11 Steps of Winter Stress Relief
This winter, join me in doing 11 steps to stress relief! Today is the best day to start! To give yourself daily reminders, please print off this graphic and tape it to your bathroom mirror!
This one is first because it should be the lens you use for everything you do, say, hear, and visualize. The best way to practice this is with a daily moment of gratitude.
Before going to sleep and again getting out of bed—say out loud two things you are grateful for. One could simply be that you got another day to live! Another could be having fresh blueberries in your fridge to enjoy. Starting and ending your day with gratitude will change your perspective on everything else in your world—and reduce stress and seasonal depression.
Meditation is free, can be done anywhere and at any time, and you can never do too much of it. No side effects, only calming and happy benefits! Meditation works. Inhale deeply – Exhale completely (And take another big breath!).
You don’t have to spend hours a day or know all of the meditation techniques. Research has shown that even just 1 minute (but 15-20 minutes is more effective) of meditation can profoundly change your brain, mind, and soul. Our brain’s neuroplasticity can be re-wired for improved levels of happiness and calm – leading to better sleep, less stress, and a stronger immune system.
To start releasing stress right now, read this blog about science-based meditation techniques, insight, and tips to empower you to build an actual meditation routine. I will also share the meditations I use and how to let your practice flow into all aspects of your day (and rejuvenating sleep!). If you haven’t yet, click here and breathe easy.
3. Sauna Sessions
Just the feeling of sweaty warmth can make you feel better on a bitterly cold day. Frequent sauna sessions gently release toxins, and I truly believe saunas are one of the best things you can do for cancer prevention and general detoxing! A study called the BUS study (blood, urine, saliva) revealed that sweating was the most effective way to detox heavy metals and environmental toxins.
4. Stop Eating a S.A.D Diet
The Standard American Diet literally makes you sad. The SAD diet is filled with processed foods, sugar, refined grains (GMO white pasta and bread), deli meats, artificial sweeteners, etc. It can affect you mentally, emotionally, and physically—and potentially trigger cancer pathways. (read more here).
5. Journaling and Coloring
Figuratively and literally, write the stress out of your head and let it live on paper instead! Start by committing only 4 minutes a day to write whatever you want to write about. Share a major fear with your journal, laugh about something funny that happened today, process a moment of anxiety, and always write one thing you are grateful for!
Coloring, like you did when you were a kid, is actually an amazing way to axe some anxiety. “You have to look at the shape and size, you have to look at the edges, and you have to pick a color,” says Dr. Joel Pearson, a neuroscientist at the University of New South Wales in Australia, in a recent interview. “It should occupy the same parts of the brain that stops any anxiety-related mental imagery from happening as well. … Anything that helps you control your attention is going to help.”
There are countless studies on how participating in artist endeavors releases cancer-related stress. For example, this study conducted at Thomas Jefferson University looked specifically at mindfulness art therapy (MBAT) for women undergoing traditional treatment for a variety of cancers. Across the board, the women showed a decrease in stress and anxiety-related symptoms after participating in MBAT for two months. Curious about dabbling in coloring? Check out this blog post.
Wrap your hands around a warm mug and slowly sip it. The act of just slowing down can help release stress, and so will the herbal goodness of your tea! My favorite type of tea is Matcha. It is loaded with potent antioxidants that protect against free radicals causing cellular damage, giving it the name: “Tumor Terminator.” To learn how Mighty Matcha kicks out breast cancer, what types to avoid, the art of harvesting this miracle-working brew, and a few recipes, check out this blog post!
7. Heart Coherence
When heart coherence is happening, it is known as heart-brain coherence. All the chemical impulses, communications, hormonal production centers, and hormonal distribution processes throughout the body are synchronized. That means your organs are functioning at optimal capacity, and so are YOU throughout the day!
The main way we measure activity is Heart Rate Variability or HRV. HeartMath is a super simple way to check your HRV rate, and this technology helps you lower stress and improve your health! Order your HeartMath App here and learn more about healing your heart and lowering stress via this blog.
The natural health modality called Emotional Freedom Technique, or “tapping,” is a fantastic tool from which everybody on a healing journey can benefit. Modern research is now discovering the connection between emotions and physical disease. What’s more, once negative emotions such as anger, shame, and sadness are accepted and carefully examined by an individual, healing can begin. A 2016 study found that those with the highest amount of “emotional acceptance” had the lowest rates of cancer-related inflammatory cytokines. In addition, scores for Interleukin-8, a strong biomarker for breast cancer, were particularly low in the women with the most emotional acceptance. Wow!
Learn all about how to start an EFT/tapping practice here. Also, please listen to this insightful podcast episode about EFT and download Dr. Dawson Church’s free EFT Mini-Manual. Just like meditation, it is free and can be done anywhere. I often combine meditating with tapping!
9. Fresh air
S.A.D—seasonal affective disorder or “winter depression” is a REAL thing. We weren’t created to go into an office in the dark and drive back home in the dark, day after day. Our bodies need sunshine and vitamin D. Living in too much cold and darkness can lead to cold and dark thoughts. Movement, sunshine (even if it’s 31 degrees outside), and clean air will do wonders for your happiness throughout the winter!
Dance, cycle, swim, ski, hike, lift weights—just move your body! Do it for your happiness, physical body, sanity, and gut health (aka your immune system)! Learn all about the exercise-gut connection here.
11. Sleep Well
Adrenal health and melatonin are essential tools for a night of deep, restorative sleep. A well-slept woman can also better manage her stress because her brain and body can work properly! Catch some happy, quality ZZZs with this blog post.
Make this winter a season of improved health and authentic calm!