So I guess this is what it feels like to live through history…First a pandemic, then issues of social injustice rise to the forefront, the economy feels like its walking a tightrope, and my children REFUSE to maintain social distance from me! Two tips for dealing with stress: be present and be planned.
Be present. It’s summertime. The skies are blue and the sun is shining. Going into a nationwide lockdown provided no shortage of reasons to stress, but it also provided an opportunity for many to slow down. To spend more time with family. To check in with people they hadn’t connected with in recent years. Take a moment to practice gratitude each day for the gifts you’ve been given, because in my experience, we always have more than we think we do, and when things are darkest a sunrise is usually coming.
Be planned. As life got slower it provided us with an opportunity to pause, reflect, and prepare. We cannot pretend that we can control everything. But we CAN have a plan that prepares us for our future. When we aren’t intentional, it’s easy to let days and weeks go by with very little to show for it. Do you have a goal for your education? Your career? Your finances? Having a goal with a date/deadline put down in writing is a magical formula for attracting opportunity and direction into your life.
This is the holy grail for me (now that I have small children at home, I often look back and wonder why I voluntarily went without sleep before? How foolish…) Everyone has different sleep needs, but the average adult performs best on 6-8 hours of sleep. Adequate sleep makes you smarter, less stressed, skinnier, boosts athletic performance, reduces inflammation, and boosts your body’s ability to fight sickness and disease. Need more reasons? If you’re feeling tired throughout the day even when it seems you should be getting enough, examine other sleep factors. Is your room totally dark while you sleep, or do you have blue lights shining at you from electronics? How is the quality of your pillow/mattress? Some find they sleep better with the WiFi turned off in their home. And others are deficient in melatonin, a hormone produced by the pineal gland that helps your body know when to sleep and when to wake. Whatever the reason, find the solution! The better you sleep, the better you live.
Drink more water
Your body is roughly 60% water (more when you’re born, and less as you age). Drinking water impacts every aspect of your health, from supporting your kidneys and your body’s detoxification to aiding digestion to energizing your muscles to lubricating your joints to cushioning your brain to helping you achieve beautiful skin. The rule of 8 (drink 8 glasses of water a day) isn’t an exact science, but it’s a great general suggestion. And eating more fruits and vegetables is another delicious way to up your water intake!
Catch some rays
Vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin, plays an important role in our health and in our immunity. Especially given the viral climate of our times, vitamin D has never been more important. So though you may be sheltering in place, find the time and space to go outside and catch some rays. Supplementing with additional vitamin D is important for some populations as well - it’s important to note that people with darker complextions are more prone to vitamin D deficiency, since sunshine’s impact on the body is less powerful when the skin is rich in melanin & melatonin.
But wait! I thought you just told me to soak up the sun… I did - but be aware that over-exposure to the sun dramatically speeds up the signs of aging in the skin. My daily solution? Since the face and hands are the places that show age the fastest, I usually wear sunscreen only in those places while the rest of my body produces vitamin D.