The Reality of Stress

I’ve been thinking a lot about stress lately. Mostly because I’ve been feeling it. In a previous post, I wrote that stress is the perception we don’t have the resources to cope with a given situation and that any adverse or demanding circumstance that results in mental, emotional or physical tension is considered stress. Those definitions sure hit home right now!

Two months ago, I added a writing project to my already rich schedule. It’s one I anticipated with excitement for several months. But when it came time to hunker down to the process, the time crunch hit me hard. I thought I had the extra hours in my week to devote to the writing, but I quickly started to doubt myself, my ability to manage my time, and my ability to stay focused. It didn’t take long for the unwelcome chatter to pop into my head. Maybe this project wasn’t a good fit for me. Maybe I don’t have Superwoman tendencies after all. Didn’t I already have enough on my plate? My confidence and belief in taking on this project started to wane.

In reality, the commitment has meant a temporary shift in priorities. While my insides may be squirming a bit at what feels like a time crunch, I’m learning to be okay with the temporary reality of life. This is a short-term project that, of course, has its challenges. It’s also an opportunity that has its rewards. So instead of giving in to the self-doubt, I’m rising to the occasion and focusing on the aspects of my health that keep me strong, resilient and moving forward.

Here are four self-care tips I’m implementing:

I’m staying well hydrated. This has been a challenge in the hot, dry temps in Boulder, CO, this summer. Nonetheless, I am committed to drinking eight 8-oz glasses of water, tea and fresh juice each day. How do I know I’m getting enough fluid? I do what I ask my clients to do…track daily fluid intake. I don’t always hit my daily mark, but the charting helps me see that over time I’m staying ahead of the curve. I can also feel it in my muscles, in my brain, and in my ability to concentrate. Click here to see my tracking. I drink mostly water and herbal and green teas. The teas add vital nutrients that support cell and tissue function, too.

I’m eating nutrient-dense food. With the added demand on my schedule, meal prep falls lower on my priority list some days. I’m more aware of how precious time is right now, and meal planning and preparation take time. My solution is to keep the refrigerator stocked with a variety of fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs. The freezer holds extra protein sources (chicken, pork, cuts of beef, fish) to get me through in a pinch along with a few bags of frozen organic vegetables. My pantry is stocked with whole grains, beans, canned tuna and sardines. Add a cabinet of spices, and the combination makes it easy to pull together a flavorful, nutritious and well balanced lunch or dinner in minimal time. Check out this link for robust chopped salad ideas. Remember to add adequate protein to keep your brain functioning at its best.

I’m carving out time to move. This is another challenge because once I get into my work groove, time gets away from me. Yet exercise is an important part of overall health. Hours in front of a computer can inhibit circulation, which is not good for blood flow to the brain. I take short breaks that get me on my feet and away from my desk. It can be as simple as a walk down the driveway or up and down steps from my office. On any given day, committing 30 minutes or more to a run, a walk, or a spin on my bike is a challenge, too. But the break helps clear my head and allows me to appreciate the beautiful outdoors.

I’m maintaining a regular sleep schedule. The best physical and psychological repair happens in the body between 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. My ideal restoration is between 10:30 p.m. to 6:30 a.m. With more hours of daylight in summer, I use light, and dark, to my advantage, too. A sleep mask works great for blocking out ambient light and early morning sunshine. The darker the surroundings, the more opportunity my body has to produce melatonin, a hormone that helps maintain my natural circadian rhythm.

I admit the past few months have felt stressful. I notice it the way my mind wants to race and my stomach starts to flutter. There is also good energy around the challenge I’ve taken on. The anticipation of the accomplishment is motivating as is the personal insight I am gaining through this process. By keeping my body well-fueled and my reserves strong, I know I will have the resilience to see this project through to the end.

Are you looking for ways to build your reserves? Give me a call at 303-442-2492 or send an email. It’s my passion to help people feel their best through nutrition.

Here’s to your health and vitality!

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I believe good health is as close as your kitchen. My nutrition practice is based on nutrient-dense, whole food and lifestyle choices that support health and wellness, especially during times of high stress and transitions. My role is to educate, guide and support individuals who want to break the stress-induced cycle of depletion and regain control of their health. Having passed the HNCB exam, I am a Board Certified in Holistic Nutrition® (Candidate). To learn more, contact me at 303-442-2492 or by email

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