I wonder if you can relate to this scenario:
You’re feeling triggered.
Maybe someone said something upsetting to you.
You had a negative experience.
Or you remembered something stressful.
Whatever it is, it puts a dent in your day.
So. You find yourself reaching for that hidden bar of chocolate.
Or a glass of wine.
Or maybe a cheeseburger.
Ok mine is always a vegan one from Plant Power over here in Encinitas.
But still… vegan chuck food. Plus I can’t resist the fries.
Whatever it is, it’s a coping mechanism you know isn’t great… but it does help you feel better.
No judgment here.
Because I think we’ve all had those moments.
Moments where we’ve wanted to distract ourselves with a little bit of happiness in food form.
You know... rather than deal with what’s really upsetting.
Today, I’m sharing three ways you can lower your stress levels.
And none of these involve food.
The truth is: food isn’t a coping mechanism.
Food is nourishment.
Food is fuel.
Food is a way to make sure your body is functioning at optimum levels.
And that’s all it should be.
So, I’ve got a few coping mechanisms for you.
Coping mechanisms that will help you release stress.
And that won’t leave you with a bloated tummy after.
Coping mechanisms that will contribute to your overall happiness in the long run.
Okay, let’s get into it.
Destress Hack #1 - Be Kind
Sounds weird, right? Hear me out.
Here’s the thing, when you’re stressing, you’re focused on you.
It’s hard to see up from down.
It’s even often hard to even see a way out.
But if you could distract yourself by thinking about something or someone else, you will take your focus off your own stress..
What’s a way you can be kind to someone?
Send a random text to a friend you haven’t talked to in awhile.
Tell her how much you appreciate her.
Email one of your customers and randomly thank her for being so loyal?
Compliment a totally random person.
When you share kindness, you produce endorphins.
Those endorphins make you happy.
And when you feel happy, suddenly the things that were stressing you out, are less stressful.
Destress Hack #2 - Set Boundaries
Yep. I went there.
I know boundaries aren’t a popular topic. Boundaries are hard to create, and even harder to stick to.
But they protect your mental health.
They also help the people you interact with understand how to best respect you and your time.
Think of boundaries as your “user manual.”
And every boundary you make must have a consequence.
A healthy boundary might look like this:
Suzy calls you and starts yelling at you about something you said.
Instead of reacting with anger and defensiveness, you react with a boundary.
You say “Suzy, I love you and would be happy to talk about this. But yelling is not how I communicate. If you can’t stop yelling, I’m going to have to hang up.
Would you prefer to call me back when you’re calmed down and we can talk about it then?”
You’re letting her know that attacking you and yelling at you is not okay.
And that’s a GOOD thing.
Taking time to help others understand what your boundaries are can be super productive.
And a great way for you to relieve your own stress.
Setting boundaries is actually an act of kindness for yourself.
Destress Hack #3 - Talk It Out
Sometimes the simple act of talking can be all you need.
Call a friend.
Talk to your dog.
Or talk to yourself.
Whoever you decide to talk to, the point is to let your words flow.
Don’t hold back.
Let it all out.
As you speak your feelings out loud, your brain will start working through the details of what may be causing your stress.
Your brain always finds a solution.
You’ll feel a million times better.
Now, if you’d love a list of additional ways you can destress without turning to food, then you’ve gotta get your heads on this checklist I put together.