On Saturday, after a long day of classes and lectures, I was craving a yoga class. I was in the neighborhood, I got out of my last session early, an decided to go for it.
(Sadly, Ryan missed class that day)
It had been a few weeks, and every time I take a chance to practice, I’m thankful that I did.
My mat doesn’t really feel like it used to. It used to feel warm and like it would mold to my hands in down dog…. like we kinda belonged together in a true love yoga mat kinda way. Now my mat is cold and hardened from slumber parties in my car’s trunk, “just in case” I’d have the random chance to take a class.
One of the lectures that stuck out the most to me on Saturday was about the connection between stress and obesity. I know that my eating and fitness habits help contribute to my health, but after learning a little bit more about how stress can wreck havoc on your body, I thought it would be good for me to Zen out a little. My hips, heart and triceps thanked me 😉
Yoga Oasis is one of my favorite yoga studios in Tucson. They have a few locations, and I especially love going to Darren’s class (Tucson friends, they have a yoga hour class each day that’s only $4, too). I’m pretty sure the man is has rubber bands instead of bones 😉
Anyway, at YO, they always have a word of the day to focus on before the practice. Saturday’s word: “surrender”- a pretty good word to accompany the stress lecture that was still on my mind.
I like to think that I’m not as stressed out as I used to be. Before we had Liv, and especially before I met the Pilot, I was wound pretty tightly. I liked to have all of my ducks in a row, and the second a duck stepped out of line, it was panic city. Marrying a military man helped me to accept and eventually welcome the unknown, and now that we have a baby, I’ve learned that it’s better to not have a plan because things change all the time. I’ve found that it’s more fun this way and we’ll go with the flow as the day goes on. Instead of a daily to-do list, I’ll write a to-do list for the week. The most important things happen first, and some days are more productive than others.
That being said, I still tend to “what-if” and “what’s next” – I think it’s a part of my Type A personality that will be hard for me to shake. I’ll definitely have to get better at surrendering to the changes around me, while focusing, being present and remembering what’s important.
Here are the lecture notes the stress and obesity presentation. Fascinating stuff, and it was a pleasure to listen to Dr. Kravitz speak.
One of the things that stuck out in my mind:
Cortisol is often blamed for the harmful effects of stress, but it’s actually the cascade of events that occur from the release of cortisol. First, fatty acids are released into the blood (can lead to heart disease), fat is sent to the abdomen (!) and new fat can also be created. All from stress.
How to relax??
Some of my favorite ways to de-stress:
-If something is on my mind, I write it down. I have a little notebook that’s with me at all times, and if I remember that I need to do something, or want to write a note for later, I jot it down quickly. That way I don’t have to use brain space trying to remember it (in which case, it will disappear forever) 😉
-Go for a walk. I’m fortunate that my two favorite little ladies love to be outside and Liv loves the jogging stroller. Even if it’s a quick trip around the neighborhood, it’s a great opportunity to take some deep breaths and connect with nature, and enjoy time with Bell and Liv.
-Dance/Zumba/Sing/Act silly. It’s kind of hard to be stressed out when you’re signing “Itsy Bitsy Spider” in your best opera voice and the little one is cracking up. Even before she was here, a great Zumba class or chance to really MOVE made me forget about whatever I was stressed about.
-Drown out the negativity. When things are bothering you or you have a lot on your plate, make a conscious effort to surround yourself with positive people who support you.
-Yogaaaaaaa and/or running. There are significant (and different) health benefits from each of these, but to me, the mental benefits are immeasurable.
So tell me, friends: what’s your favorite way to relax and avoid stress? Any tips for dealing with higher levels of stress?
As always, I can’t wait to read your thoughts and stories.
Something to do: HIIT challenge! 15-20 minutes (not including warmup and cool down) -your most CHALLENGING interval set. Try to do 30 seconds on, 30 seconds off the entire time.