To the Stressed Out Woman

You know the days. Your attempt to just relax in bed for 2 more minutes after your alarm goes off turned into you jolting up several minutes later, realizing you fell back asleep and have .00865 minutes to get out the door. [Insert your choice expletive here!]

So begins a frantic, blood-pumping, adrenaline fueled routine of dressing yourself, your kids… wait, did they brush their teeth? Did you??…eat breakfast while heading out the door and thanking the universe that the bus was just a minute late today allowing you to get the kids on board. Whew. You did it.

Or we’re so overwhelmed with our work/family balance, the household chores, maintaining appearances, dealing with family issues, health issues, shuttling kids from one event to another, finding time to let each family member know they are appreciated…..and there’s that thing you always think about doing but never have time for. Sigh. There are oh so many reasons we are stressed out these days.

Thinking all the thoughts about all the things on your plate, responsibilities, deadlines…

You can feel the stress in your body. Your breathing get shallower and more rapid, without you even realizing it.

Your body sends out extra adrenaline.

You turn to comfort food.

Been there?

When you’re stressed out, you may feel like you have to manage that stress better. (Other people make it look so easy!) Just push through it, or become apathetic so things don’t get to you anymore.

One more time, for emphasis.

Become apathetic – or disconnected – so things don’t get to you anymore.

Or maybe you swing the other way, and become super sensitive to stressors – until the smallest incident (like a child taking their time putting on his shoes when you’re running late) causes you to LOSE. YOUR. EVER. LOVING. MIND.

We’ve all been there
I’ve been there.

And then I learned one key concept that flipped my stress on it’s head.

It’s this…. Instead of turning stress off, it’s much easier to turn calm on.

Visualize, a playground seesaw, with Stress on one side and Calm on the other. Away they go, alternating highs and lows. Stress is up, calm is low. Stress is low, calm is high. They both can’t be high at the same time, or on the ground at the same time.

That is also true for the stress and calm systems in our bodies.

So, next time you are stressed out, instead of trying to deal with it by pushing the stress down, focus on lifting the calm up. That will cause the effects of stress felt in your body and emotions to be counteracted, automatically.

How do we increase calm in a season of stress?
Glad you asked. There are several techniques, and lucky for us, they are actually pretty easy to implement once you learn them. And while I could write about them here, I want to do one better. I want to show you.

As my final project for the Women’s Wellness Educator program, I’ve recorded a webinar called “Chaos to Calm” and it’s yours for free.

To be automatically sent the training, just click here to get added to the list – then you’ll be automatically granted access.

During this video, I’ll touch on (and demonstrate) techniques such as Breathing, Aromatics, Tapping, and Calm Holds. I’ll also explain why you can’t “think yourself calm” and more!

You’ll walk away with actionable tools that you can start using immediately.

So next time life hits you with a challenge, you can maintain your cool, stay connected, avoid the chaos and handle the situation differently.

False Carbs

There are a lot of different thoughts on carbs out there. No matter where you land, one thing is certain. Most of us are getting carbs from two places these days, refined sugar and highly processed grain products. This topic was recently covered in the certification for Women’s Wellness Educators, and as usual I’m here to share a snippet with you!

Let’s talk about refined sugar and highly processed grain products.  When these altered foods enter our system, it causes the body to deal with something it’s not prepared to deal with optimally and they can clog up the gears and systems in our bodies. In fact, these foods slow the rate of which your cells convert food into energy because the cells are too busy trying to keep those systems clean. And because your cells are spending energy on that, you’re actually losing out on the true energy that the food would have provided.

tranquility

Here are the top 5 false energy sources out there today – sugar, highly processed baked goods, caffeine, nicotine and stress (or the adrenaline response). When we rely on these sources for energy, it’s like buying something with borrowed money. If you “buy” your energy by relying on these false sources, you lose the natural ability to track when you need to slow down and restore your body.

Tired? Don’t nap, grab another cup of coffee!

Overwhelmed? No time to meditate, let’s eat a muffin and forge ahead.

Sound familiar?

These false sources prevent us from making smart decisions about our time and abilities.

Over time, we’re damaging our body. We’re not honoring what it needs, and we get addicted to the illusory energy sources. Then we burn out.

On top of that, sugar, baked goods and caffeine take the place of normally healthy foods we would be eating.

So what can you do?

  • Replace refined sugar with whole food alternatives. If you have a sweet tooth, honor that by roasting some sweet vegetables.
  • Replace highly processed grain products with whole grains. Purchase whole grains and prepare them at home. Make them dry staples in your pantry.
  • Rely on other whole food carb sources like fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, legumes and dairy.

Just don’t ignore carbs or cut them out completely. Our bodies and brain require them. In fact, carbs are the brains only source of energy, and your brain requires more energy per gram than the rest of your body to function.

Take a step back and look at your commitments, and your energy sources.

What crutches are you using?

Make a small shift.

Can Smelling Something Really Get Me In A Better Mood?

Can Smelling Something Really Get me in a better mood?

Let’s talk aromatherapy for a moment. (And discuss my latest AH-HA moment from the certification course for Women’s Wellness Educators!)

As a former science nerd, this fascinated me. (AP Biology over here!)

As a human who sometimes gets stressed out, it intrigued me. (Could smelling something really help?)

And as a person who likes to see proof and evidence, it perplexed me. I used to be a skeptic. Can smelling something really get me in a better mood? Isn’t aromatherapy just something you get when you have a massage? Don’t they just contribute to the ambiance of a place?

I’ve used essential oils in my house to help support immunity, clean around the house and promote respiratory health, but didn’t do much dabbling with the emotional side of them. It felt a little “out there.”

Until this lesson, when the science behind it was explained and I saw how truly powerful the sense of smell can be when it comes to our emotions and mood. Perhaps our most under appreciated sense – SMELL! – has the power to zero in on our emotions.

Here’s how.

All of our other senses – taste, touch, sight and hearing – are all processed by our brain’s frontal cortex. The frontal cortex is the “thinking” part of our brain. These senses send their information or sensations to the frontal cortex, which instantly decides what to do with that information. Am I touching something hot? Did I just hear a baby cry? Is there a car coming at me? Am I tasting something good? Is there danger? The information is transferred and a decision is made.

The ONLY sense that bypasses the frontal cortex is smell. The olfactory nerve sends the information it receives directly to the limbic part of our brain – which controls, you guessed it, emotions and mood (among other things like memory and learning). The limbic system within our brain is sometimes referred to the “back door” of our brain. And the sense of smell gets to go right through that door. So when our frontal cortex is on overload and we’re thinking all the thoughts, and stressing, and worrying and going over “what ifs” – using aromatherapy can help calm the mind. Or uplift you. Or ground you.

Here are some scents to try out the next time you could use a shift.

Calming – Bergamot, Cedarwood, Frankincense, Lavender, Sandalwood, Vetiver

Grounding – Arborvitae, Jasmine, Patchouli

Uplifting – Peppermint or Spearmint, Douglas Fir, Citrus (like Grapefruit, Lemon or Wild Orange)

Since the limbic system also effects memory, this explains why smelling a scent from our childhood can instantly transport us back to that memory.

And as a bonus tip, the next time you’re studying for a test or exam pick a certain scent or oil to smell while studying. Then, dab some on your pulse points or put a drop on your shirt collar as you go into the exam. It will help with your recall as you take the test!