Life has been stressful lately. The other day, as I sat in my car fuming over a telephone call from my son’s school principal, all I could think about was how good it would feel to go home, change clothes, tie up my New Balance sneaks, and head out for a long run. And the reboot did feel good. While I ran I thought about how I would handle this new situation at my son’s school, and I put some distance between myself and the wall of stress that can build up so quickly.
Using exercise to de-stress is new to me: one year ago I hardly exercised at all, beyond the walk from my car to my office. Something had to change: I was tired, stressed out, drinking too much coffee, and my weight had crept up to a point I didn’t like. So I bought a punch pass to our local aquatic center and started swimming laps, two to three times a week. Last winter I started running, and I’ve been hooked since. Exercise, combined with my switch from a vegetarian diet to a vegan one eight months ago, has literally changed my life. Are you looking for a change? Here are five simple ways to the power of a reboot can help you look good and feel better:
1. Consider tweaking your diet. If you balk at going completely vegetarian, try and eliminate meat out of your meals two or three (or more) days out of the week. If you are already vegetarian, try replacing vegetarian meals with plant-based ones. If you are truly looking to reboot, I really recommend trying a plant-based diet for a few weeks. You will be surprised how your cravings will change, and how healthy you will feel. I was never lactose intolerant, but I can’t believe how much better I now feel after meals. I have lost my craving for sugary sweets–especially during the “witching hour”–that 4:00 p.m. hour when you feel you need an extra boost and turn to the chocolate in your desk drawer.
2. Start an exercise regimen. If you can only spare twenty minutes once a week, start there. You’ll find that once you start, you’ll be hooked and suddenly you’ll find it much easier to set the time aside for exercise. At least, that’s the way it worked for me, and I’m sure it will work this way for you, too.
3. Don’t drink your calories. Instead of pouring a glass of juice or soda, quench your thirst with water. Once you increase your water intake, you’ll find your body craves it over sugary beverages. The extra water will add a glow to your skin, and help you feel less tired.
4. Try eliminating caffeine. I know this sounds painful to many, and it was to me when I first did it (oh, how I used to rely on my morning cuppa!). But I find that now, after months without caffeine, I don’t even miss it. I would often have a slight upset stomach in the mornings when I used to drink coffee and now I never experience that.
5. Practice mindfulnesshttp://www.psychologytoday.com/basics/mindfulness when you can. This just means try and tune into your needs more often, and to enjoy the here and now. Step outside of your office for five minutes and take a look at the sky. Breathe in the air around you. Think about how you are feeling at that moment. Are you content? Thirsty? Tired? Tuning in this way you will help you feel more connected to yourself, and to the world around you.