Increase in stress triggers a hormone response releasing cortisol which in simple terms can contribute to loss of muscle mass, increased fat storage (particularly around the waistline) and impulses to over eat. Even if you are making good food choices then if stressed, your body will work against you, making it less likely you will achieve those positive changes in body shape.
The answer? Obviously removing the root cause of the stress can often be impossible so it becomes about managing the stress. These are my 5 top tips to managing stress:-
- Exercise - I'm lucky I enjoy exercise and I know it makes a difference to my stress levels. Ideally commit to a regular class that you enjoy and let the instructor motivate you. Block book so the decision to go is taken from you and if need be book a regular baby sitter. Yes it might cost a bit but isn't your health and wellbeing worth it?
- Meet up with friends - Agree a regular time such as the first friday in the month and prioritise a get together with your friends. Meet up with those who know you the best and you can relax with. Share your worries, celebrate your successes and have a bit of fun.
- Make time for "me time" - as women we tend to put everyone else's needs before our own. Move yourself to the top of the list every now and again. Grab a good book or magazine, claim the bathroom, light a few candles and have a relaxing bath listening to your favourite music; just do something for YOU whatever that might be.
- Meditate - I am slowly understanding more about how the mind can influence the body. Personally I am not sure i'll ever be one to meditate but I do like to use positive affirmations to manage my mind from time to time. For example this affirmation from Marianne Williamson, " I use the power of a positive attitude to uplift any situation". It can help with the way you deal with situations and reduce the amount you let some things get to you.
- Don't try to be perfect - I think we all try to hard to be perfect. This year I made my apologies and decided to restrict the number of christmas cards I sent. It freed up an evening so I spent the cash i'd saved on a babysitter and had that night out with my friends! Let some things go, no one will notice.