We all know the saying, “All work and no play make Jack a dull boy.” Just like in the movie that made the saying famous, too much work is bound to drive anyone a little crazy. Yet, more and more, we find ourselves pushing the work week and even taking work home with us. Most of us find ourselves working from home (thanks to 2020), there no longer is that separation, and as a side effect, it has become even more difficult to make the switch. As tempting as it may be to log a few more hours to finish up a looming project, you may want to think twice. No one is saying you can’t work and maximize your efforts. In fact, this article will break down just how beneficial it can be to take some downtime for yourself.
Too Much Stress
Stress is actually part of our body’s natural defense. In situations where our lives are in danger, the brain will activate the release of Cortisol. Cortisol is one of the hormones that is released in response to stress. While Cortisol is mainly known for its involvement in the body’s response to stress, it also serves other purposes. Cortisol assists in the regulation of blood sugar levels, balancing metabolism, reducing inflammation, and even in the formation of memories. Its natural effects on water and salt balance make it ideal for aiding in blood pressure. In women, Cortisol also plays a key role in the development of the fetus during pregnancy. When our levels become out of balance, they can present themselves in several ways.
Stress Has Reached Critical Levels!
Some of the signs and symptoms that can indicate excess levels of Cortisol are: feeling overly alert yet exhausted, difficulty falling and or staying asleep, feeling anxious or nervousness, easily irritated, memory lapse, easily distracted, craving sugar, weight gain (especially around the waist), indigestion, GERD and other digestive issues, as well as skin issues such as eczema or psoriasis. The unfortunate reality is that we all display at least one, if not multiple, of these signs and symptoms. Due to our constant exposure to stress from looming deadlines, money woes, and even the foods we eat. We are in a near-constant exposure to stressful situations. That’s why I like to approach this constant health hurdle in many ways: hormones, nutrition, supplements, mindset, sleep, and of course, exercise.
Give Your Body The Help It Needs
Our bodies are constantly trying to relate their needs to us. One of the essential ways we can help our body is by giving them what they need. This means reducing our stress levels, getting plenty of rest, staying hydrated, and of course, consuming foods that will help our bodies function to the best of their ability. I realize that most if not all of these things are easier said than done. With that in mind, I will be doing my best to provide you with as many options as possible to help reduce your stress and boost your immunity as well as your mood. Given that many of you have kids at home, I will also be providing some arts and crafts along with experiments to try at home. During times like this, we all need to come together and help one another.
Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff
Most people are unaware of just how important water is to our health. The average human comprises over 70% water (depending on age, younger individuals contain more water). Clearly, water is an important part of our health and well-being. With that in mind, you want to make sure you are drinking enough water. A good rule of thumb is to drink water if your lips are chapped. Chapped lips are often the first indicator that you are dehydrated. This does not mean you need to go out and buy all the bottled water you can get your hands on (please cut down on the plastic). We are fortunate enough to have access to relatively clean drinking water. I am aware that it could be better, which is why it is always a good idea to install a water filter in your home.
Keep Your Eyes & Mind On The Prize
Did you know you can actually rewire your brain to look for the silver lining in anything? It turns out that merely recalling 3 things you are grateful for from the day can actually put you in a better mood. Not to mention it actually tricks your brain to focus on the positives. For example, if I were to tell you not to think of the color purple, it would instantly come to mind. It is the same way that if I told you to think of the color purple, it would come to mind. Now take that same concept and try to count or recall 3 purple things you saw today. This may be hard at first, but within a few moments, you will find you can recall more than 3 in no time. Why not give it a go?
Consistency Breeds Results!
Have you ever noticed that the first two weeks of a new routine are often the hardest? That’s because it takes our brains 21 days to form a habit. Once this habit is in place, we are more likely to continue it with ease. If you are looking to establish healthy habits that can improve your health and lower stress levels, you may want to add in meditation, exercise, and nutritional ones as well. Meditation is a great way to help your brain slow down before bed to ensure a restful night’s sleep. Exercise comes with some health benefits, such as improved circulation, which can improve your ability to handle stress. Nutrition is beneficial in many ways. What we eat directly determines what our bodies can make.
Get Your Priorities In Order
For those who struggle to find time to get everything you want to be done in 24 hours, you may want to try this. One of my absolute favorite pieces of advice was to schedule my downtime and break first, then fill in everything else. Now, before you shame me or throw shade, it may surprise you to find out that you are actually increasing your productivity by taking the time to relax and unwind. Don’t believe me? Take a look at how kids’ days are structured. They can get so much done in the day and still have crazy levels of energy! What’s their secret? They take naps, dance breaks, snack time, you name it. They prioritize their downtime and reap the rewards. Why not take a page from their playbook and see what it can do for you?
Blackout Chocolate Cake
Gluten Free Vegan Serves 24
- 1 Cup Coconut Flour
- ¾ Cup Almond Flour
- 2 Cups Coconut Sugar
- ¾ Cup Cocoa Powder Raw
- 2 tsp Baking Soda
- 1 tsp Baking Powder
- ½ Cup Coconut Vanilla Yogurt
- 1 tsp Sea Salt
- ½ Cup Raw Coconut Oil
- 1 Cup Coconut Milk
- ½ Cup Coffee
- 1 tsp Pure Vanilla
- ½ Avocado
- 1 Cup Vegan Dark Chocolate Chips
- Avocado Frosting
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Pretreat a 9 inch round cake pans or a 9×13 inch pan with the non-stick option of choice (I prefer parchment paper). In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, powder, chips, and salt. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Pour wet ingredients into the well of the dry ingredients and blend for 2 minutes with a mixer. Batter will be thin. Pour the batter into pans. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until the toothpick comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes, then remove from the pans and cool completely on the wire rack. Then fill and top with frosting and enjoy!
Need A Hand?
A happy and healthy life is closer than you may think. Our health is something that we all have to deal with daily, and when we don’t feel our best, it shows. If you are tired of just making it through your day then you NEED to start investing in your health today! You are not alone on this journey. If you ever need any help I am always here to do just that. Even if it is something as small as just acting as a sounding board. Do you have any questions or concerns I can help you with? Feel free to contact me directly at DrDeeandMe@gmail.com or you can even book a one-on-one call with me. Be sure to subscribe to gain access to tons of free goodies and check back daily for more great recipes and information!