September is always a stressful month, and this year even more so. With the return of school, everyone is on the lookout for another wave of COVID-19.
Understandably, people are on edge!
How can play help you beat stress?
Navigating stress is never easy at the best of times, and many people turn to eating food for an emotional release. Stress eating is real.
But guess what? It usually leaves you feeling WORSE.
Regular short-term “acute” stress can mean your brain needs about 12% more energy, which might explain why sometimes you look for comfort in food.
But when your stress becomes chronic, your body releases a barrage of hormones to help you cope with it – including cortisol and insulin.
Over time, this can cause blood sugar swings, insulin surges, more cravings, and even slow down your metabolism!
Your body doesn’t deserve that.
And it is just one reason trainers and health coaches talk so much about stress management – even when you’re not feeling all that stressed.
I also notice this troubling trend, especially with women who work with me.
They all have significant stressors in common – juggling their careers, caring for growing kids, navigating menopause and managing ageing parents in the days of COVID – but they don’t always have the time to take care of their health first.
Nine times out of 10, they don’t think they are stressed.
They have forgotten about the joy of play, which has a cascading positive effect in helping manage stress.
Instead, they turn to “quick-fixes” to “get healthy,” often ending up gaining weight, suffering from sleepless nights, hot flashes, moodiness and being less active than before they started.
Commonly, doctors will first suggest that if you can’t do a better job at managing your exercise, nutrition and stress that you might have to be on medication for preventable lifestyle diseases like hypertension or diabetes for the rest of your life.
That is scary stuff.
I built The Play for Life System coaching program to help solve this problem. I want to teach women to move in a way that brings them joy, stop dieting forever and eat real, whole foods to keep their bodies fuelled for an active life while managing stress along the way.
So, how can you manage stress instead of stress managing you?
▶️ Practice a regular play (exercise) routine – whether you only have five minutes to dance in your kitchen or an hour to walk with your friends, play can do wonders for the mind/body connection.
▶️ Spend some quiet time every day – either meditating, taking a walk outside, or journaling. The point is to be intentional with whatever you choose. Allow yourself to relax!
▶️ Take a look at your pre-bed routine. What about taking a hot shower or bath, turning off the screens and doing breathwork. Something else that is helpful is to do a “brain dump” before you go to sleep. Put a piece of paper beside your bed and write down everything you have on your “to-do” list for the next day. Then it will be off your brain on paper so that you can sleep easier.
▶️ If stress is a big problem in your life, talk with your healthcare provider.
I hope these tips help you tame the stress monster in your life.
Have a fantastic stress-free and playful labour day weekend!
Keep well, and play on!
P.S. If you are a woman who wants to finally take control of your health without diets, medication or feeling that you have to go to a gym, enrollment is opening September 14th The Play for Life System coaching program. Click HERE to register now. Let me help you be the best version of yourself and have fun!