Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Total Health

I've had an epiphany. You can run all you want, eat organic 'til you're green in the face, and cut coffee or alcohol or whatever you decide is a hindrance to your health from your diet, but unless you find a way to manage your stress, total health will never be yours. As I mentioned yesterday, I'm having a hard time beating back that particular demon lately, and as a result, 2 things are happening:
1) I'm realizing, in a very powerful way, what a profound correlation there is between your stress level and your physical health. I've always known this intellectually, but as my stomach and head ache and my lip breaks out in cold sores (awesome), I can literally see in the mirror the consequences of not managing my stress to the best of my ability. 
2) I'm committing to finding ways to neutralize and mitigate this stress, for the betterment of my long-term health, and for the happiness of my whole family.

I'm doing a lot of soul searching right now, a lot of tweaking of my habits, and trying to find a balance that feels healthy and right. Obviously one can never totally eradicate stress from her life completely; a full life comes with struggles to overcome and logistics to be managed. But my goal is to cut out all non-essential stress-causing things from my life, and then to re-teach myself how to cope with what is left. It is an interesting journey.

One thing I've found just in the last few weeks that seems to make a difference is just reorganizing my day. I realized I was stressing a lot in the mornings, so now I am getting out of bed, immediately putting on running clothes, feeding the baby and then hitting the road. This allows me to start my day with a hit of endorphins and some quiet time outside to clear my head and organize my thoughts and plans for the day. I'd like to think it is a nice start to Baby J's day as well (his happily kicking feet in the stroller seem to indicate he is enjoying himself). It is amazing how something so small can really set the day in motion in an entirely different way, and help to avoid some of those anxiety pitfalls I easily fall into these days.

My goal is to seek out and collect more of these little secret tweaks and to dwell in the most calm place I can.
Some of my happiest places:
Hiking with my puppy.
Laughing with my sisters.
Being with my boys.
I'm holding these images at the forefront of my mind, causing them to overshadow whatever minor (or major) life Thing has my adrenaline pumping on a particular day.  I'm running, decaffeinating, breathing, being outside, talking about the things that freak me out instead of bottling them up.  I'm craving more yoga, connection with family and friends, and nights out with my husband. 
What keeps you calm and keeps your stress at bay?
I'm committed to seeking out every trick and revitalizing my total health.


  1. Brilliant, SMJ. This one really hit home. Thank you for your authenticity and way with words. Those pictures make my heart happy:)

  2. I agree! Reading SMJ is one of my favorite stress busters. xoxo

  3. how i un-stress:
    hang laundry
    water and weed the garden
    play with till
    walk, run, hike
    picnic/dine outside

    for me, it's not about controlling the stress, it's about controlling the pace of my life. if i slow life down, i fall back into balance naturally. so often i need to: LET THE ERRANDS GO (i don't really want to step foot in target anyway, and i can pick up some fine sheets for till at the thrift store if i'm patient), UNPLUG (turn off the cell and let those emails wait- yes, i like to pretend i'm living in the 1920s), STAY HOME (too much socializing wears a mama out). those are the three most effective ways i stay calm and at peace with my day.

    thanks for asking smj!

  4. Ah, stress....it keeps me in business. :)

    I totally agree with Haley. Sometimes if I get too wound up, I say, "baby steps." (What About Bob reference, anyone?)

    My latest thing is to make lists. I used to be a mad list maker and then got out of the habit. But, I find I've been obsessing about details (and stressing myself out) and by getting them on paper I can stop worrying about forgetting them. Just an hour ago I wrote down my game plan for tomorrow - where I need to go, what I need to bring, what I'm doing there, when and what I'm eating. It makes me feel a bit more centered.

    Love the morning runs! Wish I could join you!

    xoxo Ang