Stress Free & Being Present
It’s safe to say that we are all a bit stressed in one way or another, right? Whether it’s school, work, money, family drama, food or life in general, I think everyone has something that stresses them out at some point in the day. If I am wrong and you are never stressed out, then I am very happy to be wrong.
We are an instant gratification society where nothing is fast enough. We wait in line for a coffee and it feels like 45 minutes because we sit there and think about all that we have to do or all that we could be doing in that 45 minutes. I know, sometimes we do have places to be and people to see but I am really working on turning that stress and frustration into being present and enjoying my surroundings no matter what they are. I live near the beach. I see the ocean every single day, but I don’t take the time to enjoy it. There are people who have never seen the ocean and it’s staring right at me, yet I don’t take the time to enjoy it because I am too busy. When was the last time that my husband and I sat outside and enjoyed our view? I haven’t a clue (that rhymed, hah!), but our excuse is that we are just too busy with all that we have going on. I want to change that.
Have you ever been in line for something or had to sit and wait for an appointment somewhere, and the first thing you thought of doing was whipping out your phone to check texts, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, or email? Have you ever had to wait so long that you began looking at everyone else’s social media updates while you were sitting and waiting… and waiting?
I have noticed we have become less present with where we are and our surroundings, and I am working on changing that in my life. When is that last time you sat without any distractions, took a few deep breaths and enjoyed your view? Whether you are sitting outside, listening to all the sounds in a big city, by the beach, in your favorite coffee shop or even on your own couch? How often do you sit without any distractions? When is the last time you sat with your kids or furry friends and gave them 100% of your attention without being on your phone or having the television on?
These are all the kinds of questions I ask myself.
One day I blinked and my husband and I have now been together for almost 12 years, 6 of those married. I looked in the mirror and I am no longer 25 but almost 30 (don't remind me). Somehow my Buster and Posey are not 1 lb each and 8 weeks old but almost 2 years old and 16 lbs each. Yes - we have big fur babies!
Have you noticed that it seems like time is going by faster and faster and everyone seems to feel the same on that? But is it really that time is going quickly or is it that we are so on-the-go, filling every second with stimulation, that we are missing out on so much of our day-to-day lives?
I believe how you start your day is how you determine the energy or mood of what you have going on. Do you check your phone before you said good morning to your spouse or children? Do you pray before you start complaining about all that you have to do? Do you eat breakfast? Do you think about all the reasons why you are grateful? I can’t say that I do these things every morning, but I definitely make an attempt.
Here are some tips to being present, starting your day right and doing what you can to be stress-free:
Sleep with your phone on the opposite side of the room. This offers more than one benefit: It’s not a good idea to sleep with your phone and all of its wireless, radiation, and technology right by your head all night long every single night. If you use your phone as an alarm, you are more likely to get out of bed because you have to get up and turn off your alarm. You are also less likely to wake up and check all of the notifications on your phone before kissing your spouse good morning. Being present with your loved ones for as long as possible at the start of each day before being glued to your cell phone is one way to slow down time a bit and really enjoy your time.
Drink a glass of water. It’s important to stay hydrated throughout the day to stay focused and stay on track with whatever you need to be doing with work or school. If you don’t drink any water before you do anything else, then you are more likely to forget to drink enough water in the day. Plus, it’s refreshing! If you need help remembering to drink water at work or school, put a few of these drink mix packets in your locker or desk or leave them out on the counter so you remember to drink that H2O! You can also use KRYSTENSKITCHEN at checkout for 25% off. More motivation to stay and keep hydrated.
Set aside 15 minutes a day to sit and listen to your surroundings, play with your furry friends or kids without any TV, music or cell phone distraction. Be present with where you are, think about what you are doing and think about all the reasons you are thankful. This sounds both easy and hard to do. You might want to turn your phone on airplane mode because the second it vibrates, rings or beeps you will start thinking about just what notification it could be or who could be calling you at that moment, which will rabbit trail into a whole bunch of other thoughts on what else you could be doing.
Eat some of the following foods that can dictate how you feel. In an article from Delicious Living, it says that whether you are already stressed or if you feel stress might be coming your way, you can help manage it with some foods that are packed with stress-fighting compounds.
Salmon is a great source of beneficial omega-3 fatty acids which fight anxiety! Make yourself a salmon lunch when you are going through finals, have a big meeting or feel like your to-do list is 10 miles long.
Kale is high in fiber and potassium, and both fight stress and aid in digestion. Kale is also a wonderful source of carotenoids, a powerful antioxidant. Add some kale to your morning green smoothie.
Cashews are a good source of zinc. Low levels of zinc can be linked to depression and anxiety. You can eat cashews in all sorts of ways: cashew sour cream, cashew Alfredo sauce, a handful of raw cashews, cashew butter, etc.
Chocolate is food, not candy! Eating a bite of chocolate increases endorphin levels and improves your mood. People who regularly eat chocolate tend to have lower levels of the stress-causing hormone cortisol. THIS chocolate is my favorite, has super clean ingredients and is also, paleo-friendly, vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free and all kinds of tasty. Try their paleo hot chocolate! You can use KRYSTENDTMT for a free gift with purchase which changes monthly.
Go on a date with your spouse or have a friend-date and leave your phone in your purse. When is the last time you went on a date, sat with a loved one and didn’t once look at your phone? My husband and I have been doing this. We put our phones in my purse and enjoy each other and unless it’s absolutely necessary like looking at what time the movies times are or seeing how many days until our next vacation.
Realize that some things aren’t worth getting upset over. I have found this very helpful over the last few years and there is a big catch to it. I am clumsy and either spill stuff or break stuff, and what used to make me so angry now has turned into “Can it be replaced? If so, then it’s not worth stressing about.” The catch is that the word, “replaceable” is subjective. I wont get upset about breaking a $50 item, not because I can just replace that $50 item so easily, but it’s just not worth my time to cry over something that isn’t a one-of-a-kind.
Stress is inevitable, but does it have to be constant or chronic? No. You can take control of what you have the power to take control of. You may not be able to control the traffic on the freeway, but you can control your attitude to which how you see the fact that you are stuck in traffic. Perhaps use that time to listen to an audiobook, call a loved one you haven’t had the chance to call back in awhile, pray for other people, or blast that music and sing your heart out. It will set the tone of the rest of your day.
Do what you can to be fully present in every moment that you possible can. Take the time to be aware of what you are doing, what is around you and who is around you.
Ferris Bueller said it best and, as I have gotten older, I find it to be one of the truest statements. “Life moves pretty fast! If you don’t stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it!”