Hi Balanced Beauties!
The next blog post is probably what gets me through well, every single day!!! So thanks to the people who requested strategies on how I manage stress because these two things pretty much save my life. Aside from working out, which usually cures 90 percent of my problems, there are two vital things that have helped me manage any type of stress and they are:
- Breathing exercises
I do believe that every single thing we NEED as human beings is truly there for us, but it is up to us to know how to utilize these tools, or I should say “gifts” that we were given.
Life is certainly not meant to be easy, and every single person goes through their ups and downs. However, between good sleep and breathing exercises is how I’ve dealt with and managed most curve balls thrown at me. These tools are completely free and the easiest part to them is that WE ALL have access to them at all times. For the past 6 years, I’ve relied on the right amount of sleep and breathing exercises to help me manage stress and anxious moments.
Without sleep, I personally feel so off. So naturally, a healthy sleep cycle is the first step to helping me manage a clear thinking space. I know personally, when I don’t get at least 7 or 8 hours of sleep is when I start feeling, well, all types of crazy feels! A lack of sleep usually causes my reactions to situations (usually bad ones) to be more irrational and filled with more emotion than normal. However, ever since I’ve become in tune with my body and actually started listening to when my body was talking to me, was when I realized that I had access to these tools. The funny part is that these tools have been here for me all along!
In high school and college, I used to go days without enough sleep. I used to go out and drink every single weekend. Yes, I am young, and I only live once, but for me, that consistent lifestyle took a toll on my mental and physical well-being. With that being said, of course I still go out and enjoy myself, but maybe I will make it an earlier night knowing that I have something to do that next day, or maybe I will only have one glass of wine instead of 3. For me, it is about balance and knowing what my body needs.
I know that from personal experience, if my body or my mind is tired, I do not function properly and sure as hell feel more stress, anxiety and every other crazy emotion there is to feel! Knowing what my body truly needs, I will make it a point to go to sleep a little earlier during the week. I will put my phone away early and I will skip out on one of my favorite late night shows if that’s what it takes to get that extra hour. I understand that sleep gets harder with certain work schedules, kids and life. This has been an issue for me being that some of my night classes in grad school went until 10pm, not getting home until 11pm, and finally getting to bed in between 12-1am depending on the night. On top of that, I would have to wake up at 5am for student teaching. In instances like this, I would make it a point to sleep in on a Saturday or Sunday and sacrifice some activities on the weekend to get those extra hours of sleep.
As for breathing exercises, I do this seriously, every single day. It sounds silly but it is so helpful and it is a tool that I have on me at all times for as long as I am living! I will do breath work while I drive, at work, right before bed or even while watching TV at night! I incorporate breath work with my yoga students in every class because by bringing awareness to their breath allows them to focus on something other than their thoughts, emotions or current mood. By focusing on their breath, they are then able to start to clear their mind. Breath work also helps shift mindsets, moods, and at the very least, it will help anyone take a very much needed deep breath!
SO how do I do this? Well, there are so many ways to use your breath (I do them ALL) but my go-to and something fairly easy to do looks something like this:
- Slow inhale for 4 second (4, 3, 2, 1) (short hold of the breath) and then a slow exhale for 5 seconds (5, 4, 3, 2, 1)
- Slow inhale for 5 seconds (5, 4, 3, 2, 1) (short hold of the breath) and then a slow exhale for 6 seconds (6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1)
- Slow inhale for 6 seconds (6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1) (short hold of the breath) and then a slow exhale for 7 seconds (7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1)
And so on..hopefully you get the gist! I find that when using this technique, my body naturally starts to take some deeper breaths and it feels awesome! But again, this is what works for me, and it may have no impact on you (although I strongly suggest giving it a try during your moments of stress!). I am not a psychologist of any kind, but I hope this is a tool that you can at least try!
Alright guys, so much more to come, possibly even some surprises in the near future. Stay tuned 😉
I purchased these Madewell jeans on SALE here! I purchased a size 24 and I am usually a size 25 in jeans.
This plaid long sleeve shirt is from Free People (XS and purchased last year) but FP always has good options for plaid shirts.
These booties are from nordstrom and so comfortable! I am a 7 1/2 and they are true to size 🙂