As I mention in the Target100 book, stress can be the one thing that causes all of your hard work towards weight loss to unravel. Unlike most weight loss programs that primarily focus on food and exercise, Target100 understands that it's more complicated than "calories in, calories out" to achieve lasting results. Learning how to effectively manage stress and building new habits will have a significant impact on your rate of weight loss success. Stress is that silent enemy that's always there, draining us until it just becomes a "normal" thing we deal with. Not to mention the added pressures of balancing everyday life, long work days, devastating news stories, relationships, and more.
Here's the good news - our bodies do a pretty darn good job at letting us know when we are feeling stressed. Your body may tell you it is stressed through muscle tension, fatigue, headaches, and even develop skin problems. You may notice a change in your behavior such as lack of concentration, excessive behaviors, sleeping less, drinking more, and choosing more unhealthy food options. Mood changes and feelings of depression, anger, insecurity, or anxiety can all be signs of underlying stress. Pay close attention to these signs and symptoms that can be caused by stress and notify your doctor if you start to feel more stressed than "normal".
Everyone, yep even me, experiences periods of heightened stress and I have discovered some amazing products and practices that help me stay more centered and relieve stress in those moments.
Top 10 favorites for managing stress
I often use CBD when I'm feeling a bit stressed and need to relax. I have been partial to the CBDistillery brand of products in recent years. These softgels help promote relaxation but can also help you get a good night's rest if you take them before bed. Be sure to use code LIZ at checkout for 15% off your purchase.
I LOVE this stuff. A few sprays in the shower before I hop in and I am transported to a spa steam room! I take a few deep breaths and the scent takes my heart rate and stress level straight down.
Here is a great article I read that showcases the evidence behind how gardening helps reduce stress. If you ever thought about gardening or found it interesting, I would recommend joining a local gardening club, volunteering at a nursery, or starting your own garden if you have space in your yard. Even tending to house plants and small planter box of herbs can become a stress-relieving experience.
Here's a cute gardening set I found that can help get you started. Now all you need are some pots and seeds or starts of your choice.
Epsom salt is known to reduce stress, soothe muscle tension, relax the body, and improve sleep. I love adding these to a warm bath which can help me unwind after a stressful day.
Not only is Calm the number 1 app for meditation in the app stores, but it's one of my favorite go-to's when I need to relax my mind. I have been building my daily meditation practice over the past several years and it is really helped with stress management and staying present. I like apps like Calm for quick guided meditations, especially when traveling.
This is of David and my favorite fitness and meditation apps to use. When I'm feeling tense or stressed I know I'll find just the stress-relieving activity I need in the Peloton app. They have so many amazing classes across a broad range of activities including cycling, yoga, meditation and walking. Peloton has a summer sale right now where you can get 3 months for the price of one ($12.99).
When you're feeling stressed, it is backed by science that music can enhance your mood. Try listening to some of your favorite tunes, if only for 5 minutes, and see if it makes you feel a bit better during stressful moments. My favorite music app for easy listening is Spotify. If you don't already have an account, you can try them out today and get 1 month free or just use the free account and tune out the ads ;).
When I need quick relief from stress, I turn to tapping. Studies show that it can reduce stress and anxiety by 41% in just 9 minutes! Next time you're feeling stressed, download the app and give this method a try.
Yoga is a great way to relax and relieve tension in the body, while also helping to increase balance and flexibility. I love practicing with Adriene who has a YouTube channel, Yoga with Adriene. She's very calm and easy to follow.
If you're feeling some tension in your neck and shoulders, I highly recommend taking one of her classes on her YouTube channel.
Breathwork is an amazing tool that I turn to for stressful moments because it helps me connect with my mind, body, and spirit. Our Target100-certified coach (who also happens to be my amazingly talented husband David) is an amazing breathwork instructor. He leads breathwork classes as part of the Target100 curriculum for members in addition to his weekly Broadway Breathwork classes.
If you're curious about how deep breathing can help you enter an altered, open state, be sure to sign up for the next course!
Remember that while stress can seem unavoidable, it can becomes more manageable with the right tools and tactics. I truly hope that some of my mentions and suggested products can help you when you feel the stress levels rising. If nothing else, remember that sometimes taking 5 is all you might need. For you, that may be 5 deep breaths, 5 minutes of quiet time, 5 sips of water, or 5 minutes of stretching. Whatever you decide, please know that as long as you are doing your best, you are doing more than enough!