ARE YOU ALIVE? GREAT! YOU PROBABLY HAVE STRESS. EVERYONE DOES.

Speaking of, It’s been two weeks and I’m still breaking out in hives. Not to mention I’ve been having bouts of psychosis thanks to the super high dose of prednisone I was prescribed. I finally made it to an Allergist today and while I’m waiting for some more blood tests, the doctor seems to think my hives are stress induced. Hmm how about, I haven’t even realized I’m feeling stressed but my body sure knows and it’s reacting.

Once I really thought about it, it clicked, of course I’m stressed! How had I not realized this?
I just enrolled in an online course, which meant taking out a loan. My mother is selling her house and buying an RV to travel/live in, so I’m bringing my boyfriend home to meet the family. Oh, and my boyfriend is also leaving for a backpacking trip around Asia for an undetermined amount of time in just a little over a month. I guess all of that could be maybe stressing me out a bit. The past week I’ve been sticking to my normal routine as much I possibly could to help keep some sort of sanity, in my med fueled manic state. For me that meant making my bed, going to the gym (this one was huge in harnessing all the excess energy), studying and cooking.

Being able to recognize stress is important but the key to helping reduce it? ROUTINE! 
When the body knows what to expect it helps it to feel at ease, so creating and sticking to a routine can reduce the anxiety of new stressors. Daily routines are healthy practices from the moment you wake up until you go to bed. These can be simple things from enjoying a cup of tea every morning, to keeping your keys on a hook near your door.

5 STEPS TO CREATING A ROUTINE TO REDUCE STRESS

1. Start with a morning routine – This can be whatever works for you. Washing your face and brushing your teeth, listening to music while in the shower,  saying daily affirmations into the mirror, even drinking a large glass of water. I make my bed first thing every morning, it gives me a sense of achievement at the start of the day. Taking just 15 minutes to engage in a morning ritual can set the tone for your whole day.

2. Create a daily accomplishment list – Ok yes this is the same thing as a to-do list in theory but to-do lists have a tendency to add stress if we don’t complete them. Instead, write the 3 main things you need to get done for the day on a piece of paper or in your phone’s notepad. Below this throughout the day write down all the things you’ve accomplished. For example today I bought a new MetroCard, picked up a prescription, did dishes and hit my daily step goal. When you physically see how much you’ve accomplished during the day, big or small, the stress of everyday life tasks starts to diminish. Plus at the end of the day, you may notice you knocked a few things off your to-do list for tomorrow! 

3. Workout- You knew this one was coming! Exercise has a direct effect on your stress levels.  This is because exercise releases the “feel good” endorphins that create a sense of well-being and euphoria people feel after a workout. I prefer to workout first thing in the morning because it boosts my mood and jump-starts my day. However when your schedule changes from day to day it isn’t always possible to keep a set time for exercise.  Finding a groove and making a habit to get in some form of physical activity every day is what counts.

4. Eat Regular Meals- This is a hard one even for me, but it is so important for your body. Eating regular meals is important for proper breakdown and absorption of nutrients. When you’re juggling a constantly changing schedule getting in balanced regular meals can be difficult. I find the best way to tackle this is meal prep one day a week. It can take awhile to get used to but spending one day in the kitchen prepping food for the week not only will save you time later but will help ensure you’re eating properly when you’re crunched for time.

5. Unwind before bed- Having a night-time ritual is as important as a morning one. It’s important to help the body wind down to a place of calm and relaxation so you can get a restful night of sleep. Breathing exercises, reading or simply taking time stair into space can help to transition the body. This is one area I will be working on, as I currently have no night-time ritual. I’ve been working to incorporate more stretching into my life and I think it may become part of my nightly routine. 

Most of these may seem simple, but creating and sticking to a routine can be difficult. It can be easiest to incorporate one at a time until you’ve developed a healthy routine that works best for you!

My week of workouts helped keep me in my routine, burn off extra energy from the steroids and gave me time every day when my mind escaped the stress of breaking out in hives.

Sunday – rest day

Monday –
30 minute walk
20 kettlebell swings – 24lb kettlebell x5
10 kettlebell figure 8’s – 24lb kettlebell x3
60 leg lifts

Tuesday-
40 inclined leg lifts
20 Bosu in & outs
20 Bosu mountain climbers
x3
2.5 mile run

Wednesday-
Reformer 1 Pilates Class at NYC Pilates

Thursday-
1 mile run
Side lunges – 20 each side
Forward lunges – 20 each side

Jump Squats – 30lb barbell 20reps*
Incline Leg Press 90lb 20reps
Jump Squats – *
Incline Leg Press 140lbs 20 reps
Jump Squats – *
Incline Leg Press 180lbs, 230lbs, 270lbs 20 reps

Side lunges – 20lb barbell 10 each side
Forward Lunges – 20lb barbell 10 each side
Body weight squatting back lunges 10 each leg
x3
Straight leg deadlifts- 25lb dumbells 20reps
Sumo deadlifts -25lb dumbells 20reps
x3

Friday –
1 mile run
Seated Rows – 44lbs 20reps
Lat pull downs – 44lbs 20reps
x3
Horizontal cross body cable pulls- 15lbs 20reps
Straight arm cable pull downs- 15lbs 20reps
x3
Seated cable twists – 10lbs 20 each side
Straight arm lying cable pull to opposite leg lift  – 10lbs 12 each side
x3

Saturday- rest day

Sunday-
5 minute sprint to warm up
Plank row to burpee -10lb dumbells 12reps
Squat thrusters- 15lb dumbells 12reps
x3
Bosu ball good mornings -20lb barbell 2oreps – standing on flat base of Bosu
Kettllebell swings- 20lb kettlebell 15reps
x3
Seated cable twists – 10lbs 20 each side
Straight arm lying cable pull to opposite leg lift – 10lbs 12 each side
x3