Take Time for Yourself and Relax!


“The things that trouble our spirits are within us already. In meditation, we must face them, accept them, and set them aside one by one.” ~Cristopher L Bennett

Take Time for Yourself and Relax!

Ahh, it’s finally summer and many of us are getting some needed rest and relaxation by taking a vacation. I recently took a beach vacation and it gave me the idea to write this blog about relaxation and how important it is to de-stress.  I can honestly say that I felt more relaxed after this particular vacation than I had in a very long time.

However, it is really important to your overall health to keep stress at bay year round and not just on your annual vacation. It’s important to take time for yourself daily to help you relax and keep your stress level under control.

Did you know that chronic stress can age every body part?  If your body is exposed to constant high levels of cortisol, it can cause any of the conditions mentioned below:

  • Premature aging
  • Decreased insulin sensitivity, causing diabetes
  • Growth of cancer cells
  • Decreased growth hormone
  • Increased appetite
  • Increased fat storage, especially abdominal fat
  • Increased heartburn
  • Weakened muscles
  • Slow wound healing
  • Poor quality sleep
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Destruction of brain cells, especially memory function

There are some very healthy ways to combat your stress level and keep your cortisol levels at a healthy level. Here are six simple techniques to help you combat stress:

  1. Practice stress busters. For example, redirect negative thoughts and surround yourself with upbeat, positive people.
  2. Cut down on caffeine. Caffeine raises stress hormone levels.
  3. Reduce unnecessary noise. Traffic sounds, train horns, and even loud music can increase cortisol levels.
  4. Get enough rest. Our cortisol levels typically fall to their lowest level around 6:00 p.m. which prepares the body for a relaxed state to fall to sleep. High levels of stress in the afternoon and evening can interfere with sleep. This causes us to spend less time in deep sleep which in turn makes us produce less growth hormone throwing the body out of endocrine balance. Try to relax in the late afternoon and evening to ensure a good night’s sleep.
  5. Enjoy a natural morning high. Cortisol is naturally high in the morning around 6:00 a.m. which helps us start each day with a burst of energy. This is a great time to exercise and burn some of that energy.
  6. Stay lean. The more fat cells you have the more cortisol they produce.  Excess stress produces fat, especially abdominal fat.

If you are wondering what I do to control my stress level, because let’s face it we all experience some level of stress, I take time for myself everyday.  Most days of the week my “me time” includes exercising. Listening to music has always been able to reduce  my stress level. I also like a bit of pampering, so  my monthly facial and pedicures I treat myself to from time to time are very relaxing.

One area of relaxation I have been trying to incorporate this year is meditation.  As a health coach, I am always reading articles related to health & wellness and over the past few years there has been much talk about the benefits of meditation. At the beginning of the year, I set a goal to incorporate mediation into every week and work up to a few minutes everyday. This is still a work in progress for me, but I can tell you that I do feel more relaxed on the days that I have taken the time to meditate for a few minutes.

I hope all of you find some relaxation this summer and find healthy ways to control your stress that work for you throughout the year.

In good health,

186e0e2a-40a3-436f-a325-a3a20087f876 We’d love to hear from you!
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How Do You Take Time For Yourself?

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zzzzz’s Healthy Ingredient of the Month:

Ashwagandha is an adaptogenic herb popular in Ayuvedic healing. The herb is grown in mild climates and is native to India, northern Africa, and the Middle East. It is also grown in the United States. An adaptogen is a combination of amino acids, vitamins and herbs.  They help the body cope with external stresses such as toxins in the environment and internal stresses such as anxiety, depression and insomnia.

Ashwagandha belongs to the same family as the tomato. It is a plump shrub with oval leaves and yellow flowers and bears red fruit about the size of a raisin. Ashwagandha can help relieve symptoms of stress, fatigue, lack of energy and difficulty concentrating. In India, Ashwagandha is used to strengthen the immune system after illness. In over 200 studies, Ashwagandha has shown incredible results in lowering cortisol and balancing thyroid hormones. What product can you find this fantastic herb?  Shakeology contains Ashwagandha as one of its healthy adaptogens.

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