinner last night—it was so much fun to catch up with some ladies I don’t get to see often enough over some delicious food. If you go, try the kale salad and the fava bean crostini with ricotta. I was happy to have a clear head, even if I then proceeded to drink perhaps slightly more Cote du Rhone than I’d advise my patients to consume on a given day…Needless to say, I slept like a baby last night.
Do you meditate? How else do you manage stress?
With the New Year right around the corner (aka 2 days away), many of us are thinking about the year ahead and changes we want to make in our lives. Have you ever thought about taking a stress reduction or meditation class to help you achieve some of your goals?
My mother, a psychotherapist based in New Jersey recently announced her winter class schedule. In January and February, she is offering classes in:
- Smoking Cessation
- Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction
- Weight Control and Food Issues
- Meditation Training
All classes will take place on weekends, and there is information on her blog regarding where classes to be held and how to sign up.
Have you ever taken a class to help you stop smoking, lose weight, or de-stress?
I’m not big on herbal products in general, but I do occasionally reach for Bach Rescue Remedy, a calming blend of flower essences you can buy in a dropper bottle or as a spray. I used the nighttime version quite a bit when I was in Italy this summer and adjusting to the time difference.
The other day, I was introduced to Rescue Pastilles, a chewy lozenge version. The cute little tin closes and opens by pressing the lid. They’re sweetened with xylitol (better than aspartame but some people can still experience unpleasant reactions to it) and come in a few different flavors.
I did feel pretty mellow yesterday morning, but that may or may not have had anything to do with these. I can’t say I’d buy them myself, but it was interesting to try a new version of an old favorite.
If all else fails, go to a happy place in your head—I pick Italy!
While I’m not promoting eating to cope with emotions, fueling yourself with the right foods can help you combat stress and anxiety. In the spirit of this week’s full moon and all the craziness it’s brought with it (for me, anyway, hope your week is going more smoothly), here’s an article from Women’s Health about soothing foods.
Some of my favorites on the list?
- Almonds are rich in immune-boosting vitamin E and B vitamins. Almond butter counts.
- Avocados—Aside from being creamy and satisfying, they’re high in monounsaturated fat and potassium, which can reduce blood pressure.
- Oatmeal—Slow-burning carbohydrates make the most of the serotonin they prompt your brain to make.
- Dark chocolate also stimulates serotonin production. Why not add a few dark chocolate chips to those oats? Quicker serotonin release plus slowly-digested fiber will keep you feeling satisfied and upbeat.
- Oranges—high in immunity-promoting vitamin C
- Salmon—Omega 3 fatty acids help regulate hormones (like cortisol and adrenaline) and prevent crazy-making spikes.
- Spinach—Magnesium in spinach can help lower stress in the body. Not getting enough of this mineral may even trigger headaches and fatigue, which are not your friends during trying times!
I’ve got the oats and almonds covered so far today and am making a shopping list for the rest of the week. Thank god it’s Wednesday already!