woman stressed
Stock photo

Stress ~ the S word we have all been cordially introduced to at one time or another in our lives. In fact, in a recent study, 70% of adults in the United States say they feel stress daily.

Stress is a powerful tornado of fury with the ability to affect our health, sleep, attitude and appearance. If we’re lucky, stress comes and goes like an unwelcome visitor.

However, if it persists, according to the Mayo Clinic, and Dr. Oz, chronic stress can put us at risk for:
Anxiety
Depression
Sleep problems
Weight gain
Wrinkles
Hair loss
Headaches
Digestive problems
Heart disease
Memory and concentration impairments

I’m going to get a little personal in this post, and open up about my life of late and how stress has wrapped it’s sticky tentacles around me. My goal is in part, therapeutic, as it’s helpful to journal or share our thoughts and feelings with others.

I’m also hoping by sharing how stress has affected my life and the changes I’m now determined to make to reclaim my health, it might encourage you to share your own feelings and struggles. I’m going to outline the steps I will be taking to show stress the door.

The last year has been a whirlwind of unexpected life changes, health issues and surgeries for several of my loved ones, emergency flights as well as the recent devastating and unexpected loss of our 25 year old nephew two weeks ago.

The results of a blistering year-long duel with stress has slowly but surely affecting almost every aspect of my life. My diet has changed (for the worst), I don’t sleep well and I’ve stopped working out altogether. This has caused changes in my appearance too, from body to the new wrinkles on my face (sighhhhhh).

My Old Life

It wasn’t but a year ago that I drank freshly made fruit and veggie smoothies daily, and lunch was often tuna mixed with avocado and fresh celery slices. Exercise played a key roll in my life too, which helped reduce stress and made it easy to fall asleep.

Safe to say I lived a pretty healthy lifestyle, and at 55+, my doctor was happy with my choices. In the past, I did the following:

Ate a healthy diet
Exercised 4 days per week
Walked dogs daily
Took multi vitamins
Drank 1 Tbsp of olive oil daily
Slept like a log

woman covering face with hands

Current Life

I’ve stopped working out entirely (don’t tell anyone) and rarely walk the dogs. My diet now consists largely of coffee, burgers with fries, sweet tea and chocolate. The last year has looked like this:

Unhealthy diet
No exercise
Don’t walk the dogs
Don’t take my vitamins
Don’t drink olive oil
Difficulty sleeping
Worry ~ why yes, thank you very much
Difficulty concentrating ~ squirrel, I love coffee!
Loss of muscle tone
Lots of cellulite
Big increase in wrinkles

It took the tragic loss of my beautiful, perpetually smiling nephew to force me to wake up and realize that our actions or inactions can either contribute to or reduce our stress levels.

While we have no control over the challenges and hurdles God puts before us, by taking care of ourselves inside and out, we can be better prepared when stress comes a calling.

According to Psychology Today and Health, here are some stress reducers.

Stress Reducers

HEALTH
Get enough sleep
Meditate (deep breathing)
Simplify your life
Create a schedule and stick with it
Journal your thoughts and worries
Laugh and take time to enjoy that which brings you joy

NUTRITION
Eat a balanced diet
Reduce caffeine
Reduce alcohol
Eat green leafy veggies ~ they contain folate which increases dopamine, which helps to calm us

Oatmeal ~ helps the brain make serotonin, the same substance regulated by antidepressants

Yogurt ~ healthy gut = less stress

Salmon ~ high in Omega 3 Fatty Acids, which may help counteract the negative effects of stress hormones

Blueberries ~ the antioxidants they contain help improve your body’s response to stress and fight stress-related free radicals

Pistachios ~ Eating pistachios may reduce acute stress by lowering blood pressure and heart rate

Dark Chocolate ~ can reduce your stress hormones, including cortisol

EXCERCISE
Exercise regularly
Walk
Jog
Swim
Yoga
Pilates
Cardio
Dance
Barre
Strength training
etc.

Stress Fighting Goal Setting

The easiest way to set ourselves up for failure is to set a long list of goals while stressed. Instead, I’ll begin by setting three goals each week. That way I won’t give up on the whole shebang if I have a bad day.

I’m choosing one goal from each category to begin my battle with stress. Each week, I’ll add more goals.

My Stress Fighting Goals Week 1

1. Walk dogs once a day, 5 days each week (Exercise)
2. Drink fresh veggie and fruit smoothies 5 days a week (Nutrition)
3. Meditate 5 days a week (Health)

woman sitting near a mountain

UPDATE
So many of you have reached out in support and kindness and I want thank you from the bottom of my heart.

I have indeed, achieved my anti-stress goals and continue to add to them as I include self-care on my to-do-list. It feels wonderful to be back on track!

Here’s to peace and much happiness, my friends. If you know someone who’s stressed, why not share this challenge with them too? We are stronger together.

jonet signature and heart logo

Sources:
Psychology Today
Mayo Clinic
Health
Health Line
Dr. Oz

Jonet
Blogger, Editor at Fabulously Chic Over 50

Jonet Wooten is a 55 year old former investigative newspaper reporter/photographer. She’s always in search of the latest and greatest in Fashion, Beauty and Travel, which she writes about on her AWARD WINNING blog. Creator of the popular global fashion series She’s Got Style.


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18 Comments on How To Reduce Stress In Your Life | The Guide + Challenge

  1. Louise (Little Hearts, Big Love)
    October 10, 2017 at 5:43 pm (2 months ago)

    So sorry for the loss of your nephew. Trying to focus on ourselves and keeping healthy can be challenging at the best of times and especially hard to do when grieving too. Good luck with re-focusing on setting goals and hope that it helps reduce stress. Sleep is always a big one for me – I get very stressed if I don’t get enough sleep. #bloggerclubuk

    Reply
    • Jonet
      October 11, 2017 at 8:32 am (2 months ago)

      Thank you for reaching out, Louise. I’m with you on the stress/lack of sleep combo. I think it affects many women that way, which is why self-care is so important. Sending much xo Jonet

      Reply
  2. Emma Peach
    October 10, 2017 at 12:34 pm (2 months ago)

    So sorry to hear about the loss of your nephew Jonet. I find that I get stressed when I don’t get enough sleep, and that in turn leads me to eat more. It can become a downward spiral that’s very difficult to turn around. Small but steady steps in the right direction is the way to go. Thanks for sharing your tips and for linking up.

    Emma xxx
    http://www.style-splash.com

    Reply
    • Jonet
      October 11, 2017 at 8:31 am (2 months ago)

      Thank you for your kind and encouraging words, Emma. I am turning things around and am back on track. Sending you big hugs from America. Xo Jonet

      Reply
  3. Claire
    October 7, 2017 at 2:25 am (2 months ago)

    About 5 years ago I use to run a lot and be really healthy but as I have got older I have stopped being as healthy. I really need to motivate myself again. Thanks for sharing at Creative Mondays 🙂 Hope you can join us again soon.

    Reply
    • Jonet
      October 7, 2017 at 7:29 am (2 months ago)

      Dearest Claire, thank you so much for opening up and sharing. I’m right there with you. See you next week. Xo Jonet

      Reply
  4. laurie
    October 5, 2017 at 5:39 pm (2 months ago)

    Sounds like your time has been tough Jonet. I’m so sorry to hear about your Nephew. You have all the remedies here to help. I hope you stick to them and get back on track to feeling better xx
    http://www.vanityandmestyle.com

    Reply
    • Jonet
      October 6, 2017 at 6:54 am (2 months ago)

      Thank you, my friend. I am feeling much better and self care is the key. It’s so easy to get lost in stress that you stop taking care of yourself. I’m back on track and thankfully, time helps us come to grips with the reality of loss. Thanks for your comment. Sending big hugs from America, Xo Jonet

      Reply
  5. Stephanie@ApplesforCJ
    October 4, 2017 at 2:02 pm (2 months ago)

    Hi Jonet, first of all I just wanted to say so sorry for your loss. And stress comes in so many forms and has a Way of sneaking up on us. Enjoyed reading your post and definitely some good pointers here. I often find if I don’t get my regular run/walk in at the park it totally messes up my day. So thanks for all these reminders that you really need to take care of yourself FIRST! Have a great week 🙂

    Reply
    • Jonet
      October 4, 2017 at 3:22 pm (2 months ago)

      Thank you, Stephanie for your kind comments. I agree, it is so important to take care of ourselves. Sending you hugs from the south! Xo Jonet

      Reply
    • jacqui
      October 3, 2017 at 5:25 pm (2 months ago)

      I am so sorry to hear of your loss Jonet, sending love to you. Jacqui x

      Reply
      • Jonet
        October 4, 2017 at 7:21 am (2 months ago)

        Thank you kindly, dear Jacqui. He was a wonderful, kind, loving young man with a contagious smile. We miss him deeply. Xo Jonet

        Reply
    • Jonet
      October 4, 2017 at 7:19 am (2 months ago)

      Thank you so much Jacqui. That’s a great compliment coming from you. Xo Jonet

      Reply
  6. Jessica A Jannenga
    October 3, 2017 at 1:34 pm (2 months ago)

    Hi JOnet, I am so sorry to hear about your nephew. you have my condolensces. i think stress is tough because it does effect our health in so many ways. you have given great tips on how to manage it. I have not been sleeping well lately, and i think many of the symptoms may be menopause related. I have been walking the pups in the morning and it is so nice, as it is cool and quiet. Take care!!
    thanks for linking!
    jess xx
    http://www.elegantlydressedandstylish.com

    Reply
    • Jonet
      October 3, 2017 at 2:24 pm (2 months ago)

      Thanks for sharing your sleep struggles with our tribe. Menopause can definitely contribute to sleep problems. I’ve been using a natural estrogen cream you apply topically that has helped some with the hot flashes and sleep as well. http://amzn.to/2xVTxOJ Maybe this will help you too.

      Sending big hugs, my friend. Xo Jonet

      Reply
  7. jodie filogomo
    October 3, 2017 at 9:38 am (2 months ago)

    It’s amazing how taking care of ourselves is so important. I always love the saying “you can’t pour from an empty cup”…..Glad you’re back on track!
    XOXO
    Jodie
    http://www.jtouchofstyle.com
    Thanks for joining in the Ageless Style Link Up

    Reply
    • Jonet
      October 3, 2017 at 11:01 am (2 months ago)

      I couldn’t agree more. I think as women, we get used to taking care of others, and often forget to take a moment to recharge ourselves. All is well. Xo Jonet

      Reply

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