How to Reduce Stress Naturally?

How to Reduce Stress Naturally?

I hope you’re having a great week! I’ve got some fitness advice for you this morning when it comes to relieving stress.

If you’re like many people I talk to, you might take this advice as extra stress and added pressure … but NO WORRIES! I have your back, 100%!

One of the very best things you can do to cut stress is to add some aerobic/cardio exercise to your daily routine. It’s been proven in numerous clinical trials to be an effective treatment for depression and anxiety.

That’s because it works on a hormonal level in two different ways…

First, it lowers the level of stress hormones (cortisol and adrenaline, which I’ve talked about a lot lately).

But it also helps your body produce more endorphins, which are your “feel good” hormones that help boost your mood, and also are natural painkillers.

That’s not even talking about all the other health benefits you can get from doing cardio, including lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels and a reduced risk of many chronic diseases.

The reason I said this news stresses some people out is that the American College of Sports Medicine recommends that most of us get 150 minutes of moderate cardio exercise a week.

But don’t let that number scare you.

That’s only 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. And that 30 minutes doesn’t have to be done all at once – you can rack it up in shorter bursts of activity over the course of the day.

I know for some people (especially those who have been inactive or are coming back from illness/injury), even 30 minutes over the course of a day can seem like a lot.

I’ve got a good rule of thumb you can follow so you don’t end up doing too much, too soon and end up feeling overwhelmed and overtired (and overstressed!).

What you want to do is just start doing some form of cardio exercise. Walking is a good bet, but so is biking, dancing, swimming or any other exercise you enjoy.

Depending on your experience and fitness level, you can start out with 5-10 minutes, and not worry too much about how hard you are working – although if you’re new to working out you definitely do NOT want to be pushing so hard you get winded to the point you can’t hold a conversation.

You can start out with just a few sessions of cardio a week, and then build up over time.

The 10% Rule

The 10% rule that has been used for decades to help people improve their cardio fitness.

Here’s how it works: if you’re working out for a total of 60 minutes a week (15 minutes, 4 times a week), you would add 10 percent to that (6 minutes), so you are spending a total of 66 minutes working out the next week. You can break that up however you want: you could do 3 x 15-minute sessions and 1 x 21-minute session, or whatever works for your schedule and how you feel.

Once you get to the point where you are able to go for 20-30 minutes at least 3 days a week without getting too tired, you can start adding little intensity boosts to your routine.

Basically, you just start walking/cycling a little faster for a set period of time and then slow back down so you can recover.

One of my favorite ways to add intensity bursts to my cardio is to load up a music playlist with some of my favorite “pump me up” songs, and every time the songs get to the chorus, that’s when I pick up my pace!

It makes it fun – and that’s always a hallmark of a good workout!

Depending on your history with exercise and current level of fitness, you might notice in a few weeks, you will notice you’re able to ramp up your time a little faster than you could the first week or so.

To your radiant health, with love

 

How to Have A Stress-Free Holiday Season

How to Have A Stress-Free Holiday Season

Happy November!!

It’s here. We’re officially heading into one of the busiest times of the year!

Before everything ramps up … let’s take some time to get prepared NOW.

A little bit of effort now will help you cruise through the holidays without the stress.

It all starts with taking care of YOU.

When life gets hectic, one of the first things to drop off our to-do lists is our self-care routine. Which is ironic, since taking a little time for yourself each day will help you do everything else better.

Here are some tips to stay ahead of the game:

1. Try to make a simple meal plan each week during the holidays, so you can avoid too many on-the-go meals. Holiday treats are notoriously high in salt, fat, and sugar, which will just leave you feeling bloated and awful.

But more importantly, eating sugary foods affects the good bacteria in your gut (that helps you fight off cold and flu viruses), which obviously can have a negative impact on your immune system. It also inflames the delicate gut lining. It will cause glucose (blood sugar) spikes followed by insulin spikes, which is pro-inflammatory.

What are some easy meals you can throw together at the last minute? My go-to’s are turkey burgers and veggies, scrambled or hard-boiled eggs (yes, even for dinner!) and sweet potato, pre-roasted veggies with some grilled chicken.

2. Don’t compromise on your exercise time. Keep your immune system happy and get in at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise (like a brisk walk) most days of the week.

One study found that women who walked for a half-hour every day for a year had 50% fewer colds than those who didn’t. That’s because regular walking appears to lead to having more infection-fighting white blood cells.

Not only that, but exercise can help you fight stress. When you work out, your body releases more feel-good, mood-boosting hormones.

3. Make a list (or two!). If you have a hectic holiday schedule, start planning NOW so you can do as much ahead of time as possible. Running around at the last minute trying to get everything done is the absolute worst!

Put together a checklist of everything you have to do, and then do it (even better, delegate it!).

4. Relax. Make time for family and friends and enjoying old traditions or making new ones.

Let go of expectations of how you think things “should” go and enjoy them as they are! It’s often the things that happen out of the ordinary that we look back on with a smile.

If you’re going to be alone or working over the holidays, make time to mark the occasion! Watch a movie, eat a special meal, or treat yourself to a spa session.


RECIPE

Homemade Chai Tea

Ingredients

8 cups Water
5 servings Cinnamon Stick
2 tbsp Cardamon Seeds
2 tbsp Whole Cloves
1 1/2 tsp Black Peppercorns
2 tbsp Ginger (peeled and thinly sliced)

Directions

Combine ingredients together in a large pot and simmer. Let simmer for 15 minutes and then strain. Serve. Add milk and honey (optional). Enjoy

Keep an eye on your inbox, because I’ve got great recipe ideas and stress-free holiday tips coming your way over the next few weeks.

I’ve also got something special coming up…

To your radiant health, with love

Dr. Ilona

PS! If you would like to receive more information on how to create healthier holidays join our Facebook group, the amazing sisterhood.

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