Thursday, May 22, 2014

Operation: Healthy Stress-Busting

May has been a very busy month for me.  Between Joe's grandfather passing, having to help both of my schools get their kids ready for the math EOC tests, changing up my work routine for a week to write curriculum, starting some additional projects, and my brother's wedding this weekend, I've just been so thrown off!

Unfortunately, when I feel stressed and my routines are thrown off, I tend to exercise less, eat more sugary foods, and want to drink more alcohol (particularly wine--which is sugary!).  Quite honestly, all I've wanted to do for the past two weeks is sit on the couch, overeat, and drink.  

According to this article from Harvard Medical School, I'm not the only one that this happens to!  In fact, the corisol in our brains that is released during prolonged stress is what causes those desires to overeat.  Additionally, the sugary foods seem to inhibit the feelings of stress, which really does make them comfort foods for us!

While I have felt very happy when I'm eating sweets and drinking wine in the evenings lately, I've noticed a little added cushion on me, particularly in the waist area!  And now I'm frustrated with myself for not taking care of myself.  So yesterday, I decided it's time for Operation: Healthy Stress-Busting and got right to it!

Attacking the Sugar Cravings
I came home wanting something sweet (no surprise!), but I bypassed the Dunkin' drive-thru in favor of a healthy snack that would satisfy those cravings.
I mixed some vanilla Chobani with some cherry vanilla granola I received in my latest NatureBox.  I've gotta say, this was DELICIOUS!  My sweet tooth AND my desire for something crunchy were both satisfied.  In addition, I got in some protein and the sugar was natural, non-processed.  Satisfying and good for me?  I'll take it!

Other healthy snacks I plan to have that'll satisfy the sweet tooth: Nature Valley Protein Bars, making overnight oats with a little sweetener, and fruit smoothies.

Attacking the Laziness
I know how great I feel after a workout, but when I'm stressed, the last thing I want to do is go somewhere else (the gym) rather than just go park it on the couch.  Yesterday, I decided to put on some new leggings I bought myself and head to a BodyPump class.
Yes, those are Lululemon!  I bought them at my yoga studio as an early birthday present to myself, and I've gotta say, they make me smile.  Plus, after the class, I felt great!  BodyPump certainly helped reduce my feelings of stress and got me a little relaxed.

I have a few ideas on how to continue attacking the laziness as I mentioned yesterday when I shared my ZOOMA Chicago training plan. I plan to do a separate post on those ideas after seeing how they work.  I do know that exercise will help reduce stress (and keep off those pounds due to stress eating), so I plan to make that a priority through the end of school and beyond.

Reducing Additional Stress
Housework is a huge source of added stress for me.  Joe has been SUCH a huge help since he's been in clinic getting a lot of the chores done when he's at home, but there's still my usual chores and general cleaning to deal with.  Instead of being overwhelmed with all that needed to be done, here are some of the things I started to do yesterday (and plan to continue):
  • Getting laundry started right when I get home.  That way, it'll be ready to go to the dryer once I've taken care of other things.
  • Putting clothes in the hamper/hanging them back up right away.  I usually let them pile up either on the bed post or in front of the closet, but it's been so nice to have the clothes put away!
  • Washing dishes as I go.  It makes for a faster, more stress free clean-up after dinner when the dishes aren't all piled up!
Plus, getting things done right when I get home helped me make it back out to the gym for BodyPump last night!  Score!

Oh, and lots of cuddle time with these guys will certainly help reduce my stress! 
I'm excited about my plans for Operation: Healthy Stress-Busting, and I hope that I'll develop habits that will continue even when the stress is gone!

Question for you: What are some healthy ways that you beat stress in your life?


  1. I've learned for myself that it's about the combination of a number of little things that make a difference for me- trying to balance eating, sleeping, resting well, exercise, watching my language (decreasing cognitive distortions), etc...
    Those lulu pants are cute!

    1. Oh, I forgot about sleep! That would definitely help with stress :)

  2. Those are SOOO cute! I've never owned anything Lululemon before, but I'm always eyeing their stuff! I totally feel you on craving sugar (or wine) when I'm stressed. Somehow I always think it'll make me feel better... and it never does!

    1. Thanks! You should get some Lulu...I never realized how high-quality the stuff was until I put it on and didn't feel like I was wearing anything!

  3. This time of year always seems to be super busy, especially for those of us who work with students on a regular basis. But it sounds like you've outlined a great plan to help get yourself back on track. I know you can do it!

    1. I know, you'd think the end of the year wouldn't be so crazy, right? Thanks for the encouragement :)

  4. I always try to do the dishes as I go--definitely much easier than having a sink full of dishes to be tackled after dinner!

    1. Oh, for sure! I wish I'd started doing this consistently sooner!