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. ūüėČ 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!

My Weakest Link with Healthy Living

My Weakest Link

Weaknesses. We all got ’em. And we don’t always like ’em. Am I right?!? So, I talk a lot about healthy living and wellness. It is a wellness blog, after all. But, I also try to make a point that even within healthy living, perfection is NOT the goal.

I think it is important for people to talk about the hard stuff. Let’s take shame out of the equation by¬†opening up and sharing obstacles, barriers, weaknesses, and feelin’ straight up like poo. Yes, I just said poo. I know you feel like it sometimes. I do. Although, do we really know what poo feels like? Probably not. But you get me.

So today with the Dish the Fit link up (thank you The Fit Switch and The Fit Pepper), I am going deep with one of my weakest links with healthy living. Drum roll, please…

STRESS

When I am a little stress cookie, my personality changes. I turn into a little monster. I have a short fuse, feel like the world is crashing down on me, want to be alone, and often eat more than my fair share of sweets. I can easily get into the “all or nothing” mentality during high levels of stress too. Meaning… “Don’t have time for a workout? Fine. I won’t eat healthy either. And add a Root Beer with a side of cookies to that order. Thanks!” Quite frankly, I take a day to not be me. I don’t feel like myself when I am stressed so often cope with ways that are totally outside of who I am.

And you know what? I think it is supposed to happen that way. Eating differently and not having a desire to move¬†are not the issue. They are symptoms. They are my body’s way of telling me… “Hey Bri, you kinda need to do something with this stress. I mean, like, NOW. Deal with it!”

Since I know I turn into a different person when I am stressed out, I see¬†two options to improve this little bad habit of mine. 1) Reduce my stress, especially if I am seeing more of the stress cookie personality than I would like in a given month. We can’t completely eliminate stress, but reducing and managing stress are important. 2) Change the way I feel about stress. Instead of crippling into this different personality, I can take time to truly feel the stress and dissect it. Why am I feeling stressed? What would truly make me feel better? Getting help from someone, changing up a deadline, taking a creativity break, talking it out with someone, etc? Wow, so many options!

Or perhaps a good combo of both options would do me some good.¬†Some things in life are way easier said than done, but are still worth a shot. Again, it’s always about progress and not perfection. I may still have days where the stress cookie shows up. Hopefully I can learn to punch her in the face. But, until then, I know that one day is not going to kill me. Getting up and at ’em that very next day (or in two to three days) is better than giving up the healthy life altogether.

Before I sign off, I have to say one thing… Love yourself, weaknesses and all. That’s way more important than anything else within health and wellness. Loving yourself is the foundation. Moving more, eating right, getting sleep, reducing stress, being financially fit, and all of the above are secondary.

So, now that we are sharing… what about you? What is your weakest link? It’s okay to talk about it. No shame, here!

The-Fit-Dish-Link-Up-dishthefit-1024x1024

I got a massage!

And I want to gift you a massage too. But, we’ll get there.¬†

Treat (1)

First things first, I went to Massage Envy near my house yesterday and had such a relaxing massage. I needed it! I always tell myself to get massages more regularly and then fail to do so. I end up just getting one 2-4 times per year. Ideally, though, I would get a massage twice per month. Am I alone on that?! Didn’t think so.

Massage therapy is an essential part of wellness. Many of us think of massage therapy as a luxury, but it actually is extremely beneficial for the body. Especially if we are regular exercisers.. which we ALL are. Right?!?! ūüėČ Massage therapy helps us reduce muscle tension, pain, and most importantly STRESS. The world is one big stressed out cookie so we can all use more tools to help us relax. So next time your husband or wife tells you that it isn’t in your budget to get a massage, just tell him or her that you need this for your wellness program. It sounds official and hey, who can argue with a wellness program?!

I like deep tissue massages so my massage therapist went deep. My shoulders get so tense and sore from working out, while my neck often gets tense from sitting at a computer for my day job.  I felt instantly better when I walked out that door.

If you are like my mom, you may be uncomfortable with the thought of getting undressed for a massage. But, you only have to undress to your comfort level and no one is in the room while you are changing. You literally undress and get under the covers. Very professional and even if you are modest, it is nothing to be worried about. Trust me, after your first massage you will feel like a pro.

With massage therapy, I think it is important to like your massage therapist and to communicate your needs/expectations before the massage. For instance, if you want lighter pressure or you have an area you do not want touched (like feet.. some people are ticklish), do tell your massage therapist ahead of time. And if you decide you want firmer pressure when he or she gets to your back, just tell them right then. They won’t bite! It is your massage so you should enjoy every moment of it!

While I was at Massage Envy yesterday, I noticed an AWESOME event coming up. Massage Envy Spa DFW and the Arthritis Foundation have joined forces to host the 4th annual Healing Hands for Arthritis, a one-day national event to build awareness and raise funds to fight arthritis. On September 17th, $10 from every one hour massage or facial will be donated to the Arthritis Foundation.

Okay, so now to the giveaway. I am giving away¬†one gift card for a 50 minute massage (valid at DFW Massage Envy Spa locations only). To sign up for the giveaway, you must “like” Massage Envy DFW on facebook¬†and comment below why you need a massage. The winner will be announced on Thursday at 3pm.

I was not compensated for this review, but I was provided a free massage. All opinions are my own.

Cure for the Crabbies

Crabbies

We all get irritated. ¬†We all have our good and bad days. ¬†I love working with people, but sometimes people get to me too. ¬†That’s life. ¬†So, recently, I created my own “cure for the crabbies”.

I have a list of 10 things. ¬†I pick one or two and usually feel better. ¬†If I don’t feel better, I usually just need an attitude adjustment or a hug. ¬†They are in no particular order, but here is my list:

  1. Buy a tea from Starbucks
  2. Go for a 10 minute walk outside
  3. Take a time out & do a guided meditation
  4. Take a bubble bath
  5. Read a reallllllly good magazine article or two (or three)
  6. Text an uplifting friend
  7. Make a card for someone
  8. Turn on music and just dance
  9. Watch a tv show on Bravo or Lifetime
  10. Do a kick-butt, high-intensity workout (like Insanity)

What would your list consist of?

I think it is important to have your own cure for the crabbies, because let’s face it.. the crabbies will strike at some point. ¬†I have to admit that it has been one of those days for me today so I tried #10 out. ¬†Felt much better afterwards and you better believe that I am about to do #5 on my list as well. ¬†Life is good again!