5 Everyday Skills To Help you Manage Stress

Stress is something that affects us all. Chronic stress is long-term stress that goes unattended over a long period of time. Stress affects our kidneys and the body’s entire system. Many diseases are stress-related; in fact, some experts estimate that up to 80% of all disease is stress-related. Stress causes many small and big health problems, including hypertension, headaches, insomnia, skin conditions, diabetes, depression, and anxiety just to name a few. Knowing that stress has such an impact on our health, it is important to take steps to combat it to whatever extent we can.

Here are five doable things that can help you defuse some of your stress levels and keep you that much healthier and happier.

Exercise
Regular exercise is known to boost your immunity, improve heart health and blood circulation, increase the amount of oxygen coming in through the lungs, and lower stress. It can also elevate mood as happiness endorphins are released during exercise. A workout of low to moderate intensity can increase your vitality, reduce pain, and improve your sleep. Exercise helps relieve some of the tension associated with chronic stress.

Eat Healthy
Eating well is an essential part of reducing stress. Too much fat, red meat, carbohydrates, and sugar in the diet put stress on the heart and the arteries. Chronic stress has been connected to the storage of fat around the middle.

Relax
Learn how to relax all your muscles; you can start at your head and work your way to your toes. Clench one muscle group for a few seconds, and then release. Move on to the next muscle group and repeat. As you relax, the stress response is turned off and the parasympathetic nervous system kicks in, aiding your digestion and your ability to experience peace and inner quiet.

Be mindful
Mindfulness is the act of focusing on the present moment. Instead of worrying about the future or obsessing over the past, try focusing your mind on experiencing the present moment. One way to do this is to become aware of your different senses: Listen to the sounds outside your window, feel the touch of your clothes on your skin, smell the aromas of your food, appreciate the colors around you, and notice the tastes of foods when you eat.

Sleep
A good night’s sleep will allow your body a deep and nourishing rest to heal itself; without good sleep, stress is exacerbated. To sleep well, avoid stimulants that can interrupt your sleep. Turn all technology off an hour before you turn off the lights. Also, turn the lights down for a while before you actually go to sleep. Use your relaxation skills to help you fall into a deeper sleep.

These everyday skills can help you combat stress. If you combine them all into your daily routine, you will undoubtedly see a reduction in your stress levels and an increase in your happiness levels. Exercise, healthy eating, relaxation, mindfulness, and good sleep are key elements in your health and well-being and are essential skills to have in your stress reduction toolkit.

How to stay motivated when working out

Have you made the commitment to exercise and started out with all your zest and vitality, only to find that you’ve come crashing down to the ground really hard? Well, do not feel bad; we have all been there and done that.

The first step to incorporating exercise into your daily routine is the decision, the second step is the action, and the third step is the commitment. However, commitment comes with another component and that is to stay committed and to stay motivated.

There are several ways to conquer the motivation monster and here are a few ideas:

  1. Change Your Mindset – Once you have made the decision to exercise, it is important to make the commitment as well. Thinking about it is wonderful, but acting upon it is another story. Change how you view your new-found decision by making it something positive and rewarding rather than just one more dreaded thing you have to accomplish.
  2. Visualize – Practice visualizing your goal. If your goal is to be healthier, spend some quiet time meditating on wearing flowing white clothing sitting on the beach and being healthy, happy, and whole. If you are heading toward a long-awaited vacation, picture yourself in a beautiful sundress or bathing suit that you have wanted for a very long time.
  3. Get Together with Your Best Pal – Grab a pal and have a “calendar date.” Match your calendars to find that time slot where you are both available for exercise. You will find that the motivation of another and being accountable to that date and time will open up the time slot needed for exercise and socialization as well. Even during this “Stay Home” times – we can work out as a group via zoom.
  4. Exercise when You Least Want to – So many of us are guilty of feeling and thinking too much, especially when you are having a “bad day.” It is at that moment that you should replace your downward spiral with exercise. Not only will it give you the results for your body, but it will also work wonders for your mind as well. This may be difficult at first. However, when you first accomplish this, you will see many positive results. Your mindset will change and you will have created a new memory to keep you motivated next time you are down in the dumps. You will actually be able to turn something negative into something positive.

When all is said and done, if you keep a short journal about your positive exercise experiences and turn to it during those “I don’t have the time or I don’t feel like it” moments, you will read the results right off the page and get moving.

Why you should not skip a workout

While you can think of a hundred reasons why you should skip your workout, have you ever thought about the reasons why you should not skip? Before we get to those reasons, ask yourself these questions:

Why Do I Want to Skip Working Out?

Is there something going on in your life that is causing you to not workout? Are you mentally or physically stressed in some way? Actually pushing through it and exercising can make you feel better.

How Will I Feel If I Don’t?

If you skip your workout, most likely you are going to feel guilty about it and mad at yourself. Do you really need that extra pressure? The mental consequences will be far less if you just go ahead and do it.

Is There An Alternative?

If you don’t feel like doing your normal full-blown workout, is there something you could do instead? For example, if you don’t feel like running, how about walking for 30 minutes instead? Anything you do is better than doing nothing at all!

6 Key Reasons to Not Skip Working Out

  1. Repetitiveness Forms Habits – If you want work-outs to become part of your healthy lifestyle, you have to work out on a consistent basis for it to become a habit. Skipping a workout can undo what took months to create.
  2. Makes You Feel Good – When you work out, endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine are all released into your system. These three naturally occurring chemicals elevate your mood and decrease stress.
  3. Improve Your Physical Stature – Working out tones your body, builds muscle, and helps you lose weight. This leads to having better posture, your clothes fitting better, and generally having a better image of yourself.
  4. Provides Long Term Effects – Working out increases circulation, builds strength, endurance, and flexibility. All of these things can help you have a better quality of life in the future.
  5. More Quality Sleep – Working out makes you tired physically, resulting in more restful sleep more often.
  6. Time for Yourself – Sometimes we give so much of ourselves that it seems there isn’t any “me” time in a day. Exercising gives you that time away from everything where you can concentrate on yourself.

The next time you consider not working out unless you are really sick, think about all the good reasons why you should put on your workout shoes and do your workout. Once working out becomes part of your healthy lifestyle, you will look forward to each exercise session as a way to build a better you.

Workout Tips For Beginners

So, you want to start working out, but you aren’t sure of the best plan of attack? There is nothing to be ashamed of, as there are many people who want to start paying closer attention to their fitness but don’t know where to begin. Whether you want to lose 10 pounds or 50, there are a number of things that you can do to help ensure that you will shed those unwanted pounds in the most efficient way possible.

Here are a few workout tips for beginners.

Make a schedule – When people first decide that they want to take charge of their fitness, it is a good idea to make a workout schedule. Life can be hectic and busy for some, but if you schedule in your workouts, there is no reason why you won’t be able to fit it in with your daily routine.

Develop A Habit– Develop a fitness habit by working out every day. Daily workouts no matter how small will keep you on track.

Set goals – Some people choose to start working out with the only goal in mind being to lose weight. There is nothing wrong with wanting to lose weight, but there is more involved than just expressing this desire. Along with making a workout schedule, you will also want to know how much weight you want to lose and by what date. These goals should be attainable, so you won’t be discouraged by failing to lose the weight you want.

Warm-Up – Exercising can be exciting, so people tend to want to jump right in and get going. Your body needs to be prepared for the workout it is about to endure and warming up will help with that. Take five or ten minutes before your actual workout to get your blood pumping and decrease your chances of injury by warming up.

Stretch – Stretching before your workout is just as important as warming up. Even when you are not planning to workout, stretching is beneficial. Stretching keeps your muscles flexible, so when you work out, you are less likely to pull or strain your muscles. It is fairly easy to injure yourself if you do not prepare for your workout, but if you take even five minutes to stretch a bit before starting, you can avoid that painful injury that may cause you to quit before you even begin your weight loss journey.

Start slow – You may be tempted to go all-in and workout seven days a week for two hours every time you go to the gym, but this may be too much for your body. Starting slow and building on your workout is the best way to start. You will be giving your body time to get used to this new level of activity and you won’t tire yourself out before seeing any results from your efforts.

Mix it up – Try new exercises every chance you get. Not only does this keep things interesting and exciting, it gives you the chance to figure out what exercises you prefer and which ones you dislike. You don’t need to complete a different workout every day, but consider switching things up from week to week or starting a rotation of exercises you enjoy.

Don’t avoid challenging exercises – They are the ones that advance your fitness levels. When exercise gets too easy it has little effect

Learn your limit – Everyone likes to push his or her limits when trying to reach a goal, but when working out you may cause more harm than good. Doing more than you can handle may lead to injury, so instead of pushing yourself too hard, do what you can. When your body is used to working out and engaging in strenuous activities, you can add to your workout plan.

Don’t Give Up! – Remind yourself regularly of what motivates you to get and stay fit.

You may be a beginner, but that doesn’t mean you can’t learn how to work out properly. Following these tips will allow you to have the positive workout experience that you have been looking for and meet your weight loss goals. Your health is important and even though staying on top of your fitness can be hard, it can also be fun and rewarding for anyone who sticks to it.

The Benefits Of Exercising: 10 Reasons Why You Should Make Fitness a Priority

We all know about certain benefits of exercising – above all, that it’s good for us. But this isn’t always enough to get us motivated into actually doing it. If you’re looking for a little inspiration to get started, here are 10 reasons why exercise can improve your life and why you should make it your top priority.

1) More Energy: Although exercise in itself may be tiring, one of the major benefits of exercising is the fact that it’ll ultimately leave you feeling more energized. Studies have shown that regular exercise helps to reduce fatigue.

2) Increase Your Mood: Every time you exercise your body will release endorphins that help to make you feel good. Exercise really will give you a natural high!

3) Improve Your Health: There are so many health benefits of losing weight that it’s impossible to list them all here! By getting fit you’ll reduce the risk of diabetes, cancer, high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease and much more.

4) Improve Your Appearance: If being overweight or not being toned leaves you feeling unhappy about yourself then losing weight can help you to look and feel better.

5) Play With Your Kids: It takes a lot of energy to keep up with your kids. By losing weight and getting fit, you’ll be able to run around with them without constantly getting out of breath. This can be one of the most rewarding benefits of exercising: it helps you to enjoy life more.

6) Sleep Better: When you exercise more you’ll start to find it easier to get a good night’s rest. This adds to the energy boost that you’ll get from exercise in the long term.

7) Increase Your Strength and Stamina: Do you find it hard to go on long walks, even though you want to? Or maybe even carrying shopping bags up the stairs is a struggle? Exercise more and you’ll eventually be able to handle these activities with ease.

8) Reduce Stress: Exercise can hugely reduce stress levels. If you regularly suffer from stress – or even mental health issues such as depression and anxiety – regular exercise can help to reduce your symptoms.

9) A Sense Of Achievement: When you start to exercise and see the improvements you’re making week on week, you’ll really get the feeling that you’ve achieved something worthwhile!

10) Keep Your Independence Later In Life: The more you can exercise now, while you’re still able, the more you can reduce the impact of certain health problems later in life. In short, keeping fit and healthy will help you to keep your independence as late into life as possible.

So how much will you need to work out to feel these benefits of exercising? That all depends on your current fitness levels. The good news is that just 30 minutes of exercise a day is enough to improve your health drastically. So what are you waiting for?

Give Yourself Permission To Enjoy Your Physicality

Why is it that so many people view physical activity as a chore, and something they dread doing? You can be sure that this is the main reason that people avoid exercise as the CDC reports only 25% of people in the US participate in regular physical activity. Maybe this is because the other 75% imagine regular physical activity as miserable hours of blood, sweat, and tears. The “no pain, no gain” saying has done some harm in achieving a positive perception of exercise and made it into something that should be painful and of course, this makes many people avoid it.

The truth is…
– You don’t have to run a marathon to be fit.
– You don’t have to have 25” arms to be healthy.
– You don’t have to lift 100 pounds in order to consider it a workout.
– You don’t have to spend 4 hours at the gym every day to be physically active.
– You don’t have to run for 10 miles a day to be fit.
– You don’t have to kill yourself to be physically active.
You only have to move!
… You only have to be physically active and get off the couch or from behind that desk!

Sitting disease and sedentary lifestyles are killing people! Seriously, this is a fact! There are many many ways to get moving, where “no pain, no gain” is NOT required!

Let’s bust the perception that exercise is misery! The key is to find activities you enjoy, so you will be motivated to do so on a regular basis.

Do you get enough exercise?

In today’s information society, you probably are well aware that exercise is the hallmark of a fit and healthy individual. Today’s sedentary lifestyles can be dangerous and even deadly, but how much exercise is enough to significantly impact your fitness and health levels? And if you are just starting out, what can you reasonably do to make a difference? With more than 80% of all Americans getting less than the required amount of exercise every year, it is crucial that you know exactly what you need to do to positively impact your overall health and longevity.

One major study showed that individuals who exercised intensely for 30 minutes per day actually got better health benefits than those who performed the same exercises for one hour a day. This seems to support other studies which claimed that 30 minutes of moderately intense activity or exercise significantly boosts our immune systems, and is the minimum daily requirement for physical fitness. The good news is that sedentary individuals can break that 30 minutes a day down into easier to swallow bite-sized chunks.

Three times a day, schedule 10 minutes of uninterrupted and moderate to intense exercises. Just be sure that if you are starting out from a very inactive lifestyle, stretch first, and do not overdo yourself. When just beginning, touching your toes, doing deep knee bends, or performing a few jumping jacks will be enough to get your heart rate up. Also, the average person can briskly walk at a rate of between 3 and 4 miles per hour, meaning a quick-paced one-mile walk can be accomplished in just 15 to 20 minutes.

This is something that is feasible for just about everyone and can be added to your work and home schedules easily. But why is exercise so important? The World Health Organization and other major fitness-minded institutions have linked breast cancer, colon cancer, diabetes, obesity and several heart diseases to a sedentary lifestyle that features sitting as a prominent feature. So remember, “Stand when you can.”

If you are getting 30 minutes of medium to intense physical exercise every day, pat yourself on the back. You are doing what is minimally required to live a fit and healthy lifestyle. And if you are not currently getting at least one-half hour of exercise a day, it is never too late to start. Get out of your chair and on your feet for at least 30 minutes of exercise per day, and you can avoid the many dangers which a sedentary lifestyle delivers.

It’s been a while ….Ooops

So, it’s been a long while since I posted on my blog. I feel bad for neglecting it and not giving it any love … my bad! There should be no excuse but let me explain why I’ve been mia …

I started working full time outside of the home. I’ve been busy with a regular 8-5 job and by the time I get home, I am exhausted. Oh – on top of the full-time job, I am still doing my fitness gig at the local YMCA. Anyways … fast forward a little over 3 months … Corona Virus hits California and we are now supposed to be in a “Stay Home Order” of some sort so there … now I get to rekindle my love of sharing my thoughts.

Since most places are closed, my local gym where I teach is closed too. Not working out drives me nuts so I jumped into the bandwagon on teaching online classes from home – virtually. It’s OK – it’s legit. As a ZIN instructor, I got an ok to teach ZUMBA online via ZOOM (an online app). I will be teaching 3 times a week keeping my regular YMCA schedule as follows:

  • MONDAY 7:00pm PST
  • THURSDAY 6:00pm PST
  • SUNDAY 11:15am PST

If you want to join me, you will need the ZOOM app on your device (laptop. iPad, tablet) You will need the meeting ID for each day. I will post the ID numbers below.

Do you gain weight in cooler months?

I personally feel like I want to hibernate during the cooler months. I just want to eat and eat and eat and lounge around in my PJs for days while binge-watching Netflix movies and series. Winter weight gain is a real thing – here are some common reasons why this phenomenon can happen.

  1. In cooler months, I find that people tend to stop exercising – especially those who do outdoor exercises like walking or jogging. Even I have to drag myself to the gym. I am thankful that people expect me to be there to teach a cardio class so I have no excuse – I need to show up and workout.
  2. Carbohydrates become people’s best friend. Researchers have found that in the winter months, people will often turn to carbs as comfort food. Carbohydrates can help reduce stress and give a temporary sense of wellbeing (from serotonin release) but ultimately results in excess weight gain.
  3. You could be too warm at night. People often combat the cold by burrowing under comforters and blankets. Unfortunately, being too warm at night actually reduces your sleep. Researchers have linked poor sleep and lack of sleep with weight gain.

Even if winter weight gain is real – it doesn’t mean that we should give in and just gain weight and worry about it later. Here are a couple of suggestions on how you can combat winter weight gain.

Set an exercise plan in motion. It could be an entirely home-based exercise plan if you don’t want to leave the house. There are various types of workout videos you can follow on the internet. Or, just commit to 3 days of going to the gym. Mark it in your calendar. The key is – COMMITMENT.

Start planning your meals. Instead of spontaneously eating whatever’s around, be deliberate about what you cook and what you eat. Be mindful of what you are putting into your body. If you have not tried it, you may even want to start meal prepping. Here’s a tip – don’t overdo it on the holiday meals. The triple whammy of Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year can really wreak havoc on your waistline. Do enjoy your meal and eat till you’re full – but no more. Don’t stuff yourself just because it’s the holidays.

Winter weight gain is a very real phenomenon. Fortunately, proper exercise and nutrition can still help you prevent weight gain – and if you really put your heart into it, you may possibly even lose some unwanted weight.

Let’s talk about motivation

In my experience, in order for me to achieve something, I need to be motivated. Motivation is my WHY. It’s why I do something. It’s the reason behind my goal. It is the reason I act a certain way or the cause behind repeating certain behaviors and actions. Motivation can be high the entire time someone is reaching for a goal or it can wane and get people stuck. But when people hit a slump, it doesn’t mean it’s the end of the road. We just need to get up and get motivated again.

Sometimes it’s hard to get started or hard to continue when we are reaching for a goal. It can often be hard to reach the finish line. But no matter what stage we’re at, we need the motivation to complete it. Motivation is important for a variety of reasons.

Motivation is what gets things started. Without it, anything we choose to do takes more effort and will end up being less successful.

Motivation fuels us to continue. It keeps us going. We have to nurture our motivation, sometimes reevaluating what we’re doing and why we’re doing it. But as long as we keep our motivation strong, we will succeed.

Motivation can keep us going when things get difficult, expensive or complications occur.

Motivation can change. Our reason for accomplishing our goal might change as we go along. Maybe we started out with one reason but it changes halfway through or even again at the end.

Motivation keeps us persistent. When we have a long way to go we can get tired, burnt out or disappointed along the way. But by having a strong motivating factor we can keep going and know it will be worth it in the end.

Motivation can be many different things to different people. Having more money is motivation. Improving your health is excellent motivation. Improving your lifestyle for your family or even starting or expanding your business can both be great motivational factors. No matter what your motivating factor is it’s important to remember to keep your momentum and motivation high and fresh.

To stay motivated, keep a list of your daily tasks and cross them off as you finish them. Having a visual reminder of your productivity feels good. It also helps you see you are making progress and that will motivate you to keep going.

Have you lost your motivation? Take a break. Sometimes losing your motivation, getting depressed and wrung out is a matter of being overworked. Taking regular breaks can keep you going longer. Clearing your head and getting away from your work can get you motivated to return to your goal.

Accept that you are going to make mistakes and learn from them. Having things go wrong is enough to make you lose your motivation. It’s fine to feel bad for a very short time. But quickly accept it and then figure out what went wrong.

Move forward. Think about the benefits you’ll get when you accomplish what you set out to. Don’t think about how hard it is going to be. Instead, focus on how good you will feel when you’re done. Thinking about the benefits of something energizes you and keeps you motivated to continue.

Get rid of negative thoughts. It’s hard to be motivated when you are constantly telling yourself you can’t do something, or you’re not good enough or even that it’s too hard. Replace them with positive thoughts. The positive reinforcement helps you realize you can do something.