Tosca Reno


Saturday, November 10, 2012

10 Practical Ways to Eliminate Stress and Restore Balance to Your Life

Kristi Youngdahl is our guest blogger today. She has some excellent approaches to both recognize stress and manage it.
Kristi and her fabulous family beating stress the most natural way -
with a little humor!
We all have some level of (dare I say the big, scary word) STRESS. Sometimes it comes on like a freight train, other times it slowly creeps in and takes over. When I find myself grabbing for chocolate instead of fruit or skipping workouts because I’m “too busy,” that’s when I know stress has started taking a toll on me. Maybe you can relate…maybe you’re on a stress-induced chocolate binge right now as you read! But don’t sweat it. With the right tools, we can all manage stress, restore balance to our lives, put the chocolate down, and continue on our journey of living our best life in health and happiness.

The best place to start is to focus on the foundational elements responsible for your overall well-being. Eating Clean, positivity, daily exercise, adequate sleep, and lots of water are all ingredients in the universal recipe for wellness. Surprise, surprise… these are also key elements for eliminating stress! So here are 10 ways to start practicing stress reduction in your life today, by paying attention to your basic needs and building a strong foundation for health and wellness.

DAILY EXERCISE: Pencil your workouts into your schedule. If you’re over booked, you may find that early morning workouts are best for you. Putting it off can lead to one important thing after another getting in the way, until, before you know it, the day is over and you never got your workout in.
One way to cut the time you spend on your fitness routine—without sacrificing any of the payoff—is to move your workouts from a gym to your home. Making your workout routine more convenient is important when the weight of the world is bearing down on your shoulders; so important, in fact, that I centered my online training program around it. Remind yourself that working out is a blessing, not a chore, and don’t let other things interfere with this time you give yourself, even if it is only 30 minutes.

EATING CLEAN: Stabilizing blood sugar by eating regularly and including plenty of protein is essential for stabilizing your mood. When you nourish your body with good food, you have the energy and focus to tackle everything life throws your way.
Kristi cooking Clean with her daughter, Dru.
As a busy mom, I know just how hard it is to juggle work, family, and all of life’s other responsibilities, which is why I included a special stress-free meal guide in my online program. Set yourself up for success, especially when you have a busy schedule. Pick one day a week to prep as many clean meals as you can. Boil eggs, bake chicken breasts, whip up some homemade protein bars, cook up a few batches of healthy chili, and stock the freezer for the week to come. This will eliminate a significant amount of stress during your busy week, and save you from unhealthy, last-minute choices.

GRATITUDE: Stop sweating the small stuff! Start a gratitude journal and begin to see the world in a new and beautiful way. A small change in perspective can dramatically transform your day. Every morning write down at least 3 things that you are thankful for, and take a few minutes to genuinely feel the gratitude. Your attitude of gratitude will have a positive effect on everything you encounter during your day.

BE A KID AGAIN: What did you enjoy when you were young? Do that! Play on the playground, dance, be silly. Express yourself without self-judgment or those nagging “shoulds.” YOU decide who you’re “supposed” to be, so why not define yourself with more joy and freedom! Relax and enjoy yourself. We all have that goofy kid inside of us, and it's a good idea to let that shine from time to time. If you’re a parent, your kids will LOVE it when you do!

FULFILLING GOALS: Experiencing a sense of accomplishment helps you feel like you’re capable and in control of your life—a sure way to kick stress to the curb!
Get your mind off of your problems—they’re not going anywhere. But you sure can! Time to set new goals. If your goals aren’t written down, they don’t exist, so make sure you pick up a pen and paper for this exercise. Eliminate noun-verb goals, like “lose 15 pounds,” and focus instead on using adjectives, like “healthy, strong, and confident.” You might notice that this approach brings your goals into sharper focus and allows you to connect with them on a deeper level. That superficial noun-verb goal might lead to a fad diet, loss of energy, and continual weight fluctuations. Boy does that sound stressful! On the other hand, the adjective-driven goal will motivate you to opt for clean eating and resistance training to really create the experience you thought you would get from losing those 15 pounds.

LEARN HOW TO SAY NO: We women really struggle with this one! It’s easy to feel like “yes” is always the right answer. It’s the polite answer, the caring answer, the selfless answer. But is it really? Remember, you cannot be all things to all people. Setting healthy boundaries is essential to your well-being—and your well-being is essential to your ability to care for others. When your needs are met, you’re more capable of giving to everyone around you. Time to stop over-extending yourself and putting yourself on the back burner.
Don't forget to have a little fun in your life. 
TAKE A TIME OUT: Take a bath, read a book, enjoy a cup of tea or visit the spa. Make time for yourself (so you can care for others, remember?). And when you’re in the moment of an unpleasant circumstance and stress is overwhelming, remember what your mother or grandmother probably told you: take a deep breath and count to 10 before saying or doing anything. You can pull yourself back to center when you’re out of balance with just a few moments of silence and breathing.

TOSS THE TO-DO LIST: No more overwhelming lists and notes! Every time you think of something you would have put on your old to-do list, write it directly into your calendar. Schedule the execution of the task immediately instead of adding more clutter to your already overwhelmed brain. This will make you more effective and organized, and you’ll get to replace “busy” with “productive.”

CONSISTENCY, NOT PERFECTION: If you are continually striving to do everything perfectly, you will continually fail. Talk about stressful! None of us, not even the trainers and fitness models among us, is perfect. Lifelong success comes from accepting that we have flaws, preparing for them, and knowing that making consistently healthy choices in spite of them is what will lead to a healthy lifestyle. Be consistent and you will consistently see results.

BE PRESENT: Don’t waste your todays, planning for your tomorrows. Learn to find joy in the present, no matter what the present holds. In every moment there is something to celebrate—all you have to do is find it. If you find it challenging to find something positive, maybe it’s time to redirect your life. Focus on experiences you truly desire, and create a life you can enjoy. This will dramatically increase your satisfaction, improve your health, and allow you to live a longer, more fulfilling life.
Use these 10 strategies whenever stress comes knocking on your door. With the holidays around the corner, a little extra stress is one thing we probably all have in common. Don’t get too wrapped up in family, friends, parties, and activities that you forget to fulfill your basic needs. You’ll enjoy all of those things more when you do! And if you need a little motivation to stay focused, join my Inspired Fitness 30-Day Pre-Resolution Challenge to get healthy and maybe even win a little Christmas cash, too. My online program also includes a clean substitution guide to help you clean up some of your favorite holiday treats so you can enjoy the holidays while you maintain your healthy lifestyle.

You deserve to live each day with a heart full of happiness, peace, and simple joy. And it’s up to YOU to make it happen! Focus on aspects of your present life that make you feel valued, satisfied, and unstoppable and you will attract all sorts of amazing things to your life.

Kristi Youngdahl


  1. where can we find out more about online fitness programs?

  2. These are such great reminders! Thank you so much Kristi! You truly change the and touch the lives of those around you!!


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