Do you find yourself turning to 2nd and 3rd glasses of wine to help you deal with the stress of our changing world?
If so, you’re not alone. I’ve had several friends and clients tell me that their alcohol consumption has gone up since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, and has continued to rise as we grapple with the confronting truths of racial injustice.
Feelings of anxiety, stress, overwhelm, depression, anger, shame and sadness are all normal at this time. It’s part of the uncomfortable process of creating change and healing.
Your brain is designed to keep you safe and it does that by convincing you to run from discomfort. There are many ways to run from your own pain and discomfort.
- Lashing out at, and blaming someone else.
- Turning to substances that alter your consciousness like alcohol, caffeine and other mind altering/numbing drugs.
- Engaging in activities that don’t support your overall health and wellbeing like scrolling social media, staying up too late, night snacking, sleeping in, and turning to comfort foods.
These actions/activities may provide you relief in the short term, but have negative effects on your relationships, and your mental and physical wellbeing. You’re human, and I’m human, so we both engage in some of these from time to time. It’s normal to want to pacify the discomfort.
If you’re here because you want to become more courageous, healthier and a force for positive change and new possibility in the world, then it’s important to train yourself to override your brain’s desire to run from discomfort.
You and me, we need to train our minds to sit with the discomfort, to be with the pain (so it can be healed), to retrain our taste buds (and microbiota) to crave healthy foods, and to choose activities that add value to our health, to the health of our communities and the health of our planet. That’s how we create new possibility for ourselves and the world.
Activities/Choices that Create Courage, Health and Possibility:
Get in your kayak, on your SUP, your bike or go for a hike. Movement helps to process emotions and experiences in a healthy and life-affirming way.
Connect with nature. You are nature. I am nature. If all you’ve got time for is a walk around your neighborhood then do that! Look at the trees, listen to the birds and enjoy the flowers.
The benefits of spending time outside are well documented and include:
- Greater immune health
- Increased short term memory
- Stress reduction
- Reduced inflammation
- Better sleep
- Increased happiness and creativity.
And the list goes on… The next time you’re feeling overwhelmed, instead of reaching for a glass of wine or comfort food, go for a walk.
Messages and texts are great AND don’t forget to call someone up, and answer your phone when a friend calls. Engage in meaningful conversations. Sometimes that means you will have to reach out first. Be courageous and be the change you want to see and experience.
Listen deeply and express yourself with authenticity, compassion and love. Remember we all want to be heard.
In difficult conversations make your case without making the other person wrong. After difficult conversations connect with someone who is easy to talk to (not to complain – complaining is a waste of time), with whom you can debrief in a safe space.
Retrain your Taste Buds
Train your taste buds to crave food and drink that support your health. This means getting in touch with your unique constitution and examining your current eating habits. Studies of the gut microbiome are discovering that the food we eat determines how healthy our gut is. According to the science, we increase the good microbiota when we feed them! At the same time, we also increase the bad microbiota when we feed them with crappy or inappropriate food. Feed the good microbiota by remembering that food is medicine, learn your about your constitution, and most importantly, listen to your body.
Your body is talking to you all the time. Learn to listen. How do you feel after you eat and/or drink? If you feel crappy then something isn’t working for you. Pay attention to the foods that make you feel energized and good. Eat more of them. They are your allies in managing stress.
Here’s a hint – veggies are almost always a good choice. An easy way to improve diet without knowing your constitution is to increase your veggie intake. Veggies should make up 50% of your plate/bowl at meals. The exception is if you eat oatmeal or chia pudding (recipe below) for breakfast.
I’m sharing a few healthy summer recipes you can try:
The Elderberry and Aloe Mocktail
This is a delicious and refreshing summer drink that actually boosts your immune system and helps with digestion.
2/3 cup Aloe Vera Juice (find it in the pharmacy section of your local health food store)
Handful of mint leaves chopped or shredded (I get mine from my garden!)
Squeeze of fresh lime
1/3 cup plain fizzy water or soda water
Combine all ingredients, add a little ice (just a little) and enjoy.
Breakfast Chia Pudding
Cooling and delicious breakfast packed with nutrition.
¼ cup chia seeds
1 cup coconut or almond milk.
1 TBS flax meal
1 TBS hemp hearts
1/4 – 1/2 tsp cardamom
Stir everything together in a jar or container with a lid and leave in fridge overnight. In the morning take it out of the fridge and let sit on the counter while you do your morning routine so that it warms up a bit. Add mixed berries and enjoy!
Veggie Smoothie Recipe
Smoothies are one of my summer favorites! A nutritious smoothie is at least 60% veggies.
2 stalks celery
Handful of spinach
Handful of kale
4 slices cucumber
1 TBS flaxmeal
1 TBS hemp hearts
1 TBS almond butter
Handful of berries
1 cup of almond milk (adjust depending on your preferred taste/consistency)
1 cup of water (adjust depending on your preferred taste/consistency)
I hope you’ll take me up on the challenge to put down your 2nd glass of wine, reach out and connect with people and get outside and move your body! If you do, and you do it consistently, your stress levels will decrease and you’ll feel healthier and have more energy to create possibility for yourself and others.
If you want help with stress, diet and lifestyle management for a healthier, happier, lighter YOU, AND you want to connect with a powerful group of like-minded women, I encourage you to check out my group coaching program Anna’s Summer Health Tribe. Registration ends June 19th.