Stress Management, YO!


Happy Tuesday everyone!  As I mentioned yesterday, Lou and I are in the midst of a move, one of life’s biggest stressors.  And we’re both feeling it- which in our house manifests as trouble sleeping, heart palpitations, and stomach aches (mine).  To stay sane through it I’m relying on every trick I’ve got in my bag.  So, I figured I should share, and if you have any tips or tricks in YOUR bag, I’d love to hear ’em!  We need every bit of help we can get as we try to stay in balance during this month of chaos!  {image via}

Meditation – Nothing I’ve found lowers my stress levels better than meditation.  I practice Transcendental Meditation and those 40 minutes are an absolute MUST for me during times like these!  I swear by it.

Healthy Eating-  Some people lose their appetites from stress, and others, like me, just get a larger appetite that DEMANDS COOKIES AND PIZZA.  I’ve learned that squashing those cravings with healthy comfort foods is the only way to go.  So while I may REALLY want to order pizza, I make it a priority to set aside time to cook up some healthy foods that I love and will nourish me.  I also avoid sugar at all costs (it’s a downward spiral for me- one bite of chocolate almost always leads to an entire bar when I’m at stress level 25).  I believe in balance in life generally speaking and don’t like to say no to my lover chocolate, but during times of intense stress I know I need to give my body all the support I can in coping, and filling up the tank with premium fuel vs. sugar & treats is critical

Sleep – As I mentioned above, sleep becomes an issue for both Lou and I when we’re stressed.  But lack of sleep makes stress a million times worse, so we do what we can to set ourselves up for a good night’s rest.  I start to follow all the rules about sleeping with a fervor- no screens for two hours before bed, limiting external stimulation, no caffeine, alcohol or sugar, etc.

Yoga – Exercise is great for reducing stress, but only if it doesn’t cause MORE stress by trying to squeeze it in, right?  Yoga is perfect for me because I can practice at home- for short amounts of time when I am already short on hours in the day, and longer sessions when I can manage.  And the deep breathing in yoga really helps me relax the same way TM does.

Mantra-  This may sound silly but I find that having a mantra can help tremendously.  I keep coming back to the words EVERYTHING IS GOING TO WORK OUT EXACTLY AS IT SHOULD.  Just taking a few seconds to focus on that thought when I find my thoughts spinning out of control really helps calm me down and put things back into perspective.

Oh man, I wish I had more stress reducing tips for you but this is all I’ve got at the moment.  If you have any ideas, would love to hear them!  xx- Sarah

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Reader Comments

  1. Victoria|

    Please try not to worry too much !!! Maybe make a list of all the things you need to do . I find this helps as once it is down safe on paper I feel like I don’t have to think about everything so much !! Good luck with it all and I am sure it will be great !

    Victoria @

    • Sarah Yates|

      Thank you so much Victoria! You’re totally right! WE NEED A LIST!!!!!! Thank you again! xx

  2. Jane|

    Prayer. For me, meditation and prayer go hand in hand. You guys aren’t alone in this. Don’t feel like this move is all for you to carry (no pun intended, ha ha). Just take one step at a time. Keep your mantra strong, (IT’S ALL GOING TO WORK OUT) know that you are supported and that all the work you are doing is for amazing things! It’s all good, it’s all exciting! Saying a prayer for you both!

    I find all of your tips crucial in stressful times as well! Knowing what you need already has you one step ahead 🙂

    • Sarah Yates|

      I wish I could reach through the computer and HUG you! Thank you so much. xx

  3. Angela|

    Great tips. Last year I started practicing mindful meditation and it helped a lot. But it’s easy to fall off of it when I’m super busy – which is when I need it most. I also go on walks – being outdoors lifts my mood in a way that I don’t think anything else can. I suggest getting away for 30 minutes just to walk around the neighborhood!

    I’ve started to eat healthier and have many of your recipes bookmarked! This is what I most want to stick with in the new year because it not only helps with stress but my energy levels.

    Good luck with the move!

  4. Lucero Barry|

    Hi, Congratulations on the sell and getting ready for the big move. We sold our condo mid-September in SF and moved to Portland OR so I am 3 1/2 months into it and can look back on really how stressful it was! I did ALL of the above, and continue doing it. But don’t forget to walk outside. A walk, connecting with nature really helped as well. Also it just cleared my head. It is so exciting. The stress is normal as you know so you just nurture it like you would a kitten! I am still in transition mode trying to find work in Portland but it feels good to be free from home ownership and exploring a new city. May you enjoy this big change and good luck!

    • Ana|

      I agree on the walking front! Whether it’s at your old place (saying goodbye to your favorite parts of your old neighborhood) or your new place (learning the new area), walking is a great stress-reliever. A long time ago, my doctor told me that the two things needed to solve tension headaches are walks and water. I still abide by them both as stress reducers/tension tamers.

  5. thefolia|

    I feel for you, I detest moves as we do it so often and I just heard we may even do this again soon (we haven’t even been in our nest long enough for me to make a baby!) I definitely have to meditate and connect with nature. It sounds like you are on the right track…the one positive thing about moves is that they force you to consider your belongings and purge a lot. Peace be with you in your move!

  6. Chris|

    Love these tips and definitely agree that moving can be stressful. (I did it twice in 2014, and will do so again this April.) After making an overall list of things to get done, two things really helped me: 1.) I stayed focused on the task in front of me instead of constantly thinking about the “big picture”. (Kept me from getting overwhelmed.) 2.) Upped my vitamin D and C intake. Just upping my D for awhile kept my outlook more positive and my energy higher. C (along with B), helped combat stress.
    Good luck…it WILL be wonderful! :o)

  7. Kerry Surface|

    have you ever tried Dr. Weil’s 4-7-8 breathing technique?? it’s awesome!!

  8. Kristen @ The Endless Meal|

    I couldn’t agree more about using exercise as a stress management tool. For me it’s going for a run. Sometimes it’s the hardest thing to do when time feels so limited but once I start running I forget about everything else. It’s like meditation.

    Good luck with your move!

  9. Jill Powell|

    My best plan of action is to see a stressful situation (moving) as a tiny dot in the big picture of our lives. We can get through any stressful time by remembering that it’s a very short period of time…it’s not our life, just a few weeks of it.

  10. Traci|

    Thanks for the meditation link! I have been looking into different types of meditation lately. Sleep is my best tip, but I have the hardest time sleeping when I’m stressed too, so it’s a catch 22.

  11. Nina|

    Thank you for sharing! I could use all these advices right now, oh how hard it is to start the year stressed… I especially have to work on the food cravings, that’s my biggest problem when I feel stress, it’s exactly as you describe! I feel I coul stuff my face with chocolate all day (or bread, or really anything I have in my pantry), eat Nutella by teaspoons, or buy unhealthy salted snacks, which I never do when I feel more relaxed. Fortunately, I rarely have sweets at home so I try snacking on dried fruits and nuts instead or drink tea when the cravings hit.
    To help with the sleep (my problem n°2), I spray orange blossom floral water on my pillows, it is very relaxing! Lavender is good too, and I l recently found out that the smell of sage seems to have a calming effect on me as well. Now I have to try the “no screen” thing, eat lighter before going to bed, and have relaxing herbal teas (but not just before going to bed or I’ll wake up in the middle of the night to go to the toilets, duh!)
    I also like taking a long, hot shower in the morning. But nothing worth a good massage, either in a spa or provided by my bf! I’m going to need one soon! Also, when I feel to much pressure, I found that crying a good time helps a lot! (yeah, I am totally encouraging nervous breakdown, not sure if this is a good advice, but it happened to me recently and I felt much better afterwards, plus crying a whole day help you to sleep in the evening!)
    Good luck with the move! Everything’s gonna be ok soon! (my own mantra 😉

  12. Christine|

    Stress hits me the same way and sometimes I find it really hard to get ahead of it. Your tips are awesome – meditation and yoga are both really helpful for me too. In addition though, I like to use essential oils and really make a ritual out of it (even if it’s only for a few moments) – I’ll take a stress-relieving blend (I like Tata Harper’s or one by Province Apothecary), put a few drops in my hands, rub them together and then breathe it in really deeply. The whole experience is really lovely. I like to close my eyes and just rest in that place for a couple minutes – when I open them up, I usually just feel more peaceful and at ease.

    Wishing you the best! I truly believe that everything does work out the way it should (as your mantra states) – keep believing in that xo

  13. nadya|

    I love your mantra! My usual one is “be your best self,” which is nice and all-encompassing (and puts the power/agency/control/whatever in your own hands). Another good one, which is sort of silly but inspiring at the same time, is “do no harm, but take no shit.” (aka Be kind but stand up for yourself.) Applies to all sorts of situations. 😉 I wish you all the best.

  14. Cate|

    As a frequent worrier, one of the best things I’ve learned when feeling anxious in a situation is to consider the “worst case scenario.” This allows my mind to stop spinning out of control. When I consider the worst thing that could happen, usually I realize that I’ll be able handle even that. This way I acknowledge whatever is causing me stress, but can quickly move on from it. Like you, I also find having a bedtime routine (I call it my “wind-down hour”) is super helpful. It usually involves no screens, meditation, gratitude journal, and a hot cup of Natural Calm Magnesium. Sending positive thoughts and prayers your way!

  15. dana|

    Essential oils!!! Not sure if anyone has mentioned that in the comments yet (I havent read all of them), but Tata Harper makes a wonderful one. Seriously. I put it on almost daily! Also, a really good (uplifting/self help) book helps, although when you’re stressed, theres no time to read, right!?


  16. sage|

    essential oils make a huge difference for me. i also prefer oil companies that don’t suggest ingestion. Aura Cacia is a good essential oil company. I think whole foods carries their oils. Lavendar is great for easing stress, I apply it to my temples. Peppermint on the stomach is great for easing an upset stomach. Also, EFT (look it up via Dr. Mercola – life changing, really!) aids in removing emotional junk and stress of all kind and you can do it anywhere. Calcium magnesium (I like peter gillhams because it’s non-gmo and I also prefer the plain because it doesn’t contain stevia, which upsets my stomach. Lastly, an great quality vitamin B complex has also been really helpful. If you need some help with sleep, one ounce of organic tart cherry juice within the hour before bed helps me and my toddler sleep better; it has naturally occurring melatonin in it. I think it’s pretty yummy – sometimes I even add it to kefir mmmm!
    Moves are difficult! Sorry if any of my info is a repeat from other comments!

  17. Kristin Nilsen|

    Thank you for the mantra! You have a great routine and I aspire to do all of them – I would add going to movies. It’s like two hours that pulls me out of my own thoughts for a bit. It’s amazing what a relief that can be.

  18. cm|

    I totally get the stress of moving. I try to remember that in situations like these (stressful moves), in the big scheme of things these are good problems to have. I just moved in with my boyfriend, but his hoarder roommate overstayed his lease and left us with three bedroom home full of junk, with stained carpet and holes in the walls and ceiling after we had already signed off on the home and a new lease and had no choice but to live in the home while we cleaned out his junk. We kept finding more things requiring repair and it was stressing me out to no end, on top of working 60 hour weeks. We took a break one night and watched the documentary “Living on one dollar”, and it helped keep things in perspective; how fortunate we are. Most of the world would love to have the problem of being stressed out over moving from one comfortable first world home to another. It’s unsettling and a ton of work, but with the right partner it can also be really fun. My boyfriend and I had a blast painting and cleaning together and took time out to exercise, eat right, and celebrate small victories. We make up games and contests to get it done and finish each night with some wine and cuddling, and a month from now we’ll be laughing about how horrible the house was when we started with it. Seriously every day something new falls apart, it’s just like the money pit. Open a drawer, the bottom falls out. Open the broiler, it falls off. It’s hilarious.

  19. Erin|

    Mind if I borrow your mantra babe?? Hope you’re handling all the change ok – and hope I get to see your lovely face in 2015! It’s been too long!! xo