Can’t Meditate? Here’s 9 Other Options to Help Lessen Stress

I know! Meditation is the secret sauce to take your wellness up to the status of the elite gurus. It’s the “be all, end all” for the health of your entire mind-body-spirit. It’s the absolute must-do that is the only path to beating the infamous health-buster called “stress.”  Don’t get me wrong; practicing meditation is an excellent approach to optimizing your health and overall well-being.  I totally agree with how much you can benefit from a meditation practice… I am a yoga teacher after all!  Meditation is great for relieving and dealing with stress, and all of the issues that come along with it. But it’s not the only way to get there.

 

The whole purpose of meditating is to calm the mind and emotions and relax our physical body too. And there is always more than one way to get there.

 

Let’s talk about some of the other things to try if meditation is not exactly your thing.

 

Journaling

 

Spending some time every day writing out your thoughts can help to relieve stress. You can use journaling to list the things you’re grateful for, this is known as gratitude journaling. You can use it as a “brain dump” to get all of your thoughts and ideas out of your head to soothe your mind. You can use “ever since” journaling to describe your life after you reach your goals.

 

Reading

 

It’s one thing to read to learn something that you have to learn, or to advance your knowledge. And, you can also read for pure pleasure. To get caught up in a story and just relax.

 

Colouring

 

Adult colouring books are all the rage! Not *that* kind of adult, but colouring pages with lots of detail and tiny areas to colour in. Something that can take you hours. You can always opt for something simple, like kids colouring pages too. The idea is the same. Repeated movements and focusing on the art you’re creating can help to clear your mind.

 

Knitting or crocheting (or other crafts)

 

Knitting, crocheting or other yarn activities are a great way to de-stress; this is a skill that comes in all levels from beginner to advanced. You can choose a quick little rectangular scarf to make, or a detailed sweater. You can choose the pattern, size, and yarn. Once you get into the flow of these skills, they’re great to do when you’re feeling stressed. Not only can they relax your mind to focus on your work, but you can end up warming yourself or others with the products you create.

 

Gentle exercise

Gently moving your body is another great way to de-stress. Activities that are slower and less intensive are ideal. Things like walking, yoga, stretching, or tai chi can all be great ways to relax your mind and improve your strength and balance at the same time.

 

Sleep in or take a nap

 

A common cause of increased stress hormones is lack of sleep. Too little sleep and too much stress go hand-in-hand. So, getting enough good quality sleep is important to help you break free from stress without having to meditate.

 

Pamper Yourself 

 

Maybe you love getting massages or mani/pedi’s? Maybe you love a long bath or lighting candles? Perhaps you can add your favourite relaxing music to the mix for a pampering evening? Spending some time to pamper yourself regularly is great for your mind, body, and spirit.

 

Spend time in nature

 

You don’t have to head away for vacation to relax in nature. While a calm beautiful beach or cabin in the woods may be amazing, you don’t have to go that far. Even spending time on the grass at your local park or playground, or walking on a wooded trail in your neighbourhood can do the trick.

 

Make time for people and pets you love

 

It’s so important to spend time with family, friends, and pets whom you love. New research is coming out about the health issues related to loneliness. Reach out and plan to hang out with your besties, or even offer to take your neighbour’s dog for a walk in the park.

 

Conclusion

 

Stress reduction is the goal. How you do it, be it meditation or otherwise, is not that important. What’s important is that you find what works for you.

 

Try journaling, reading, colouring, knitting/crocheting, gentle exercise, sleep, pampering yourself, spending time in nature, and making time for people and pets you love.

 

Have other great ideas? Let me know what helps you de-stress in the comments below.

 

Recipe (calming): Lavender Essential Oil

Instructions to inhale directly:

 

Add up to 6 drops of undiluted essential oil to a handkerchief/tissue and inhale occasionally. Use up to 3 times per day.

 

Instruction for steam inhalation:

Add 3 – 12 drops of undiluted essential oil to a bowl of steaming water. Inhale slowly and deeply for 5 – 10 minutes. Use up to 3 times per day.

 

Tip: Lavender isn’t the only calming essential oil. You can also use angelica, balsam, benzoin, bitter orange, cedarwood, celery, chamomile, cornmint, cumin, curry, frankincense, grapefruit, jasmine, juniper, labdanum, laurel, lemongrass, marjoram, nutmeg, palmarosa, parsley, patchouli, peppermint, rose, rosewood, sage, sandalwood, scotch pine, spearmint, star anise, sweet basil, sweet orange, thyme, or ylang ylang.

 

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References:

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/getting-control-stress

 

http://www.healthline.com/nutrition/16-ways-relieve-stress-anxiety

 

https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/the-power-and-prevalence-of-loneliness-2017011310977

 

https://nccih.nih.gov/health/stress/relaxation.htm

 

https://www.dietvsdisease.org/do-essential-oils-work/

 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3612440/

 

http://webprod.hc-sc.gc.ca/nhpid-bdipsn/atReq.do?atid=aromatherap&lang=eng

Burnt-Out-Mom Syndrome & Adrenal Fatigue

Let’s face it, life can get super busy more often than not.  We’ve got a lot on our plates most of the time and can end up feeling like we are barely able to balance it all.  Fatigue, cravings, inability to sleep, and mood swings are REAL!

And common.

 

Adrenal fatigue is thought to be one of the (many) health issues that can be attributed to our high-stress lifestyles.

 

However, because there is no widely accepted definitive test for adrenal fatigue, it’s still quite controversial.

 

Let’s dive into what we know about adrenal fatigue, and learn some ways to deal with it, including a non-food recipe (at the bottom). Continue reading “Burnt-Out-Mom Syndrome & Adrenal Fatigue”

Take A Moment…

Let yourself feel how you feel. Don’t let it consume you, but allow yourself to process what’s going on. After awhile, hopefully, you can gain some insight into the experience.

Yesterday was a very difficult day for me. Something unexpected happened with a work project that is near & dear to my heart & in the moment I was completely blindsided by the development (although in retrospect I should’ve seen the signs).

The person who is my my sounding board, my creativity cohort, & my biggest supporter is out of town, so I felt very alone & lost. My kids did their best to help me, but what had to happen was feeling all the feelings. It was exhausting & there were about a dozen things I really wanted to get accomplished, but instead I spent the day working through my thoughts & emotions as best I could. I ate comfort food (yes… it was potatoes! Lol!), I cried, I slept, I organized stuff-whatever I needed to do in that moment.

Today, I’m still fragile, but I’m up & about and working on one of my other favourite work projects.

Life is not always smooth sailing, we do the best we can. And if that means having a day where we hide at home so we can process our challenges then so be it. No judgement. Be gentle with yourselves.

We’re in this together. ✨💛✨

How I Found Yoga & 10 Great Benefits

Yoga found me the summer I turned 9… it was a rainy, cool summer on the west coast and I was getting bored.  Back then, “kids” TV shows were only on after school and on Saturday mornings (seriously!).  Tired of reading, friends away on vacation, I turned on the TV without much hope and started switching through the channels. I stopped on a show where a sweet, soft-spoken woman named Kareen was instructing viewers how to do a breathing technique – it was like nothing I’d seen before!  I kept watching, then I started trying to do it myself, and after a summertime of doing Kareen’s Yoga I was hooked (as weird as that was for a 9 year-old kid in suburban Victoria) – I FELL IN LOVE WITH YOGA! Continue reading “How I Found Yoga & 10 Great Benefits”

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