Our physical, mental, emotional and financial well-being are all interconnected. To be healthy financially, we must be physically, mentally, and emotionally sharp. Our wealth means far less if we don’t have our health.
Financial problems cause stress, and stress can damage our health. Likewise, high stress and poor health can damage our financial situation. Therefore, in order to be at our best, we must give the proper time and attention to our health. Unfortunately, we don’t always devote enough time restoring and strengthening this aspect of our life.
Stress is a part of life. We all react to and recover from it differently. Yet, not all stress is bad. Stress can be an important survival mechanism that is triggered when we face a treacherous situation (e.g. our pulse quickens, muscles tense). However, chronic stress, related to the daily pressures of work, or family, or a sudden negative change, can carry significant physical and mental health risks.
It is all about maintaining a healthy balance between work and play, rest and recovery. Attention to diet, exercise, sleep, and other healthy habits must be part of our daily lives to manage stress. Walking, exercise, massages, dietary changes, connecting with friends and family, are just some of the many self-help techniques for managing and reducing stress. Two increasingly popular ways to relax and unwind today are yoga and coloring books.
Yoga is a combination of physical, spiritual, and mental disciplines designed to control the body and mind. It is a total mind-body workout that combines strengthening and stretching poses with deep breathing, meditation, and relaxation techniques.
Millions of people practice yoga worldwide; if you are not one of them maybe you could give it a try. Surveys show that 28% of all Americans have participated in a yoga class and the number of American yoga practitioners has increased to over 36 million in 2016, up from 20.4 million in 2012.
There are many different forms of yoga that can be enjoyed alone or in a class. Yoga is not meant to be intimidating, even for a complete beginner. This low impact and non-competitive form of exercise is accessible to almost everyone regardless of age, background, fitness level, or budget. Yoga studios or videos enable beginners to learn the basic poses and more advanced practitioners the opportunity to grow.
The physical postures of yoga can have powerful health benefits such as improved strength, muscle tone, increased flexibility, weight loss, and improved balance. In addition, yoga can be a powerful stress reliever, reduce blood pressure and muscle tension, and improve the quality of sleep for its followers.
Not all stress management pursuits require you to run around and break a sweat or find your inner yogi.
A simple hobby can increase personal calm and satisfaction. Even reconnecting to a favorite childhood activity can help manage stress.
There has been a huge resurgence in the popularity of coloring books for adults. According to Nielsen Bookscan, sales of coloring books for adults soared to 12 million copies in 2015 (up from 1 million units just one year earlier). The idea of focusing on the simple task of coloring has proven to be calming for people of all ages. It allows our brains to have the sensation of accomplishment without the burden of stress or outside pressure. Anecdotally, we have heard many reports of a shortage of colored pencils because of this trend. Craft and art supply stores are frequently sold out of these now popular items.
Whether its yoga, coloring, or a different activity all together, it’s good to find some time to unwind from the pressures of work, family and other stress producers.
For all of you sweet tooth readers, stressed is just desserts spelled backwards. We chuckle at this coincidence and personally believe every now and then that can be one way to deal with stress, but only in moderation!