Stress is an inevitable part of modern-day life, and especially now more than ever. Constant stimulation from technology, long work hours, and trying to maintain our health can all add to our stress levels. By building in simple habits, we can help combat these everyday stressors, which left untreated can lead to a more serious long-term impact on our health. We’ve come up with a few tools to help you find your zen.
Tips to find your zen
Keep an organized, clutter-free home and workspace. The quality of the environment around you can have a dramatic impact on your mindset and wellbeing. Simply cleaning up your space or doing a more dramatic home reset Marie Kondo style can help you feel more calm.
Schedule personal time the same way you schedule work. For many of us, our calendars are mainly blocked off by work obligations, meetings, and appointments. Take the time to formally schedule stress-reducing activities like working out, quality time with your partner, and self-care appointments. Even scheduling technology-free time, where you read a book or take a walk can be hugely impactful. More importantly, treat them as true obligations – the same way you would treat a meeting with your boss. By building in non-negotiable relaxation every week, you’ll automatically maintain a lower stress state.
Try a slower workout. We are often so pressed for time that we assume every workout needs to be as “efficient” as possible. The problem with this cycle is that our adrenal system can eventually get fatigued with all of this action. While there are many benefits to high-intensity workouts, balancing them with lower intensity exercise is just as important. Try adding in a few feel-good sessions each week, such as a moderately paced walk outside, an online yoga class, or a pilates session where you’re focused on breath. You’ll allow your nervous system to rest and recharge, while still receiving the wonderful benefits of staying active.
Pay attention to the nutrients at each meal. Rather than obsessing over your caloric intake, think about the nutrient density of your meal each time you sit down. First, is there a balance of carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats? Be sure to especially focus on adequate protein at each meal to help steady blood sugar and create a more even mood. Next, make sure that you are eating micronutrient-rich foods at each meal since individual minerals and vitamins can have a huge impact on your overall wellbeing (and that includes your response to stress). The easiest way to ensure your meals are nutrient-dense is to pile your plate high with organic produce – think leafy greens, colorful vegetables, and an array of fruit. Aim to fill at least half of your plate with produce at every single meal.
Utilize the power of adaptogens. Adaptogens can have a powerful impact on your health. For most healthy individuals, adaptogens can be an excellent addition to your daily routine to impact energy, mood, sleep, and overall wellbeing. Adaptogens are a category of herbs that interact with the nervous system to help our body’s stress responders. They get their name because they adapt to what your body needs. Many adaptogens can impact the stress response by the body, and Ashwagandha is one of our favorites and has long been used medicinally. It can help maintain healthy cortisol levels, increase focus and brain health, fight anxiety, and improve sleep quality.
We’ve created a creamy, soothing ashwagandha tonic to sip on for a great night’s sleep. You can sip on this recipe any time of day for a boost in focus or to help you unwind after a long day at work. Its mild sweetness makes it an excellent treat after dinner.
Ashwagandha drink for chill vibes
Makes 2 servings
2.5 cups boiling water
1/3 cup raw cashews, soaked
1/4 cup coconut cream
1 tablespoon raw cacao
1 teaspoon ashwagandha
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Optional: top with edible dried flowers, cinnamon, chia seeds, or hemp hearts.
Compile and prep ingredients.
Add all ingredients to a blender. Blend on high until creamy and smooth.
For an extra creamy drink, soak your cashews in hot water for 15-30 minutes, then drain and rinse before adding to the blender. Serve immediately.
Recipe and photography by Kaitlyn Noble
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