Top Stress Relief Tips for 2017


Well hello there.

It's a little belated, but Happy New Year. I hope you, your families, and your loved ones are well.

These last two months have been a bit of a blur. There's the usual chaos of the holidays + an election year + wedding planning, not to mention lots of behind the scenes work on designing some great new content (at last!) for this very site.

And can I just say that of all these things, I am the most personally humbled by the wedding planning process?

As a coach and a yogi, it's my job to cultivate self-awareness, and to constantly seek out those places where judgment and ego are creeping in.

Pre-planning, I was one of those gals who thought "Aw gee, rough life. It's so hard to plan a big old party for yourself."

Because I believe in truth, and integrity, and admitting when I'm wrong (even though I still hate to do it), I stand corrected. It is, in fact, pretty damn hard to plan a big old party for yourself. So there you have it.

Add to this the fact that my fiance and I had to plan some parts of this wedding not once, but twice. Our venue called us two days before the end of 2016 to let us know that their construction schedule was running behind, and they would not, in fact, be ready in time to host our wedding. The good news is we have a new venue! Same date, same time. We are incredibly lucky.

However, this did not happen without tears, raised voices, and even some primal screams. Because it appears #everybodywasright. This process is far more stressful than I anticipated.

The point I'm getting around to is that I'm in a time of transition where I need the tools of my practice of living more than ever. When things get tough, that's when our skills and strategies are put to the test. Stressful moments are also some of our best opportunities for growth.

Here are the top five practices I'm using in times of stress to keep calm(ish) and carry on:

1.Be good to my skin. Right now, I'm all about double cleansing. I use DHC's cleansing oil to start followed by BeautyCounter's charcoal bar. Then I follow it up with BeautyCounter's face oil and a day/night cream, plus eye cream too. I follow this regimen twice a day, and it makes a huge difference. The day after our venue canceled, Greg and I both had breakouts and we looked haggard and TERRIBLE. That was all the proof I needed that stress really is bad for your skin.

2.Ask "What do I need to do next?" I have a self-directed career and run two businesses (here as coach and here as content creator), which means that I have a LOT of decisions to make every single day. Add to that mix choices about flowers, napkins, or even what my "something blue" will be, and I am on the verge of overwhelm. If I'm not careful, I'll find myself pacing around the house aimlessly, a hundred things on my mind but not actually doing any of them. Or a hundred browser windows open on my laptop. When I catch myself spiraling, I pause. Breathe. Ask myself "What do I need to do NEXT?" Then I go and do that thing. Then ask myself again. And one little task at a time, we get there.

3. Go the f*** to sleep! When I am the most tired, I also tend to be the most resistant to going to bed. Fear of missing out on something exciting, I suppose. As a little girl, I hated going into my room for naps, and I'd still rather forego sleep to stay in the center of it all (center of what? There's two of us, a house, and a fireplace. But still). These last few weeks, I've been MUCH better about sleeping when I need it. Even though going to bed at 9:30 feels a little lame, I'm happily rewarded the next morning when I am a functioning human being.

4.Doubling down on organization. I rely heavily on my organizational tools to keep me on track and where I need to be going. I wouldn't get very far without Boomerang for Gmail, Google Calendar, and an old-fashioned notebook for To-Do Lists. The more I have on my plate, the more important these systems become. So in stressful times I recommit to these tools, because I can breathe easier knowing that I won't miss a class or a deadline or a friend because I let my scheduling slide. This extends to my at-home spaces too (which also happen to be my at-office spaces). Keep washing the dishes, tackle that mountain of laundry, and generally pick things up and put them in their homes. Our inner and outer lives tend to reflect one another. A clearer space makes for a clearer mind.

5. Take the focus off myself. When I am really stuck inside my own head, one of the best ways to shift the conversation is to place my focus on others instead of myself. Teaching yoga is a great opportunity to do this for an hour at a stretch, because I am showing up to be present with my students. I also refocus by donating to my favorite charity, calling my grandparents to say hello, or simply smiling at the next person I see. When I come back to my own stuff, I have fresh perspective, and my problems, issues, and concerns don't seem nearly as monumental as they did the day before.

Because in the end, I'm just party planning, right?  :)