This year has already proved to be full of breakthroughs and accomplishments. Starting a new business is super exciting and deep soul work!

It also can be overwhelming and draining at times. Since now being a business owner of two businesses (Live A Lot and A Purified Life), I have to be honest and say that my stress levels have sky rocketed in the past year. I pour my heart into these businesses and the stress doesn't come from what I'm doing (I love everything I do!), but mainly that I have SO many ideas and goals that I get ahead of myself and become inpatient with progress of these goals. Said ambitions also become overwhelming since I put so much on my plate, which shows up as being super hard on myself for not achieving everything right away. Can you relate?

This year has shown me how I can no longer continue this pattern of self-criticism and self-pressure if I want to truly live the healthy and happy lifestyle I promote.

Why is it important to manage our stress? Well, when stress levels remain high all the time, it can lead to chronic health issues such as weight gain (even if you're eating healthy and exercising), diabetes, metabolic syndrome, high blood pressure, Candida, insomnia/sleep issues, IBS, cancer, and increased risk for heart attacks. Not to mention more 'minor' symptoms such as bloating, fatigue, acne, low sex drive, and simply feeling sucked like the life is sucked out of us.

Being the holistic health advocate that I am, I've had to use all the tools under my belt to stay sane and change this pattern of self-sabotage. Yes, I see 'being too hard on myself' as a form of self-sabotage because I end up focusing on everything I haven't accomplished instead of celebrating everything I have accomplished. This is not how I want to live and manifest - currently manifesting stress! We manifest what we focus on. 

That said, shifting life-long patterns and habits is a PRACTICE. Deciding to change is the first step, then comes the daily awareness and conscious shift of pattern when the stress shows up, and consistency is what makes this shift the NEW pattern. 

Here are some of my most helpful ways to shift my energy when I find myself caught up in stress:

  1. Deep Breathing - We have this thing called breath that we often forget about but it's essential for our existence as humans. Let's use it to our advantage! When stress and overwhelm hit, I pause and take 5-10 deep belly breaths (Inhale through nose to fill the belly completely, exhale through nose as the belly contracts). As simple as it sounds, this completely calms the body and brain and puts me in a state where I can actually think and be present. 
  2. Meditation - Meditation has played a huge part in changing my perspective on life. I now have patience and tolerance for things that used to bug me or I would stress about such as traffic, other stressed out people, or any little thing 'going wrong'. I simply don't react to these things anymore and they don't affect me. That said, meditation is a constant practice and it's not always easy. It's not really about not thinking anything, but mainly about practicing staying present without attaching to any thoughts that come up. I sit and meditate every morning for anywhere between 10-30 minutes. It sets the tone for the day and opens me up to gratitude. There are many other forms of meditation though, we can meditate while walking, running, cooking, or doing anything that puts us in a calm and peaceful state - in the present moment. 
  3. Herbal Medicine - We often overlook the greatness that our planet Earth provides. Herbal medicine has been used for years and years in many cultures to treat illness and support the body in functioning properly. Many herbs are amazing for helping our bodies deal with stress - often called adaptogens. Herbal remedies can come in extracts, tinctures, capsules, or simply teas. I love brewing up a pot of a blend of herbs to help me feel calm and facilitate my body in relaxing and diminishing stress reaction. Currently, my favorite herbs to steep are: rose, nettle, holy basil/tulsi, red raspberry leaf (it's a bitter one), dandelion root, and chamomile. 
  4. Ask Yourself Important Questions - Stress is often a state we enter when we're living in the past or future. A lot of times, we carry old beliefs and stories with us that cause us stress even if what we are stressing about is not happening in the present moment. I like to ask myself questions like "Am I okay right now?", "Can I do anything to change this situation?", "What emotions or fears are underneath this stress?", and my most recent favorite question after watching a film called E-Motion that really impacted me: "If I wasn't afraid, then ______". These questions bring me back to the present moment and allow me to see that what I'm stressing about is often not actually happening (just in my head) and I usually have control over, and they help me appreciate the abundance in my life. 
  5. Acupuncture - I have decided that this is currently my FAVORITE weekly self-care practice. That is quite a statement considering all the self-care practices/rituals I have. I can't really explain the experience of this healing technique, but it is pure magic! I leave my appointment feeling balanced, nourished, and extremely at peace. This feeling carries on throughout the week too, it's incredible. Stress is the main thing my (amazingacupuncturist focuses on with me, and she gives me a deeper understanding of what is actually going on in my body when my stress levels increase or decrease, the knowing is profound and keeps me wanting to continue lowering my stress levels. 

Also, wonderful things often take time, I am a super woman but there's only one of me, and life is to be enjoyed! <--- Daily reminders to myself. 

I'd love to hear what your favorite techniques are for reducing stress. Please share in the comments. 

Love and Peace,