Is Email Stress a Real Thing?

Do YOU have a Screen Addiction-

I read this article the other day called, “Sleep Wellness, Digital Detox and Mindfulness.” It was from WELCOA, a trusted wellness resource in the corporate wellness industry. I learned quite a bit from it so thought I would share a few of the important pieces from it.

Here ye’! Here ye’! (Not really sure why, but felt the urge to say that.)

Lack of quality sleep is a HUGE problem in America and the newest factor to play into this poor quality is America’s collective infatuation (nice way of saying “addiction”) with smart digital wireless devices. And get this, the worst part is the hyper vigilance of social networking, video gaming and non-stop tweets or texts. It is rewiring our brain for stress right before bed when our brain really just wants to relax!

I am sure most of you know, but sleep disorders are often associated with obesity, type 2 diabetes, cancer, and several other chronic diseases. I hear from people all the time trying to lose weight saying they do everything right with physical activity and nutrition. Unfortunately, there are SO MANY MORE factors than those two when it comes to your health. And sleep is one of those factors!

Stress too.

This article mentioned that on average people check emails up to 37 times per HOUR. Yikes! And this doesn’t include text messages. We are over stimulated, my friends! Some people feel the urge to respond immediately to emails, even feeling guilty if they don’t. The terms “techno-stress”, “email stress”, and “screen addiction” were thrown around a little. And after reading these stats, I agree. In general, we have a screen addiction problem in America!

We can blame the brain for this one. 😉 The receipt of emails and tweets is accompanied by the release of Dopamine, the feel good neurotransmitter. This is the same neurotransmitter associated with chemical addictions, or any addiction for that matter.

Keeping the stats going, fewer than half of employees nationwide leave their desk or workstation during their lunch hour. These peeps probably think they are being more productive, but this is really leading to higher stress and fatigue.

The article ended with a blurb about meditation and how it is the VERY thing that we all need to do on a regular basis to counteract these negative effects. Meditation (and it comes in many forms) improves sleep quality, decreases Cortisol levels, decreases chronic pain, increases immune function, decreases blood pressure, increases mental acuity, and improves overall mental well-being.

Damn Sam! You know if that were a pill EVERY SINGLE person would be taking it.

I thought this was a really great statement so am copying it word for word. “Remember, it is the ego that trips the fight or flight response. Mindfulness helps deactivate this switch to non-threatening times.”

I wish corporate wellness programs offered more training and instruction on meditation and mindfulness in the workplace, but we aren’t quite there yet. We still focus a little too much on nutrition and exercise. Everyone gets that eating an apple is better than apple pie and taking a walk is better than sitting on the couch. Hopefully soon we will all move to the more complex. Like meditation and improving sleep!

If you have never considered meditation, I highly encourage you to look into it just a tad. Even deep breathing for 5 minutes in the morning while laying in your bed is better than nothing! You will train that sweet, beautiful brain of yours to stay calm in times of stress. I like to switch things up whether it is a moving meditation (walking outdoors on a lunch break or a little morning yoga), guided meditation on CD, or simply deep breathing followed by a little journaling.

The cool thing about meditation is there is no right or wrong way to do it. And starting is the hardest part! Try it without judgment and see where your mindfulness journey takes you. It just might be magical!

Excellent food-related book

Excellent Food-Related Book

I don’t always post on Sundays, but when I do… it’s because I really have something to share. 🙂

I checked out an excellent food-related book from my library a week or so agao after hearing about this author, Geneen Roth, from a fellow dietitian AND again on the Fearless Rebelle radio podcast. I like to read wellness-related books in between my fiction reads. This one did not disappoint. In fact, I highly recommend it if you have EVER felt weird around food, been overly obsessing about eating healthy lately, or are simply just interested in this line of thinking.

The book is Women Food and God. The first few sentences of the front flap of the book sum it up…

“If you suffer about your relationship with food- you eat too much or  too little, think about what you will eat constantly or try not to think about it at all- you can be free. Just look down at your plate. The answers are there. Don’t run. Look. Because when you welcome what we most want to avoid, we contact the part of ourselves that is fresh and alive. We touch the life we truly want and evoke divinity itself.”

So many women tie self worth to the way their body looks, how “good” they can be on a diet, or the number on the scale. Those things do not define us. It is my hope that more and more women value themselves highly and end the body-hate war. Dieting is not the answer.. it is NEVER the answer. Tuning into oneself is. Mindful living is. Showing up is. Listening is. Oh how I could go on and on.

Before I go, I have to share two other parts of this book that resonated with me. The first is this…

“When I told myself that this time I could eat what I wanted with no strings attached- no threat of a diet on any Monday morning the rest of my life- I headed straight for the foods of my childhood I was never allowed to eat… And as I’ve written before, I was so elated with my resolve to never diet again that I didn’t notice I was bumping around in a sugar haze from eating only raw and cooked chocolate-chip cookies. I needed to prove to myself that what I wanted most was not forbidden, but what I didn’t understand was that I didn’t want the cookies; I wanted the way being allowed to have them made me feel: welcomed, deserving, adored.”

Many of us have been there in some form or fashion. Eating habits can often be a symptom. If we can look inward, we can find out what it is we really need. She figured out that she needed to feel welcomed, deserving, and adored. Once she realized that, she didn’t need the cookies to make her feel this way. Another great point on the same page she says.. “We don’t want to eat hot fudge sundaes as much as we want our lives to be hot fudge sundaes.” SO stinkin’ true!!!!!!

The second part was close to the end. It goes a little something like this…

“The more you pay attention, the more you fall in love with that which is not obsessed: that which is blazing itself through you. The life force that animates your body. Food becomes a way to sustain that blaze, and any way of eating that keeps you depressed or spaced out or uncomfortable loses its appeal.”

Just so good, right? Geneen Roth knows what she is talking about. I love finding other like-minded professionals in the wellness world. The world is full of strict do’s and don’ts but life is not about that and we don’t have to follow. Light your own spark.. carve your own path. Even in regards to health and wellness.

Happy Sunday, friends!

Movement… you’ll never regret it!

Empower Day 18

It is day 18 of my 30 Days of Yoga Empower challenge through Yoga with Adriene. Instead of simply providing an update of how I am doing thus far (but I AM doing fantastic, thanks for asking!), I am devoting this post to movement.

Movement… as in another word for physical activity or exercise that sounds less intimidating.

One thing I have learned about myself over the years is that to get and stay healthy, I have to develop habits over time. Good habits. I like to think other humans work the same. So, perhaps you have found that developing habits over time works for you too (as opposed to the “change everything all at once and then give up in defeat after 4 days” mentality).

Yoga is movement. But so is running, walking, Crossfit, PiYo, Pure Barre, Insanity, Zumba, dance, tennis, and so on. When I truly listen to my body and what it needs, often I am drawn to a certain form of movement that day. Now, I developed this habit over time. When I first started getting active and formally “working out”,  I just had to get into some sort of routine first. And to be honest, I actually loved elliptical machines. I despise them now. But, they helped me develop the regular habit of movement.

Movement is active medicine for your body. It can be free (or relatively inexpensive even if you pay for a gym membership) and really does provide you with more energy and gets those “feel good” hormones activated. Movement is simply something that you’ll never regret! Find different forms of movement that work for you. That you can find delight in, even if it is just a tad bit of it.. come on, you know that doing punches in a kickboxing class makes you feel like you just beat up your old micromanaging boss! 😉

So how does this post on movement even relate to me doing more yoga? Well, yoga helps me be more mindful. And that is a habit I am currently developing. I am working on finding what feels good and using my mind/body connection as a guide. It’s okay if I don’t want to run a marathon today (or ever, really) and it’s also okay if I planned to do yoga, but chose to go for a walk instead. Movement of any kind can provide mind, body, and spiritual benefits.. if you allow it.

With that, I wish you more days of movement! What’s your FAVORITE way to move?

 

Empower Day 3

Empower day 3

 It was day 3 of Empower today. I did my yoga sesh first thing in the morning. In order to get the “full experience,” I set an intention before each practice. Not only because Adriene tells me to, but also because I like it. I am digging it. It gives purpose to little things throughout the rest of my day.

So with that, today’s intention was “Listen.” I know, it’s simple. But sometimes the simplest things bring the biggest joy in life. And today was no different. I did the following…

  • Listened to the rain as I went through my 45 minutes of yoga. It was peaceful.
  • Listened to my cat as she purred while attempting to do a few yoga poses with me (including one of her favorites in the pic above- corpse pose). It was entertaining.
  • Listened to my breath as I moved through each pose. It was calming.
  • Listened to my body as it told me to back down a bit or go a little deeper into a pose. It was reflective.

The above was during my yoga, but I also kept listening throughout the rest of my day. I had a deep desire later in the day to go for a quick 30-minute run. Why would I ever want to run, you ask? Good question. I don’t always want to run, but I do love running when I get the urge to, especially post-rain. I love taking in the fragrance of fresh rainwater. I love the break from 100 degree weather in Texas. I love connecting spiritually with nature and God. And I do love the way I feel after a good dose of cardio. Blame it on the endorphins!

I had a day where nothing was officially planned (except for my job, of course) and I literally got to check in with myself and listen to what I really wanted or needed right then and there. I want more days like today. I get it that it is not always possible to be spontaneous, but heck, we sure need to enjoy it when we do get to be. There are joys in the busy and there are joys in the calm. We just have to appreciate those joys. And often it is about finding purpose in what you are doing in the moment.

Here’s to being more in the moment. Namaste, friends!