Do you know what it feels like to not feel on edge all the time? I still need daily rituals to kick me out of stress mode. I’m sharing my stress reduction and beauty boosting strategies that help me every time! I think you’ll like these too.
Stress is not a badge of honor. Chronic stress in the body slowly starts to shut down vital systems and depletes our radiance.
You’ve heard of cortisol before. You’ve probably read about it as the hormone that makes you fat and it’s bad for you. But, there’s a lot of mixed information out there about cortisol.
Cortisol is a natural part of the hormone cycle. It helps us stay awake, motivated and responsive to any threats in our environment.
A constant stream of cortisol weakens the adrenals which causes serious problems down the road like autoimmune diseases, lowered immunity, increase in fat storage, foggy brain, brain cell damage and more.
Factors that Contribute to High Cortisol Levels
- Chronic Stress
- Poor Eating
- Not eating
- Work, work, work (and no play)
- Unchecked emotions
On the flip side, not all stress is bad. We can use a bit of healthy stress. Common example is exercise. However, over do it, you’re just introducing more stress hormones into your bloodstream.
So this post is going to cover 5 ways that you can lower your cortisol levels and finally feel like YOU again.
1. Take a Daily 30-Minute Energy Reset After Work
In a women’s wellness conference podcast, Marine Wiliamson said that it takes a woman’s brain 30 minutes to transition at the end of the day from a more masculine to a more feminine state. Everyone has Masculine & Feminine energy. Masculine is the “make it happen” energy and Feminine is the “let go and receive” energy. Usually for 8 hours or more, we’re in “make it happen” energy.
Women need time to drop the “who I’m supposed to be” mask on the floor and rewind from grind of the workday. We have to stop questioning if it’s okay to take “me time”. Just take it.
Activities to get out of “flight or fight” mode include, reading, writing, bath time, yoga, and walks. Make it your own! Here are some more ideas:
- Take a 30-minute walk after work in a park you love. In the summer, I love taking longer walks. Read my tips for mini manifestation walks.
- Do you love to write? Write!
- Light some candles and just breathe (see Tip 4 below)
- Do you want to just make a face mask and lay on your bed? *Personal fav
- Do a 30-minute workout or meditation for stress relief on YouTube
I start my day on the mat and end my day on the mat. Yoga or cardio, stretching, and meditation help me feel radiant and grounded. When I come home, I often sit for 30 minutes or an hour on my mat for a full stretch/yoga routine.
2. Bye FOMO!
FOMO a.k.a Fear Of Missing Out is a total energy suck. Perceived social pressures are dangerous. Compared to someone else, we think we’re behind on something. To avoid falling into this trap, you’ve gotta know your values and stick to them. Filtering out the clutter of the outside world and allowing your heart to design your life becomes a lot easier when you know your values.
An awesome friend brought me back to listening to The Minimalists Podcast. I highly recommend the Value’s episode. Know your values and structure your energy around what you value.
My key take away from this episode is that we have to learn how to separate our core values from imaginary values. Imaginary values get in the way and we miss prioritize our life. We say that they’re valuable, but they’re not actually adding value to our life.
An example in the podcast is that productivity is an imagined value. Everyone tries to be more productive or more efficient, but social media, email, or other systems block us from doing the work we need to do. Constantly being busy with email or social media may not actually helping you make what you need to make. We either have to find a way for an imagined value to serve your core values or get rid of it.
I only buy clothes that align with my values around fashion. I won’t buy a shirt because it’s cute and on sale. I’m very aligned with what pieces I want in my wardrobe set.
Example: Feminine, flowy, and comfy are elements that I look for in clothing before price, fashion trends and convenience.
When you know your values, you experience less stress and unnecessary pressure.
This way you have positive energy to know what you’re willing to fight for. You’ll be in a totally different energy and avoid distracting yourself away from your path. Check out the Minimalist Value’s episode here.
One way I’m dealing with FOMO is unsubscribing from emails.
I get way too many personal emails. Unroll.me is a fabulous email unsubscribing service that is free. Emails like “sign up now for this free webinar that will change your life” are candy for FOMO. You can get sucked into signing up for every webinar under the sun like that.
Right now, I value me-time, writing for Nourish Avenue and quality time with my friends. Personal connections are something I value over scrolling through my Facebook feed for hours or browsing through email.
3. Fill Up On Stress Reducing Nutrients
Golden Milk Latte anyone? I drink a golden milk latte whenever I need a nice warm earthy latte to calm my nerves. There are other supplements and drinks that I love to take for cortisol.
- Benefits of Golden Milk
- Green Tea & Turmeric Tea
- Ashwaganda for stress relief is a great supplement for reducing stress.
- Vitamin B-Complex
Eat fat! Your body needs healthy fats for hormone regulation. Avocados, nut butters, and omega-3’s found in Wild-Caught Alaskan Salmon are great adds into a stress busting diet for a more chill mood.
Replace your morning cup to go with Bulletproof Coffee. Bulletproof Coffee is made with butter and coffee beans that are certified clean and free from toxins. This coffee will refuel and recharge your brain in the morning. Read more about the fat burning benefits here.
4. Expand Your Yogic Breath
Pranayama is such a yummy word. Pranayama means the regulation of the breath through certain techniques and exercises. Breathing exercises help to clear out the subconscious garbage, balance our brain chemistry and helps release human growth hormone, which keeps us looking young.
Prana also means life force or spirit. So by controlling our breath we regulate vital life force so we can clear through blocks, experience a richer relationship with our bodies and feel our best.
Sounds groovy right? Here are some of my favorite exercises to get the Prana flowing
1. Alternate Nostril Breathing
- Balances out the left and right hemisphere of your brain
- Increases parasympathetic nervous system
- Shifts your attitude and outlook and helps you gain clarity
This one shifts your actual brain chemistry into a more calming and freeing state. The yogic technology is very primal and is rooted in 5,000 years of practice. People still practice it today, which means something is working!
Mrigi Mudra. a.k.a Alternate Nostril Breathing,
- Our right nostril symbolizes the Sun.
- Our left nostril symbolizes the Moon.
- The Mrigi Mudra helps to balance the sun & moon energies 🙂
How to Make the Mrigi Mudra
- This mudra is usually practiced with your right hand.
- Take your right hand, fold your middle finger and index fingers down onto the fleshy part of your palm.
- Keep your ring finger and pink straight. Keep your thumb straight.
Mrigi Mudra Breathing — Time: 5 minutes
- First Inhalation: Close your right nostril with your thumb.
- Inhale through your left nostril, hold the breath as you close your left nostril with your ring & pinky finger, lift your thumb and exhale out your right nostril.
- Second Inhalation: Keep your right nostril close with your index & pinky finger.
- Inhale through your right nostril, hold the breath as you close your right nostril with your thumb, lift your ring and pinkies fingers and exhale out your left nostril.
Keep doing this mrigi mudra breath on rotation for 5 minutes.
2. Ego Eradicator: Breathe of Fire
- Magnetizes the energetic body
- Clearing internal and external circumstances that may be blocking you.
- Energy! This breath exercise creates massive heat in the body, and helps wakes you up.
Breathe of Fire is one of my favorites. It busts through any emotional blocks and amps up your energy. Take caution with this one, it takes practice.
I recommend you watch this video from Gabrielle Bernstein
3. Deeper Breathing In Yoga Class
- Oxygenates the muscles
- Helps increase workout performance
- Removes carbon dioxide and other toxins in the body
You hear it in classes all the time “Inhale and exhale” But do you consciously do it? It’s easy for us to forget to breath. But it’s essential for oxygenating our muscles and helping you power through your vinyasa. Next time you’re in yoga class, pay attention to your breath. Don’t by shy about making your breath audible! You want to hear and feel the air moving in and out of your lungs.
You’ll melt deeper into poses, burn out the toxins, and feel more energized!
If you’re not sure when to inhale or exhale, ask your instructor. They will be able to tell you the best ways to breath to get the most benefits from your session. Usually, you inhale when it’s easy and exhale when it’s hard.
Check out Yoga Journal for more pranayamma exercises.
5. Journal Your Thoughts
“A person’s success in life can usually be measured by the number of uncomfortable conversations he or she is willing to have.” –Timothy Ferris
I rather stub my toe than have any kind of confrontation with someone. But when I write my thoughts down and plan what I’m going to say, I start feeling less anxious.
Step 1: Write down all your frustrations or concerns first.
This first step is designed to get all of the nervous/anxious energy out. We have all these imagined scenarios in our heads on how something is going to happen. But we forget that there’s another person with his or her own version of the story.
- I’m worried that this person is going to think I’m stupid for suggesting _____.
- That person really upset me because _______.
- I’m mad at myself because _______.
- My supervisor can be so inconsiderate when _______.
- So and So is a jerk because ______.
- I’m afraid of _____ because ______.
Step 2: Now you’re ready to get clear about what you want say.
After all your emotions have calmed down, start writing down how you’re going to say something. By writing your thoughts down you can get clear on what you need to say. You can flip the script to be more positive too!
- You may think _______ but, I feel ________.
- I’m upset with how we ended things the other day. How do you feel about it?
- I want to get better at _________.
- I need you to clarify something you said the other day. Is now a good time?
- I feel ______ when ________.
This exercise can also help us with presentations or plan for other work projects! I’ve used this exercise when having tough conversations with a boss, asking for a raise, leading a project, speaking at an event…and more!
It takes a lot of work to get honest with what is stressing you out. But reducing stress is part of living your best life. Good luck!