3 Steps to Reduce Stress: A Must-Read for Women Over 40
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3 Steps to Reduce Stress: A Must-Read for Women Over 40

Did you know that women are more likely to suffer from stress than men? Although it's something we "manage," it's not something to be taken lightly. Women over 40 should take serious steps to reduce their stress load not just for anti-aging and longevity factors, but also because it's a contributing factor for heart disease— a leading cause of death for women. 

Scary— I know. But how many times have you started a sentence with, "Things are just really busy right now?" For many of us, it's our motto! But the truth is, neglecting ourselves for the sake of an endless To Do List is a dangerous practice to get into. 

In the 3 Step Guide to Reducing Stress below, I'll walk you through some expert strategies to reduce your stress load and increase your nourishment so you can start living happier and healthier today. 

Step 1. Identify your stressors

Social media is flooded with moms volunteering at their kid’s school, becoming entrepreneurs, making creative snacks for their kids’ lunches, taking care of elderly parents… Oh, and behind the scenes, they’re the primary health care decision makers for the family— not to mention their own health, which often gets left on the back-burner.

It’s no wonder that women are more likely to experience emotional and physical stress than men!

And, one of the ways that we manage stress is through eating.

In my new book, Love Yourself Healthy, I talk about how eating healthy food and getting active are only half of the equation. Most mainstream health and diet books say the only thing you have to do is change your food and exercise––which is simply not true!

You can eat the healthiest food on the planet, have the perfect exercise routine and the best self- care, but if you’re constantly in a stress response mode it’s not going to work. It is scientifically impossible for the body to heal or to lose weight when it is under stress.

So, what stresses you out? 

Take a moment and make a little list.

Approach this step with curiosity and not judgment.  When you understand and recognize how YOU experience stress, you have a better understanding of what your triggers are, and how to disarm them.

 

Step 2. Look at how you deal with stress

What are the methods that you are currently using? Do you just let stress build up and hope it goes away? 

Are you saying “yes” to situations that are fulfilling, and “no,” to those that deplete you? 

While I recognize that there are times when we don’t have a choice of whether or not a situation is self-fulfilling or self-depleting, I do believe that we can get stuck thinking that we don’t have a choice, and then it can become a habit.

What I’m suggesting is that you hit the pause button before saying yes to “doing” more.

Perhaps by saying no you are opening up space for you to “be” more.

Remember by making self-nourishment your priority you will have more to give.

 

Step 3. Create a “Nourishment Menu”

By creating a menu of healthy, stress-reducing activities you won’t have to think about what to do when you are experiencing heightened stress. You will be able to simply select one off the menu. I have mine on a whiteboard so that I can add and change as needed. 

A Sample "Nourishment Menu"

  1. Spoil yourself – Get a mani/pedi, or something that feels extra.
  2. Digitally detox– Give yourself a break and you’ll be amazed at how disconnecting can help you feel more connected.
  3. Meditate or listen to soothing music for 10-15 minutes– I currently use the Calm app and love it!
  4. Take a leisurely walk with nature – Not to be confused with exercise, this is just an opportunity to get out in nature and engage all of your senses. Smell the roses, if you will.
  5. Read just for pleasure – When was the last time you read something just for fun and because it truly engaged you?
  6. Take a bath with essential oils and Epson salts – This is one of my regular go-to’s to reset and relax.
  7. Color just for fun – Whether you are a natural artist, once you let go of your perfectionist side, it can be a lot of fun. 
  8. Call a girlfriend – There’s nothing like a BFF to help you to feel better!
  9. Dance it off – This is a favorite of my daughter and I. Pump up the music and think Grey's Anatomy style and dance like no one’s watching. 
  10. Invest in your self-development Whether it’s a life, health, relationship coach or other, there’s truly been no greater moment to seek self-help. I’ve seen unbelievable results when women set aside an hour a week to focus on themselves with a professional. *If you’re interested in scheduling a call with me to discover whether or not I can help you with your goals, click here. 

We are constantly surrounded by noise and distractions but remember it is in the quiet moments where we can rediscover our calm, focus, and even creativity.

Give yourself permission to have that moment so you can nourish your mind, body and soul— and have more to give.

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