Insight from Dr. Sara Gottfried’s Hormone Reset Diet on Sustenance:
“Recently, I went on a trip to Point Reyes, California, which is a nature lover’s dream destination. It offers great hiking, kayaking, cycling,
horseback riding, and swimming in Tomales Bay, and it’s one of the best places in the country to bird-watch. The light at the end of the day is luminous year-round, and the landscape makes my heart sing and my adrenals smile. It’s low stress, and it’s good for my body.
After I visit a place like this, I wonder how I can take that sense of peace and bring it back home to my “real” life, filled with a busy practice, a loud and busy husband, children, a mortgage, and a household to run. I know that a life filled with nothing but birdwatching and hiking is unrealistic. But my goal is to bring back some of the calm I feel there so it’s not all or nothing: total stress until I escape and crash for a few days in nature.”
Creating a low-stress lifestyle takes some planning. I’ve found that it’s easy to get swept away in the day-to-day world, and a big part of me loves the excitement and energy that permeates my work and my life. I’ve found a few helpful things to create this kind of lower stress life, and I want to share them with you. You might want to start incorporating one or more of these into your routine and see where you land.
Meditate. If you can’t quit your job or run away to Hawaii, meditation is one of the best things you can do to create inner calm. Clearing your mind of the clutter is as important as taking out the garbage so the kitchen doesn’t start to smell. It doesn’t take much. Get up ten minutes earlier than you usually do and sit on a cushion. (There are many meditation apps available. Some make a lovely Tibetan bell sound to signify the beginning and end of meditation.) Take a few deep breaths before settling in. Then begin. Simply watch your thoughts as they arise, and then let them go with your out-breath.
Make cutbacks. It can be difficult to look at your life and see places to cut back. Spending time with family, going out with friends, and in your passion, whether that is work or a hobby are all important. It is important to look at the nature of these activities, and discover ways to modify them to meet your needs for low stress. For example, instead of going on an all-day outing with the family, stay home in pajamas and play a board game. In regard to work, delegate more work to others or cut back one afternoon a week. Another tip is to say “probably not” to queries requesting more of your time. This gives you more time to remind yourself to not “overcare”—a term popularized by Doc Childre, founder of the Institute of HeartMath—when the mind and emotions cross the line of balanced care and get too attached to and bogged down with whomever or whatever you’re caring about.
Assess the drive. Commuting and chauffeuring can take a toll. Examine your driving time, and see if there are ways to cut back: carpool, take public transportation, look for a new job, telecommute one day a week. Driving can be a major contributor to stress, not to mention that it can take a toll on your body.
Banish the vampires. Emotional vampires suck the energy right out of you. An emotional vampire is someone who makes you feel depleted, insecure, or just plain angry. You don’t need to hang onto these people. You can wean them from your life, just as you do during detox.
Plug into passion. Sometimes adding more to your plate can feel daunting, but in certain cases, low-stress means adding something you love to your life. Creativity is life energy that pulses through us; when we don’t have it, we can feel low energy and stressed. Figure out what activities you can turn to when you feel stressed: knitting, hiking, painting, poetry writing? Many women let their passions slip away to overcare for others. Reclaim your passion! It will not only benefit you but also benefit everyone around you.
Schedule in relaxation. Create the rule to set aside thirty minutes a day for relaxation or stress relief. For example, running, an ambling walk, a guided meditation on your phone, or watching a comedy that always leaves you feeling energized and happy afterward. It doesn’t matter what it is, just that you do it. No excuses! You would easily spend thirty minutes on a phone call or at the coffee shop, so you can find the time. Think of this as a reservoir: Each time it rains, the reservoir fills up. No rain means no water. If the reservoir is empty, there will be nothing when you are the thirstiest. In the same way, when you practice relaxation, you will be filling up your inner reservoir so that in times of intense stress, you will know how to access a relaxed state of mind.
Connect to spirit. One of the key ways to create a low-stress lifestyle is to realize the critical role that your spiritual journey plays in healing your metabolism. When there’s no time for your spiritual life, it’s more likely that you’ll become dependent again on food as a way to fill the void, and you’ll regain weight. Figure out what kind of spiritual practice works for you to keep from letting that happen. It could be something previously listed, such as meditation or walking in nature. Or it could be praying, joining a spiritual community, or reading inspirational texts. Whatever it is, pick something and make a commitment to your journey.
Lessen the stress factors in your life, promote internal calm through mindful practices like the ones listed above, and you’ll be able to focus on your deepest hopes and dreams, your purpose in life, your voice, and your place in the world. You can discover what makes you feel most alive. Possibilities can become endless once again, but it takes determination and a willingness to make meaningful change in your life.
Embarq on Your Detox Journey