Stress overload. DUN DUN DUN. It’s a serious problem, specifically in our fast paced society. So serious in fact, that it has become a prominent medical problem. Did you catch that? You can die from stress. I’ll give you a second while you finish booking your next spa appointment. With finals looming and the work piling on, I am under a fair share of stress. It seems as much as I cross things off my list of to-do’s, it never really gets any shorter. What’s up with that? I’ve noticed in my life, that the more I have on my plate, the less motivated I feel to do anything. One might think this is a bit backwards but let me tell you, stress overload is real.
Stress does not just play out in school or work, it can have a major effect on your health and fitness goals. Much like a laundry list of tasks you need to complete, getting in shape or committing to healthy eating can be a daunting feat. There seems to be so much that goes into a healthy lifestyle these days; eat this not that, work out like this not like that, sleep for this long, take this pill, blah blah blah. Information overload! All this info is more likely to overwhelm than to motivate.
I have seen myself give up on my own health and fitness goals for just this reason…I’m overwhelmed, and it’s stressful!! Although I will be the first to say that there are no good shortcuts when it comes to getting and staying healthy, does the path really have to look like it’s leading up Mount Everest? I think not.When I am super stressed out with work and school and feel myself slipping on my responsibilities, there are a few tactics I use to make sure I stay on track. Best part is…they can be applied to virtually any aspect of life, so if you are feeling like you want to crawl into your bed and stay there forever, you might want to give these a try.
1) When in doubt write it out. You’re probably thinking whaaat she just said long lists are stressful?! Well yes they can be… but you know what feels soooo good. Crossing shit off. Literally. Sometimes there is nothing more motivating than being able to see that you are getting things done. The other reason lists are my go-to is that when I am stressed out I like to ignore. Turning a blind eye only makes my list longer and longer and that just equals more stress in the long run. Sometimes I even put easier things on my lists like “call home” because hey, it’s just one more thing I get to cross off.
2) When in doubt sweat it out. Like I mentioned before, feeling overwhelmingly stressed can make me want to lock myself in my room with some food and some Netflix (let’s face it that sounds pretty good even when I’m not overwhelmed). But in fact, the complete opposite of that, exercising, may just be exactly what you need. Exercising, no matter how strenuous, releases endorphins and relieves stress. So put down the pencil and grab your yoga mat or head out for a run, I’ve never heard of anyone who regretted a good workout.
3) When in doubt breathe it out. It’s simple. A couple of focused deep breaths kick starts your body’s relaxation response, which will leave you relaxed, calm, and focused in no time. Best part is: breathing is free! Holla at the broke college student over here!
One final thing you can do to relieve stress is to practice what you love. Even if it’s just for thirty minutes, take your mind off your worries by giving in to what you are passionate about. You all know by now that my greatest passion is cooking, so here are two new recipes that were born out of my very own stress. Well, hey at least it was good for something.
Clean Choco-Nana Muffins
1/2 cup oat flour (I just blend rolled oats until fine)
1 scoop chocolate protein powder
2 tbsp coconut flour
1/2 mashed banana
1 tbsp honey
2 egg whites (or two flax eggs)
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a muffin tin. Mash your banana in a medium bowl with a fork. Add the rest of the ingredients to the bowl and stir until mixed. Add the batter to the prepared tin and bake for 15 minutes or until soft to touch.
FLAX EGGS!- A substitute for eggs to make baked goods and yummy stuff VEGAN! They are super simple to make and only require flax meal and water! to make two flax eggs, whisk/blend together 2 Tbsp of flax seed powder/meal with 6 Tbsp of BOILING water. Let sit for 5 minutes and voila!
Blackberry Cinnamon Cupcake
1/2 cup rolled oats, ground into flour
1 ripe banana, mashed
1 tbsp honey (I used a heaping tablespoon)
1/2 tbsp flax seeds
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp butter extract (optional)
1 tsp cinnamon
Handfull of blackberries
Macerated berries to top
Mash the banana in a small bowl. Grind the rolled oats into a flour using a blender or food processor. Add the oats into the bowl with the mashed banana, along with the egg, honey, extracts, and cinnamon. Stir until smooth. Add the batter into a mug and microwave for 2 minutes until the top springs back when touched.