In my 9 Steps to Perfect Health series, I argued that stress management may be the most important of all of the steps.
Why? Because no matter what diet you follow, how much you exercise and what supplements you take, if you’re not managing your stress you will still be at risk for modern degenerative conditions like heart disease, diabetes, hypothyroidism and autoimmunity.
Many of you may feel defeated or overwhelmed by stress. I understand this. Stress management is hard. It asks a lot of us. It forces us to slow down, to step back, to disengage (if only for a brief time) from the electric current of modern life. It asks us to prioritize self-care in a culture that does not value it.
While I feel your pain, and still struggle with stress management myself, I’ve got to lay down some tough love here. If you’re not doing some form of regular stress management, you will sabotage all of your best efforts with diet, exercise and supplements. Stress management is absolutely crucial to optimal health and longevity. If most health conscious people spent even half the amount of time they spend focusing on nutrition and exercise on managing their stress, they’d be a lot better off.
Many of you have done a 30-day Paleo diet challenge, whether the Personal Paleo Code, Whole30 or maybe a program through your local gym. You’ve probably done something similar with exercise and fitness. But what about stress reduction? Why doesn’t it get the attention it deserves?
We’re going to change that. This month, let’s dedicate some of our time to taking it easy. April is Best Your Stress Month!
Here’s how it works:
From April 1 to April 30, pick one way you’ll plan on de-stressing your life. This could be something like meditation, yoga, deep breathing, or spending more time in nature. There are many possibilities here. What relaxes and calms you? (If you need some ideas, check out my article on stress management.)
Now make a specific goal.
Goals can be something like “I will start each day with 5 minutes of deep breathing exercises” or “I will turn my phone/computer off for 30 minutes after work.” Make them as specific as possible – you’ll be less likely to back out on your promise later. Write your goal somewhere you’ll see it often – perhaps your fridge, your desk, your car, (your forehead?) – and then leave a comment on this post with your goal so we can share ideas and support each other. Please also post your goal on Facebook and Twitter if you use social media so others can see what you’re up to.
Use your community as a resource:
Having trouble sticking to your goal? Need some other ideas for decreasing your stress? Tackle your issue in the comments section of this post. Ask your peers for advice. What are they doing to de-stress? It’s time to make some friends! A strong community of peers is also very important in maintaining a healthy life.
I truly hope this challenge allows you to let go of some of the stress you may have been hanging on to lately and that you make lots of new friends in the comments!