By Zonya Foco
Busy with work, busy with kids, busy with social obligations, busy with holidays—busy, busy, busy.
Regardless of where we live, the season we're in, how old we are; whether we have a houseful of kids or kid-free, single, married, divorced or widowed — today's busy lifestyle spells S.T.R.E.S.S.
And the constant low-grade tension brought on by everything from mismatched socks to burnt toast to unpaid bills and traffic jams spells a constant drip of the hormones adrenaline and cortisol. And does this ever spell trouble!
Adrenaline and cortisol can be hero hormones if you're competing in sports, exerting high physical energy or in an emergency situation. But if you're just driving your car, sitting at your desk or exerting normal energy, these hormones aren't properly utilized and become corrosive to your arteries by raising your blood pressure, cholesterol and inflammation markers.
I'm not talking about your typical muscle tightening and stress headaches here. I'm talking about increased risk of heart disease, compromised immune system, weight gain and even depression!
To help you manage these menacing stress hormones—without medication—here are a few surefire solutions for "stress-busting" your life. And as the "Lickety-Split queen," you know they're going to be quick and easy!
Give yourself INSTANT relief from the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline. Oxygenate your muscles and mind to give you an instant sense of calm. Deep breathing works while driving, in a meeting, trying to find that coveted parking space…. Actually ANYWHERE.
Laugh and Listen to Music
Ever notice how a good laugh dispels stress and makes you feel better? Are you getting your share of this helpful "jogging for your insides"? What's your favorite music that makes you feel energized? Relaxed? Is it readily available in your car? Within easy reach in your home? Utilized daily? Start employing music as your response in combating stress and feel the difference!
Talk to a Friend
How many times might you reach for an unhealthy coping response (stress eating, smoking, drinking) when you could have picked up the phone? Talking about your conflict with a friend can help you keep the problem in perspective and keep you from exaggerating the problem in your mind, creating even more internal hormonal stress. Keep a phone number list handy and use it.
Exercise and Eat Right
Burning off the excess "stress hormones"; i.e. cortisol and epinephrine, through regular exercise adds to the multitude of health benefits exercise already provides. Eating right means committing and planning ahead for smarter choices, even when time is tight.
Simplify and Say No
Do your floors and toilets have to be cleaned by you in order to be a good husband/wife? What would the stress benefit be to you and your family if $100 of your monthly expenditures were redirected to a house cleaner every other week? Do you really have to volunteer every time you are asked for girl scouts, school events or church? Pick your commitments wisely. Saying "no" sometimes may be exactly the solution you need.
Prioritize and Plan
Try scheduling a mandatory "family management meeting" on Saturday to plan the week's menu, grocery list, and assign a night of cooking to each family member. If there are special supplies or materials the children need for school projects, they must be requested at this meeting. (No more emergency shopping runs during the week.) Extra chores on Sunday, pitching in to shop, doing laundry, preplanning meals for the week are all responsibilities of being "in the family"!
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