3 Simple Ways: How to Reduce Stress While Social Distancing

It’s hard to reduce stress when every television channel and social media outlet is reporting news on the COVID-19 epidemic we are facing here in America. Today, the Trump Administration has recommended social distancing across the United States. You are ordered to stay home from work if you are sick. Gathering in groups of 10 have been discouraged and as a result restaurants, clubs, and gyms are closing their doors.

My anxiety and stress has been high as a result of the ongoing changes regarding the rapid community spread of COVID-19. While, at home I have found 3 simple ways that has helped me cope with reducing stress while social distancing.

1. Exercise at Home

Going to the gym is no longer a option. With the gym closing their doors, we must seek alternatives to still incorporating exercise into our lifestyle. Do not allow social distancing hinder your activity level, by becoming a couch potato.

Exercise is known to combat stress. The more physical stress on your body, relieves the mental stress and anxiety you may be feeling. The greatest benefits of exervise is achieved when you exercise daily. Those who fail to exercise daily are at an increased risk of feeling more stressed than those who exercise daily (Jennings, 2018).

Benefits of Exercise

  • Stress hormones: Exercise lowers your body’s stress hormones — such as cortisol — in the long run. It also helps release endorphins, which are chemicals that improve your mood and act as natural painkillers (Jennings, 2018).
  • Sleep: Exercise can also improve your sleep quality, which can be negatively affected by stress and anxiety (Jennings, 2018).
  • Confidence: When you exercise regularly, you may feel more competent and confident in your body, which in turn promotes mental wellbeing (Jennings, 2018).

I have used this time at home to reincorporate yoga back into my daily schedule. My favorite Yogi/Youtuber, Adriene of Yoga With Adriene brings the yoga studio right to your home with her youtube series and yoga practice. I have really been enjoying her session, Yoga for Anxiety and Stress.

Yoga with Adriene

Benefits of Yoga

  • Improved posture
  • Improved flexibility
  • Mindfulness
  • Increasing muscle strength and tone
  • Improve overall health
  • Increase energy levels

If you are seeking ways to remain active I would highly encourage you to implement a simple yoga practice into your daily schedule. If there was ever a good time to start a yoga practice, the time is NOW.

2. Read a Book

Take charge over your health. Pick up that book that has been sitting on your night stand or bookshelf. This is the perfect time to get some reading in while you are at home.

I am currently reading two books and since I have been at home I have had so much time to read. Reading is a excellent stress reducer. I often read right before bed because I love the sense of calmness that reading brings over me.

Benefits of Reading

  • Mental stimulation
  • Stress reduction
  • Memory improvement
  • Improved focus and concentration
The Outer Banks House by Diann Ducharme

Allow reading to clear your mind. Read to escape. I am currently reading, The Outer Banks House by Diann Ducharme. I am mentally on vacation in OBX thanks to this book. The magic about reading that I enjoy is the ability reading has to take you to different places and times. A good book will pull you in to that world and that is amazing to me. I have always enjoyed reading and find that is is my safe haven when I am stressed.

3. Relax and Take a Moment to Your Self

Kiwi and Blueberries

The best thing for you to do if you are self quarantining or simply practicing social distancing, is to simply relax and take a moment to your self. With school being out and the kids at home my days has consisted of a well developed schedule beginning with breakfast, school work, lunch, school work, dinner, and then bedtime. It’s busier staying at home than actually leaving out of the house.

I have been taking advantage of my ME time after the kids go to sleep at night. My nights have looked a little like this…

Curled up on the couch with hubby, watching a good movie — Contagion (2011 Film), and eating a yummy snack (fruit). Tonight, I enjoyed some sliced kiwi with blueberries. I absolutely love fresh fruit and it is my late night indulgence. What are your favorite fruits? And what are you doing to relax and take a moment to yourself?

Erica ❤

References:

Jennings, K.-A. (2018, August 28). Retrieved March 16, 2020, from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/16-ways-relieve-stress-anxiety

6 Tips on How to Become a Morning Person

Are you struggling to get moving in the morning? While, you may refer to yourself as not a “morning” person- you are very capable of becoming one. I will be sharing 6 tips on how to become a morning person. Routine is everything! Training yourself does not solely relate to working out. We also have to train our body, especially if we are seeking to make changes in our lifestyle.

6 Tips on How to Become a Morning Person

  1. Create a schedule: Having a schedule in place is essential. Create a morning routine and stick to it! A schedule will not only hold you accountable but it will keep you motivated. I recommend for you to select a time and commit to waking up and eating breakfast at the same time daily. This includes weekdays and weekends. You can even include a morning workout or morning stretch into your routine which will help get you moving after your slumber. You will notice after a week that your body time clock will have adapted to your new schedule and you may find that you are waking up before your alarm.
  2. Use a Smart Alarm: Opt for an alarm that does not have a snooze button. I have overslept so many morning by accidentally selecting the snooze button. Some of those mornings were not accidental but definitely resulted in me running late to work. I personally hate to hear abrupt and annoying alarms in the morning. I was lucky enough to find a application, “Sleep Cycle” in my app store (Apple). Sleep Cycle allows you to select the time which you need to wake up by and will gradually wake you within 30 minutes prior to that time, depending on where you are in your sleep cycle. Studies report that there are stages of sleep when you should not be interrupted. This app monitors your sleep cycles and wakes you at the most appropriate time in order to wake you up when you are feeling optimally rested.
  3. Open your blinds: Allow natural or artificial light into your bedroom and throughout the house. Lighting signals to your brain to stop making melatonin which is a hormone that encourages sleep. Waking up before the sun rises can be a challenge especially if you are trying to wake up and get ready in a dark or poorly lit room. The darkness and poor lighting will promote sleepiness.
  4. Exercise: Opting to exercise or stretch first thing in the morning is a perfect routine to help wake up your body. It has been reported that morning exercises assists with lowering blood pressure, reducing stress/anxiety, and encourages you to sleep better at night. Recommended activities: morning walk/jog/run, walk your dog, yoga
  5. Enjoy a protein-packed breakfast: Avoid heavy breakfast items such as biscuits or bagels. Instead opt for high protein items such as eggs and yogurt. Protein encourages wakefulness and will help in keeping you full longer. Protein is packed with nutrients to keep your energy levels elevated which will further help you feel better in the mornings.
  6. Avoid naps: Fight the urge to nap throughout the day. Naps can definitely through off your schedule and destroy all your progress from your newly developed morning schedule. Naps make it harder to fall asleep at night. If you are noticing that you are feeling sleepy towards the end of the day, use this as an opportunity to go to bed earlier at night.

I hope you find these 6 tips useful. Please comment below your experience and feedback. Let me know what worked and did not work for you. Your insight can help others. If you are a morning person, please share any advice you have regarding what keeps you grounded and motivated.

FLWE ❤

3 Tips on How to Deal with Coffee Cravings

While you may classify your love for coffee as an “addiction,” it more than likely is just a dependence. It is really not that difficult to kick your coffee habit to the curb or at least have more control over your coffee craving.

One aspect to keep in mind is that caffeine withdrawal does not last that long and your body will naturally reset itself after a free weeks of abstinence from consuming coffee. Yes, you may experience some side effects such as: headaches, tiredness, irritability, and trouble concentrating are all are temporary and will resolve on its own. The longer you successfully refrain from coffee, your tolerance for caffeine will also decrease.

3 Tips on How to Deal with Coffee Cravings:

  1. Quit Cold Turkey: Remind yourself that symptoms of withdrawal are only temporary. Symptoms can range mild to severe and will very individually. Some people may find it challenging to function normally and others may be able to work through the sudden transition. Withdrawal normally occurs within 12-24 hours after your last cup of coffee. The majority of withdrawal symptoms will peak after two days without caffeine but could potentially last up to ten days.
  2. Gradually Give it Up: If you are not willing to quit cold turkey, fearful of the symptoms you may encounter- slowly begin to reduce your coffee intake each day. You can even replace coffee with another caffeinated beverage that has lower caffeine. For example, the average cup (8 oz.) of coffee has about 95-200 mg of caffeine; a cup (8 oz.) of tea has about 14-60 mg of caffeine. Making a simple change, tea over coffee can assist with weaning you off of coffee.
  3. Break your Coffee Routine: If drinking coffee has become a daily routine breaking your habit is as simple as altering your routine. Instead of enjoying a cup of regular coffee you may want to opt for decaf in the morning. Another option, would be to replace your morning coffee with another beverage (tea or breakfast smoothie).

If you are struggling to break your coffee craving please share what you think causes the setback in your life? Is it the taste that you crave or the experience? Do you drink coffee for social reasons? I would love to learn more about your thoughts and experience with coffee cravings.

If you have successfully overcame your coffee dependence please share what worked for you.

FLWE ❤

How to Reduce Your Weight Effectively

Are you looking to lose weight? Has your progress flatlined? If your goal is to reduce your weight effectively here are a few recommendations that I suggest you incorporate in your routine:

  1. Workout Variety- Do not allow your body to get use to the same old routine. Mixing up your intensity, duration, and workout type will shock your body into weight loss. If you are not already, combine both cardio and strength training in your routine.
  2. Strength Training- Incorporating strength training with free weights into your routine will encourage weight loss. Remember: the more muscle you have in total body mass will allow you to burn more calories in your workout.
  3. Sleep- Be sure that you are getting an adequate amount of sleep daily. People that are sleep deprived often have a harder time at losing weight and often weigh more, compared to those who eat the same diet but receive adequate sleep. When your body lacks sleep it “over” produces the following hormones: leptin and ghrelin which signals hunger pains.
  4. Nutrition- Exercise and diet together work to improve your health on the inside and out. Physical activity works to reduce your risks of disease (heart disease, cancer, obesity, diabetes, etc.). Balanced nutrition assists with improving your health (heart health, brain health, energy levels, and weight control).
  5. Recovery- Although, you may be addicted the results you are seeing from working out, do not forget the importance of “rest days.” Your body and muscles need time to repair and this occurs when you are sleeping. While asleep you produce the most growth hormone; further assisting with burning fat and building muscles. Overtime building more muscle results in increased strength which further encourages weight loss.

FLWE ❤

6 Ways on How to Begin your Fitness Journey

6 Ways on How to begin your Fitness Journey

Many of you may have thought about embarking on a fitness journey. Yet, something always seems to get in your way. The most common excuses that I hear from those that I coach, all stem from pure procrastination. You are setting yourself up for failure– if you are lacking a plan.

This week I am bringing you:

6 Ways on How to Begin Your Fitness Journey

1. Set Your Goals

It sounds easier said than done. Setting your goals and having a clear understanding of the expectation that you have for yourself is a crucial step in beginning your fitness journey. If you lack clear goals you are not going to know what you are working on or why.

This was me January of 2017. I declared as my New Years resolution that I wanted to start working out. Well, what I failed to do was set my goals. It was easy for me to sign up for a gym membership. I even committed to the gym several days out of my week. However, I did not see any results in the mirror or on the scale. I was doing at least 45 min – 1 hr of cardio on various machines (treadmill, elliptical, and stationary bike). The vision I had for myself was not clear. I didn’t have a purpose. I knew I wanted to lose weight but I didn’t have a goal weight set. I didn’t know what exercises would benefit me the most based on my goals; all because my goals were non existent.

When beginning your fitness journey it is imperative to set your goals up front. Write it out. You have to be able to see your goals on paper (the vision).

Ask yourself: What is my goal weight? Do I want to lose weight, gain weight, or maintain? Is strength training my goal? Have I checked my BMI? How many calories should I be consuming daily?

These are all important questions to ask yourself when developing your goals. Having a clear vision of your goals will set you up for success.

2. Get Motivated

After you establish your goals– get motivated. You can not wait for someone else to motivate you. You have to seek to motivate yourself. Without motivation, you will not be able to sustain in your fitness journey. There are going to be days when you don’t feel like sticking to your goals. You may feel tempted to have a cheat day or skip the gym. Motivation can push you through these negative thoughts and keep you on course. Setbacks will set your further away from your goals and results will be further out of reach.

I challenge you to think about what are the motivating factors in your life. If you are lacking motivation- you need to find motivation ASAP. Motivation is crucial to your personal success.

3. Form a Routine

A routine is a habit. Start incorporating good and health habits in your life. For me I start my day out with listening to my favorite podcast (personal development). While listening to my podcast I make my shake and tea in the morning to start my day. Since I am a working Mom, my day begins before the sun comes up while the house is still quiet. My quiet time is first thing in the morning. This is also the time where I can accomplish the most out of my day. How I start my morning, sets the tone for the remainder of my day. Waking up on the right side of the bed is real.

After I listen to my personal development podcast and enjoy my shake and tea, I am then ready to begin my day. This is my routine. If I miss this step in the start of my day, my momentum declines and I find that I am more inclined to excuses.

Your routine also includes your commitment to workout. Plan the days you are going to commit to the gym. Fitness is 80% nutrition, and 20% workout. If you plan your workouts into your schedule, it promotes self accountability which is also a crucial aspect to your success.

Do you have a routine? (Please share below in the comments) I would like to know what motivates you. Sharing what motivates you may encourage someone else in their journey.

4. Take Action

Now that you have your goals set, motivation, and routine in place; it is now time to take action. Incorporate these changes into your daily life. Consistency is key!

Remember, any distraction from your goals, lack of motivation and routine is a set back to your overall results. You can not achieve success if you are failing to put in the necessary work. Your results depend on you and your willingness to make the necessary changes within your life.

5. Document your Progress

Documenting your progress is important because it is motivating to see your progress and track how far you have come. Seeing your results over time is the most encouraging feeling. Progress is what drives success. If you see that you are making progress you will want to continue.

Do not get discouraged in the beginning if you know you are staying on course with your goals, motivation, and routine but are not noticing any results. Consistency is a major factor and results are not achieved over night.

Keep this in mind:

Results- 6 Ways on How to begin your Fitness Journey

6. Revisit and Revise Goals/Progress

On your fitness journey I highly encourage you to revisit and revise your goals/progress often. With progress, you may need to alter and make changes to your goals and routines accordingly.

For example, if your goal is to lose weight you may realize that you need to incorporate strength training or need to focus on a certain area now in order to tone.

It’s ok if your goals change over the course of your fitness journey. Being able to revisit and revise your goals is imperative to the success of your progress. What you may be currently committed to as far as goals and routines may not be working for you as they did months ago when you initially committed to them.

Be flexible and listen to your body. Take a look in the mirror. Do you like what you see? Have your goals changed? Is there more that you are looking to achieve, than what you are holding yourself accountable for?

Your biggest competition is not going to be the next person beside you or in your circle on their fitness journey. Your biggest competition should be YOURSELF! I encourage everyone to follow these 6 ways on how to begin your fitness journey. Hold yourself accountable for your health and wellness. You are held accountable for the results you are seeking to achieve.

As the coming weeks progress I plan to revisit some of these topics and blog deeper into the importance of certain areas. Keep personal development on your radar. I would love to share with you my favorite podcasts that I listen to daily for personal development.

FLWE ❤