Everyone is well aware that stress SUUUUCCCKKSSSS. Like big time.
And we all know that stress can ruin your day, your week, your month, your life.
If you let it.
Each and every one of us has experienced stress at one point or any other. And I am willing to bet that during some of the most stressful times in our lives we felt like complete shit. Not just mentally but physically as well.
We often hear advice about not letting the little things get to us or build up, taking mental health days, and avoiding getting burnt out. Well, getting burnt out is not just a mental phenomenon. When we begin to feel overwhelmed by the every day events of our lives, it is as if an invisible weight is building and building on our shoulders. We become increasingly tired, literally, every day. We lack energy and enthusiasm, motivation, focus, and physical ability to complete these daily tasks. These are signs of deteriorating health. AND they begin to seep into all areas of our lives.
The more sluggish we feel, the less likely we are to go to the gym, and then soon the less likely we are to cook dinner, or make sure our meals are regimented, or go the extra mile with other supplements, beauty, or health regimens we usually follow. All things that begin to affect our overall physical health.
Lately, I have been riding the struggle bus. My life is changing in a HUGE way and it has made me preoccupied. I have spent countless hours trying to get everything so perfectly in order that I let the stress build and build and build until I exploded. But not only did I have a mental breakdown today, I also sat back (post solid cry sesh) and realized all the ways this stress has been affecting my physical life.
I am guilty of falling into all the above. I have not eaten as strict and structured as I usually do. I have let little things get in the way of my CrossFit schedule. I have also noticed an increase in annoying joint pain, like everywhere, as well as a flare up of my shoulder… Which also has to do with putting strain on it from working out but when my scheduled at the gym has been more lax than usual, and USUALLY my joints aren’t in pain, then I know that there are other contributing factors.
At the same time, I have physically felt sick. Constantly… Usually I am never sick. But over the last month or so I am ALWAYS sick… I have had headaches every single day. I have had pain and pressure in my ribs and in my eyes. I have had bloating, constipation, and nausea on a regular basis. I have gotten weak, dizzy, and lightheaded. And my skin has been a hot damn mess. My hormones must be out of control because even for someone with bad skin these breakouts have been ones for the record book.
So why am I writing about how freakin awful I feel?
Because it happens. It happens to all of us. It can happen when we are at our best and at our worst. Because to be honest my life is heading in amazing directions and I am truly the happiest I have ever been at the core of it all. The key here, and my lesson to you, is not to avoid stress. Because it’s truly and realistically unavoidable. Avoiding and refusing to acknowledge how overwhelmed I have been just let it build up inside me without outlet. Rather, we need to recognize the warning signs, acknowledge what it is that is making you stressed, hit the problem head on (if possible), and then de-stress after it.
We all need an outlet. Something that has nothing to do with our regularly schedule daily programming. Usually CrossFit is my de-stressor. Working out can help me unwind and burn off steam and get rid of any anger, stress, or anxiety building up. While that is a great resource and one I often encourage, we also need something that we can do with NO physical or mental stress on our body but just pure happiness and relief.
There are a million options and things we can turn too. Meditation is a great choice. I did a meditative yoga class last Tuesday and it surprised me on how much it truly helped. You can spend time with someone you don’t see often, dance, sing, treat yourself to something you enjoy, deep breath, go to sleep earlier, take a walk, smile… The options are seriously endless… You need to find something that works for you.
For me some things are cooking and putting a smile on the face of the people around me. Seeing people enjoy themselves and, on the selfish end, getting that hug after with a warm thank you. It’s like a breath of fresh air. The best way for me to combine the two is having the kitchen to myself and cooking some amazing comfort food for the people I love.
Something about food brings people together and honestly makes me smile. I just. Love. Food. I am by no means telling anyone to eat their feelings but it is called comfort food for a reason. Food is a magical thing and for me it is one of the things that can bring me out of any rut. Not just because I like to eat, which I do haha, but because I LOVE cooking. It’s fun and therapeutic. It relaxes me; mind, body, and soul.
Today I discovered what may be my most impressive of recipes. You see I cannot stand mushrooms and not a big fan of onions or shallots or anything in that family. However, today I experimented with and made a slow cooker paleo chicken and dumplings to put a traditional chicken and dumplings to shame AND it was cooked with both of the aforementioned items AANNDD I actually ate it AND LOVE IT! :O ….
So without further ado… PALEO CHICKEN AND DUMPLINGS everyone!
(whose recipe can be found here for easy printing)
First step is preparing homemade cream of mushroom soup (recipe can be found under Main Dishes). Once that is complete, cut 4-6 chicken breast in 1 inch chucks and slice 2 small yellow onions. Add chicken, onion, and 3 cups of the cream of mushroom soup to crockpot and set to low for 2 hours. After two hours, add 3 large carrots (cut into chunks) and 1/2 cup of organic free range chicken broth. Cover and leave on low for another 4 hours. Then prepare the dumplings…
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Whisk 4 eggs and 1/4 cup melted butter together. Sift together 1/3 cup of coconut flour and 1/4 tsp of baking soda. Whisk flour mixture into egg mix. Spoon dumpling batter onto baking sheet. Cook 15-20 minutes.
Serve chicken and broth mixture spooned over dumplings. Enjoy 🙂
What things help YOU destress?
What recipes or foods do you enjoy cooking that help you relax?