MGU 53 | Stress Management

 

Humans in modern society are surrounded by a constant barrage of stress, which only increases the urgency of proper stress management to deal with everything going on. Stress Awareness Month is a good time to look back at the different ways in which stress comes into your life, as well as how you cope with stress. Jason Wrobel and Whitney Lauritsen dive into some stress management tips you can take advantage of this Stress Awareness Month. It’s natural and absolutely okay to feel stressed, but you do need to find healthy coping mechanisms. Let Jason and Whitney assist you in your search!

Listen to the podcast here:

Keeping Stress And Anxiety In Check

I planned the subject matter for this episode a while back and it feels very timely, even though I couldn’t have possibly predicted how timely this would be. It’s also interesting because our topic is about Stress Awareness Month, which happens every April and this feels like a lot of stress in 2020, given that we are dealing with a pandemic, a world health crisis.

Someone missed the memo in April and decided to start Stress Awareness Month in March because it has been quite an interesting emotional and spiritual roller coaster, to say the least.

First, let’s begin talking about what Stress Awareness Month is. We can share how we’ve been managing our stress, tips on why people are feeling stressed, and whatever we want to dive into.

It’s been interesting, not just a day-to-day experience, but a moment-to-moment inventory of my emotional state. It’s interesting to notice how we are responding moment-to-moment rather than thinking we need to be a certain way or stay positive or stay up. In terms of managing stress, a huge component of that is being present to the emotions we’re facing moment-to-moment.

I pulled up StressAwarenessMonth.com. It’s not the greatest website but it’s interesting. Maybe they’re still working on it because it’s like one blog post on here. I’ll read this anyway. Maybe it will be useful. I pulled up a bunch of websites. As usual, we don’t like to over-prepare because we want to keep everything very organic.

We also like to make ourselves extremely uncomfortable as your hosts. By diving into subject matter that we haven’t necessarily prepared, we also get to be uncomfortable in real-time with you. We’ve got to practice what we preach.

Part of that is I feel like there can be stress in preparation. Sometimes trying to prepare for something causes a lot of unnecessary stress. Part of the reason that we don’t overly prepare is to reduce our own stress and make it feel less structured. I personally don’t like an overly structured conversation. I prefer the flow and feel conversational and off the cuff. According to StressAwarenessMonth.com, it’s an annual 30-day period where health care professionals and health promotion experts, I guess we could call ourselves health promotion experts.

It sounds so clunky, “I’m Jason and this is Whitney. We are health promotion experts.” It’s not something I would put on a business card.

That’s basically what we are though. Let’s be honest.

Careful of the word experts. Remember the previous episode?

Stress Awareness Month is sponsored by a non-profit health organization. It’s a national cooperative effort to inform people about the dangers of stress, give them successful coping strategies and address harmful misconceptions about stress that are prevalent in our society. “We still have a long way to go,” says the doctor that they interviewed for this. We are working collectively and helping millions of Americans eliminate their suffering, which is a big mission of ours with Wellevatr is to reduce unnecessary suffering. A lot of suffering is unnecessary. We are big advocates for finding as much peace as possible, mentally, emotionally and physically. I’m excited to dive into this and it’s incredibly important to talk about. Jason and I have been working on some new resources for you, which you will find at Wellevatr.com. What is the title of our new resource, Jason? You came up with it and I liked it.

It’s “From Chaos to Calm”.

I did find out it’s the title of a few books.

A huge component of managing stress is being present to the emotions we're facing. Click To Tweet

I could go on a rant about how nothing’s original but I won’t. I’ll save that for another episode. The whole thing though is chaos seems to be the word that I’m seeing thrown around a lot. The words chaos, uncertainty, anxiety, and stress seem to be, not buzzwords, but I keep reading more and more articles from mental health professionals, psychotherapists, and wellness coaches. How do we navigate times of chaos in our life? This time on the planet is one of the worldwide chaos it seems. I believe that the practices certainly that Whitney and I use in our own lives and that we’ve helped share with other people can be applied to any time of chaos in your life, not necessarily just a worldwide pandemic. That would be a little bit weird, “We have a course for a worldwide pandemic. When the next one comes in fifteen years, you’ll have a course ready for you.” It’s not that specific. Whatever resources that Whitney and I are sharing with you, we always endeavor to have the meditations, the practices, the mindfulness techniques and the health resources we share to be applicable at any time you’re feeling stressed, anxious or chaotic in your life.

We’re going to offer up some tips and have a conversation about this as we always do. I hold up a good article on Forbes.com and maybe we’ll include some of these tips in the eBook that we’re working on. This is from a contributor to Forbes named Bryan Robinson. He offers up ten micro-chillers to celebrate stress awareness month. I like that term, Micro Chillers. He’s saying that five minutes of chill is very important and that can help. It says that studies have shown that five minutes of chill a day has mental and physical benefits keeping you centered, calm and clear-minded. You will have better sleep, increased immunity, lower blood pressure, improved digestion, and increased emotional well-being.

This is interesting because you certainly heard of max, relax or chillax. These are colloquialisms in our society but I’ve never heard of micro before. This is fascinating.

The number one tip from Bryan is to remember to HALT. When stress takes hold, stop and ask yourself if you are hungry, angry, lonely or tired. That’s a good tip.

It’s self-inquiry. Can you become present to what it is that you’re wanting at that moment?

I feel like being hungry can definitely cause stress. Jason has a tendency to get hangry.

I do, blood sugar drops and the villagers start scattering.

When stress takes hold, ask yourself if you are angry. There’s a difference between being hangry and angry. It’s separating hunger from anger. What would you be angry at that’s causing you stress? It’s always good to reflect on it.

It may or may not be food. It’s always important to identify.

It’s like crossing this out. If you rule out that being hungry is causing your anger, what else could cause you to feel angry? It’s interesting when you think about anger. That’s not an emotion that I feel often if I peel back the layers because I like to get specific when I feel angry. A lot of the time it’ll be feeling resentful or triggered by something, some old emotion. I don’t experience that much anger but Jason, you certainly do. You talk about that very openly. When you peel back the layers, what is behind your anger?

This is an important opportunity to make a distinction because sometimes I’m just frustrated or annoyed and not necessarily angry. There’s a difference between frustration, annoyance, and anger. It’s levels of emotional charge or emotional intensity behind those things. I feel frustration and annoyance or allow myself to be more honest about it. It’s not an automatic thing. I’m allowing myself to be frustrated and allowing myself to be annoyed but genuine anger is a lot rarer for me.

It’s like the word busy. People throw around the word “I’m angry.” If you stop to think about it, you can often find that anger is this blanket statement.

It’s almost like busy or even love. It’s this all-encompassing giant word that people are trying to use to describe the nuances of many different kinds of emotions. To your point, people throw around, “I’m angry, I’m busy, I love this thing.” People love their dog, cat, car, brand-new stainless-steel trashcan from Bed Bath & Beyond. It’s too general.

MGU 53 | Stress Management

Stress Management: Studies have shown that five minutes of chill a day has mental and physical benefits keeping you centered, calm and clear-minded.

 

Did you get a new trashcan? Why did you bring that up?

I’m in the kitchen and right next to me is a bulldog and a stainless-steel trashcan from Bed Bath & Beyond. Do I love my bulldog the same way I love my stainless-steel trashcan? Of course not. There are different gradations and levels of intensity and focus on those kinds of love. It can’t be the same. Anger is a little bit the same, being frustrated, irate, annoyed, angry. It’s an opportunity for us as people to be more intentional and accurate with how we use language.

As important as it is to be clear about our feelings of love, it’s also important for us to become aware that what we’re feeling is fear. A lot of spiritual leaders say that life can be summarized in feelings of love and feelings of fear. That has helped me out a lot because I can almost summarize most of my experiences of feeling love or feeling fear. I feel like that must be the root of a lot of anger. The next part of HALT according to this author is loneliness. That’s another thing that I hear you talk a lot about, Jason. It’s so interesting how some of these themes come up in our lives a lot.

That’s one of the things I like about our dynamic as friends and business partners. Seeing what other people go through on a deep level and for you, Jason. I noticed that you talk about loneliness quite frequently, but you’re in a period where you’re less lonely or is it not? Maybe it’s a good time for me to ask you this. I’m going to put you on the spot to get a little uncomfortable. In one of our most popular episodes has been one where you were talking about being single. Since we did that episode, you have been dating somebody for a few weeks or something. It’s interesting how we haven’t addressed this new person in your life. I’m curious, do you still feel you’re lonely even when you’re dating somebody?

Let’s make it extra timely. If you’re reading this during or shortly after COVID-19, this big world health crisis, a lot of people have been experiencing loneliness because of the physical distancing that’s happening. A lot of people are self-isolating or in quarantine. They’re being forced to in some cases. Maybe they’re sick or maybe they’re trying to prevent getting sick. It’s resulted in a lot of people spending time with themselves. If they’re not with their family or they don’t have a roommate or they don’t have a romantic partner that they live with, a lot of people are completely by themselves. That loneliness is a huge factor. Imagine the amount of stress that people are experiencing. They’re already feeling maybe that fear and the uncertainty. They’re also coming up against a lot of loneliness. With that said, Jason, since we are in the midst of this and you’ve been developing this relationship as this pandemic has been evolving. I’m curious, what has been your experience? Coming down to it, do you still feel lonely even when you’re in a romantic relationship of some sort?

I have not been feeling lonely. I feel like I need to give reasons perhaps. I don’t know that I can. I don’t know that’s me not feeling lonely as a result of me dating someone new or being in a new relationship necessarily. If I’m tracking my feelings of loneliness and we’ve mentioned this episode many times, the two-part Ayahuasca journey that we shared. There was something that pivoted in me after I had my Ayahuasca journey. I remember telling you about this Whitney. When I started dating again late in 2019, there was this tendency that I observed in myself previously to try and wow people or win their love or win their affection.

I talk at length about that subconscious mechanism in the Ayahuasca episodes. As part of a larger conversation, I haven’t felt as lonely since the late fall of 2019 and the medicine journey and a lot of the work I’ve been doing on myself has decreased those feelings of loneliness. I haven’t felt lonely the way that I used to. What I have been feeling though was a lot of anxiety. I don’t know if the loneliness has been replaced by anxiety per se but if there was an overwhelming emotion that I feel like I need to be looking at, it’s anxiety. I don’t feel so lonely. I do feel a tremendous amount of anxiety.

That’s interesting especially as we’ve been developing this new PDF, which is also part of a program that Jason and I are working on. What that’s taken is an opportunity for each of us to reflect on our experiences with anxiety. It’s so important to discuss. Would you say that you could put your anxiety into any of these categories? We’ve got those two overarching categories of love versus fear. In my opinion. If you had to put anxiety into a category, it would go into fear. Would you agree with that?

Absolutely, and specific fears. In a general sense, of course, in the fear category. There were very specific thought forms and beliefs that are feeding that fear.

We have these four categories that we talked about. We haven’t discussed the fourth one yet but in this article that I’m reading on Forbes.com, this HALT, Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired. It’s interesting too if those are some of the micro-categories, I wonder if anxiety could be relieved with asking yourself like, “Are your basic needs being met, first and foremost?” Hunger is a basic need and that’s come up a lot for people. You look at where some of the major sources of chaos were stemming from and it was surrounding food in this pandemic. People were going to the grocery store and it’s still happening. There was so much fear and anxiety when it came to anything food-related, whether it was purchasing food or it was dealing with the aftermath of eating and using toilet paper. It’s interesting how the number one focus for people for a while and still going on is, “Do I have enough food? Is food going to run out?” They’re going to the store and stockpiling all this food. That was a big source of stress and anxiety for people.

Overall, what I’m observing and my belief is that this crisis is activating a deep, primal fight or flight response for a lot of people in wanting to make sure that their most basic needs are covered. There’s a part of our brain, I believe it’s in the amygdala but don’t quote me on that. I’m not a neuroscientist, but a part of our brain that’s very ancient, reptilian and primal that when we are in times of perceived crisis, cortisol and adrenaline goes up. We may not make the most rational or conscious decisions like buying 50 cases of toilet paper, which I saw an article that Costco is refusing to take returns on toilet paper. Anybody who’s got a stockpile, they are not taking returns at Costco.

Hopefully, they’ll be able to donate it, give it to people or sell it perhaps. There are a lot of things that you could do beyond having to return it to the store. It is interesting as a little side note and tangent to see how stores have been reacting. There’s a huge shift happening. I don’t know if it’s a temporary shift or a long-term shift. Some of it will be one or the other. I went to the grocery store and they’re not taking any returns. They can’t because they don’t want you bringing things that you’ve had at home back into the store. That’s an interesting situation. Some people may not even realize that you can return food to a grocery store if you don’t like something. If it’s gone bad or if something’s wrong with it, you can go back and get a refund instead of throwing it out and wasting your money.

The grocery stores are changing every single day. The stores are threatening to strike. The workers are upset with the situations. You go into a grocery store and they’re limiting how many people can go in there. It’s changed so much and then people are promoting the importance of growing your own food and supporting direct farmers. It’s challenging or bringing more awareness to our food system. Not to mention where this whole pandemic came from. I watched a great video that traces back to the Wuhan wet markets. It’s disturbing for me to watch that as a vegan because you see what conditions these animals are living in, and then ultimately being sold for food.

Go on a walk around your neighborhood and keep an eye out for plants that have free fruit. Click To Tweet

It’s important for us to think about where our food is coming from. If you are feeling stress and anxiety around your food, rethinking how can you shift that? First, it might be a financial concern like, “Food is expensive.” We have lots of resources. I put out an eBook called Healthy Organic Vegan on a Budget that goes into lots of different advice on how to eat well without spending a lot of money. Jason was in a video that I did around that same time. That was in 2013 when we made this video. That was one of my favorite collaborations that we have ever done. If you haven’t seen it yet, it’s on YouTube. It was called Extreme [Healthy Vegan] Cheapskates.

It was a play on a show called Extreme Cheapskates. We wanted to integrate the word vegan into that title and it did pretty well on YouTube and it’s fun. It was like a parody. We got some other vegan friends of ours. We did a one-week challenge where Jason and I were challenged to eat for under $5 a day every day for a week. We went up against another vegan couple to see who could spend the least amount of money on food. It was fun and it was a great opportunity to see how to shop differently and eat differently. It taught me a lot. I used a lot of what I learned from that for my eBook, Healthy, Organic Vegan On A Budget.

That can be a big source of stress but as a little tip here, food doesn’t have to be stressful. Sometimes you have to rethink it. During these times where scarcity might be a big fear, you can do things like purchasing more food and stockpiling as long as you’re considerate of other people. That was a huge issue. People were going in the store and loading up without realizing that they may be taking food away from other people. The grocery store had to react by limiting. I went to the store called Sprouts and every single item in the store had a limit of you could only buy two of each item.

Everything, even supplements and protein. 

I thought that was smart because a little bit before that, stores were only limiting certain things. They were limiting toilet paper purchases and pasta and shelf-stable foods, but there were other foods in the store that they weren’t limiting. I think some stores reacted by saying, “We don’t want anybody to hoard any food.” Certainly, you could do multiple shopping trips and get more food that way, but it slows down the process of hoarding. Mindful hoarding and stockpiling is key here too. It’s considering the ripple effect that we’re all in this together and remembering that there are creative ways to support one another. I’ve seen some amazing things on TikTok, which is one of my favorite platforms for staying informed about what people are doing around the world. People have been baking bread for one another.

They’re sealing them up in bags and distributing them on bikes around their neighborhoods. People have been sharing fruit with one another from their fruit trees and getting creative. It’s beautiful to see how we’re going back to our roots as civilization. Back in the day when people used to grow food in their gardens and share it with their communities. We can start doing that again. That will reduce a lot of stress. One of the biggest ways to reduce stress and anxiety is to have more connections with your community. Why not do that when it comes to food? We cook food for people when they’re sick, pregnant or when they have lost a loved one. It’s important for us to find creative ways to do that. It’s a little bit more complicated given that we’re afraid to interact with one another. We have to find very sanitary ways to share food.

One of the best sites I’m actually on, I joined a few months ago, is Nextdoor. The Nextdoor app is a way for people in your immediate local community to share resources. One of the top posts here in my neighborhood in Los Angeles was someone offering free fruit. They said, “We’ve got a bunch of fruit trees. We’ll have it clean and sealed in plastic bags, which is not the most eco-friendly but under the circumstances, we’re doing the best we can.” They said, “Come on by and we’ll have it inside the front gate. If you want to take a bag of fruit, just go ahead.” I thought that was so considerate and so sweet.

I believe it was maybe even walking distance. I have to check the address again. What you’re saying Whitney of the self-reliance and the community sharing and the bartering system that isn’t even relying on money or cash or financial transaction, it’s so wonderful. We see that at things like Burning Man and a lot of the festivals not exchanging actual money but people bartering and sharing goods and services. If we get back to that, that’s one way that we could allay a lot of the financial anxieties that seem to be weighing on a lot of people.

I thought you were going to bring up one of the websites that you can use to find our forage produce. I pulled up one of them. I don’t know if this is the one that I had in mind, but this is certainly a good one that’s been around for years and at fingers crossed, it’s still updated. It’s called FallingFruit.org.

That’s the best. I’ve used it when I have taken road trips to the Pacific Northwest and different States in the past before you and I met. I remember going up to Oregon and going to Portland and foraging for food in Portland back in 2009. It’s a cool website.

This is the one that was off in my head. I’m looking to see what’s in the neighborhood. The very first one I clicked on was for a local grocery store and it says, “Dumpster (edible)” and it lists a grocery store that has a huge score of fresh produce year-round. I don’t know when this was listed because you can go in here and see when people added this. This was added in 2015. Who knows if it’s still accurate but that’s for people that are okay with dumpster diving? I don’t know if this is a good time to go dumpster diving. Is that something you’ve ever done or would do, Jason?

I have done it.

When did you do it and why?

MGU 53 | Stress Management

Stress Management:With our basic human needs being huge points of stress, when we feel like we can’t meet our needs or there’s scarcity, it can be incredibly stressful.

 

I did it because there was a documentary that came out. This was maybe back in 2012. It was a documentary about food waste and dumpster diving. I also had a bit of inside information here because I used to work at Trader Joe’s many years ago in Metro Detroit. Trader Joe’s has a corporate policy of donating a lot of food to local food banks. I remember working at there and packing up a lot of the food for the food banks. We also would throw away, depending on certain criteria, perfectly good and edible food in the dumpsters. I remember going to Trader Joe’s on the West Side. They had perfectly good food like loaves of bread that were maybe a day old in the dumpster. It’s perfectly packaged, not slimy and gross. I know maybe the readers are like, “You went dumpster diving.” I did it once as an experiment and honestly, there was shockingly good perfectly fine and safe stuff that had gotten thrown away.

It’s interesting especially. It’s probably going to shift a lot, not in whether people are doing it, but I wonder if they’re going to start locking their dumpsters. I know some stores do that. It’s possible that a lot of those things will change. Luckily, there are still lots of trees and plants around your neighborhood where you can legally or ask your neighbors if you can take from them. In the neighborhood I’m looking at, there’s a banana tree, apparently. I don’t know how up to date this is but you can go on here. At the very least, you can go on a nice little walk around your neighborhood and keep an eye out for plants that may have some free fruit or various other edibles on them. There are fig trees in this neighborhood.

There are some other websites. If you find any, our dear readers, let us know what are your favorite sources for things like foraging or sharing with your neighbor. That’s an important conversation to have because the topic here is stress and anxiety. With our basic human needs being huge points of stress. When we feel like we’re not going to get our needs met or there’s scarcity, it can be incredibly stressful. It can bring up lots of fears, anxiety and depression. If you can tap into the power of your local community, you can not only get your needs met on a physical level, but you can also get your emotional needs met in a way that you might not have thought of before.

I also think that one major overarching issue and this is related to stress and anxiety, and it’s so interesting that we are all sequestered and isolated. Whereas Whitney and I have talked at length about how the usage of social media and digital technology can be a thing that brings us closer together, which we’re experiencing with FaceTiming people, doing Zooms, doing Skype calls and keeping in touch with the people we love because we can’t physically be around a lot of them. It’s also highlighting how necessary it is for our mental and physical health to be in community with each other. One of the biggest things that I miss is the social bonding with other people, with groups of humans, going out to have a great meal together and breaking bread or going to see a concert together. Even meeting with a few friends for a hike. The thing I’m reflecting on in terms of mental health, stress and anxiety is how the physical connection with the community and with human beings is so essential for our health on many levels. That’s become so clear. It was always clear but it seems to have been magnified by this situation and this crisis even more so.

We take these things for granted very often. That’s one of the benefits of this time that we’re in. We get to reflect on things that we took as normal like, “Of course, I get to go to the movies. Of course, we can go to dinner anytime.” I was thinking about that. There’s one friend in particular who had been inviting me to go out to dinner and I kept postponing it like, “I can do that anytime.” This person lives nearby. I realized I don’t know when I’m going to be able to see this person again aside from going and waving at them. Maybe I could take a walk with them, but we have to stay six feet apart and we’re not supposed to be interacting at all.

Who knew that this was going to happen? We haven’t experienced this in our lifetimes and very few people have. It’s a good opportunity to go, “We can’t take any time for granted.” We need to be incredibly present to every moment that we get to experience with somebody. I feel grateful every time my parents call me. Even though I’m not seeing them, I want to talk to them more than ever. A lot of the time, we don’t learn these lessons until somebody passes away. In a way, as long as we’re all healthy, we should be feeling grateful for this opportunity to reflect on our relationships and those dynamics.

I agree with that. I also think it’s a wonderful opportunity to go back to this topic of stress management. Any attendant related emotions like anxiety or at the root of it, fear. If you, the reader, are the type of person who feels comforted or soothed by physical contact, we go back to the book, The 5 Love Languages. It’s such a seminal thing in terms of how we like to receive love. Going back to the part where we talked about loneliness, if I wasn’t in a relationship and didn’t have physical touch, it would be incredibly hard for me because I thrive on that. I feel comforted by it. I feel like it decreases cortisol and adrenaline, all the stress hormones that can lower our immunity and be so detrimental to our health.

It’s a good time to learn how to self-soothe in the sense of what techniques, what meditations and what somatic practices, meaning how do we interact with the physical body and where we store emotion, trauma or fear? How do we learn the tools to work with that? It’s such an important time for people who are isolated and who do thrive on physical touch and don’t have it. How do we learn these practices to reduce our anxiety and fear when maybe we’ve relied on the physical connection with others to manage that before?

There are some good tips on that from the book, The 5 Love Languages and in the online resources that Dr. Gary Chapman includes on his website related to all of that. He had some tips for people who have their primary love language as you do of physical touch. If you’re not familiar with this book, it’s one of those must-read books. The reason that this came up in the book or on his website, Dr. Chapman talks about how if you are in a long-distance relationship and you have this primary love language of physical touch, how do you get it? He has all these pieces of advice for how to create it within yourself and self-soothe and give yourself the next best thing.

It sounds strange but we certainly can touch ourselves in intimate ways, but also simple things like maybe getting a massage. We might not be able to do that. Perhaps this is a good time to get one of those hand-held massage devices. You can think about that in a couple of different levels. We’ll leave it at that. I don’t remember all the advice at the top of my head. We’ll link to the book about how to get a physical touch when you’re in a long-distance relationship as some people may find themselves in that. It depends on how seriously you’re taking the physical distancing. Some people may not be seeing their loved ones as a result. They need to find other ways to connect with one another physically and emotionally.

On a very simple pragmatic level, one of the biggest things that I’ve found so beneficial for self-soothing and calming myself in moments of stress or anxiety is to identify. For me, I’ve identified that I somatically carry stress in my body, mostly in my gut, my stomach area and my heart. For the readers, if you can identify where these centers of concentrated stress, anxiety or fear if you close your eyes and start breathing and feel into it, you can generally feel that it’s clustered or concentrated in different areas. Simply rubbing your hands together, getting your hands warm and putting your hands on those areas of your body, closing your eyes and breathing deeply is a very simple soothing way to bring yourself back into a state of homeostasis and start to alleviate that anxiety. Putting your hand on where the stress or anxiety is, closing your eyes and breathing into that area is a wonderful way to do a somatic releasing experience.

It’s like you are reading the article on Forbes.com because that was tip number two, to breathe from your abdomen. It is such a powerful tool to reduce stress by taking those deep breaths. The author of this article said, “When stress steals your breath, take a few deep abdominal breaths through your nose. Hold it while you count to six, then purse your lips and exhale slowly through them. Your body can’t maintain the same level of stress with the extra oxygen you get in your bloodstream when you breathe from your abdomen.” This is a very well written article. I wanted to finish up his tips about HALT. We talked about being hungry, being angry, being lonely. The fourth one is being tired. This is an important thing to focus on. It’s interesting, a lot of people feel like they don’t get enough sleep because of their work. They’re leaving for work. They have to get up at a certain time. They don’t get home. They’ve been at work all day, so they’re tired. Maybe they’re lounging around watching TV or something.

That can exhaust you on a number of levels. One is that you’re literally not getting enough sleep. Many people aren’t. They’re kept up by obligations at home, their family or need to accomplish certain things. Maybe their job is having them work long hours or work at home and that sort of thing. Some people are feeling stressed out that they can’t even sleep. They’re feeling so much anxiety that they can’t sleep. Some people don’t prioritize exercise. Exercise plays a big role in not only getting enough sleep but rejuvenating your body. It’s fascinating where people are self-isolating and physical distancing because a lot of people are not going to work. We have this opportunity to shift our schedules and our routines a little bit and allow ourselves time for naps or time to get more sleep. On the other hand, if you are feeling more stressed and anxious, that might be getting in the way of getting a lot of rest. Are you tired? Is being tired causing you stress? Is stress causing you to feel more tired? It can be this chicken or the egg type of scenario.

Overly strict self-imposed rules can lead to pressure, frustration and anxiety. Click To Tweet

It becomes like the Ouroboros, the snake eating its tail like, “I’m stressed, I’m tired.” It becomes this self-perpetuating mechanism. The breathing techniques are one thing that I have certainly relied on and also paying attention to my nutrition. There’s a way to eat for better sleep. To go on a mini-rant for a second, things like taking magnesium every single day helps to calm the central nervous system. Having things like tart cherry juice helps the body secrete more melatonin, which is one of the primary sleep neuro-transmitters. Using blackout shades. Whitney and I love the Swanwick blue-blocking glasses, unplugging your Wi-Fi before bedtime and using a weighted blanket. There’s a lot of sleep hacks that we believe in. You can do all the sleep hacks in the world, but if you’re stressed and anxious all the time, it’s not necessarily going to mitigate all of that cortisol and adrenaline that you’re feeling all of the time.

We could make this a very long episode talking to them about all different elements of stress and anxiety tips. That’s why we have a PDF for you, which you can download. That will be at Wellevatr.com. We’ll go further into depth about our personal experiences with anxiety and share some best practices that we’ve learned along the way. I wanted to bring up a few more things as we wrap up this episode. I liked this tip from that article on the Forbes.com which is don’t musterbate. What do you think that means?

It’s like when people say don’t should on me. It’s like the have-tos, the should or the musts. That’s so creative though. Don’t musterbate. That’s amazing.

I’ve become a fan of this Bryan Robinson guy. I’m not familiar with his work based on his name. He is a good writer and has lots of good terms such as micro-chillers. Musterbate is to remove words like must, should, ought and have to from your self-talk. These self-imposed rules can feel oppressive and lead to pressure, frustration, and anxiety. We’re going to put our own version of this tip in our PDF because that’s true. If you were to replace those oppressive words with more empowering and compassionate language like I can, I want to or I plan to, you will experience less stress. I’m a big advocate for that. I’m not a fan of words like busy or even words like angry. It’s so much more effective to either find more positive, empowering and compassionate language, but also to get very clear and specific with your words and not make them fluff.

Another thing too is to be mindful in times like the one we’re in with this quarantine and this pandemic that we don’t succumb to the shoulds and ought-tos and musts of people telling us to make the most of this time. Whitney and I’ve talked about this a little bit on social media. We’ve talked with one another. I certainly have been feeling and allowing myself to feel an inordinate amount of pressure. One of the posts I saw the other day was like, “What resulted from the black plague was the Renaissance because everyone was holed up writing these amazing pieces of artwork, theater and stuff.” I’ve been feeling all of this pressure from outside sources of like, “You should finish your album, do this thing, write a new comedy special and translate ancient Latin scripts.” It feels like an offshoot. I’m sure people have the best of intentions but what you’re saying Whitney with this article of the shoulds, ought-tos and musts, it feels like a little bit of that is wrapped up in it.

I am guilty as charged because I shared one of those posts. I perhaps added to you feeling some stress and pressure, Jason. It’s always interesting when somebody gives you a different perspective. It’s also a great opportunity for us to be compassionate for other people with what they share. When I shared that post and I don’t know if this is the one that you were directly referring to, but I saw something like that and I was inspired by it. I also can relate to what you’re feeling because I too see posts like, “Use this time to be more productive.” That’s wonderful advice. I understand why people are saying that. We shouldn’t be sitting around talking about how bored we are as some people are saying.

I know some of my friends, their schedules are filled more than usual. I certainly am not experiencing that. Sometimes I have these moments of comparison. One of my friends is hard to get in touch with. She is working on something every single moment of the day. Here I am with a completely open schedule. The only thing that I’ve been doing is podcasting, which is wonderful. That only takes up a few hours a week, and then working on these projects. I can do those whenever I want. Most of my days are wide open and there have been moments where I’ve judged myself and thought like, “Maybe I’m not being productive enough.” I have to examine my life and it’s important for each of us to be tuned-in to our specific needs, desires, and situations.

For example, I was feeling drained, speaking of tired. I didn’t know why I was tired. I had gotten plenty of sleep. Something that I’ve experienced a lot over the past few weeks is this bizarre drained feeling. The only thing I can pinpoint it on is it’s an emotional reaction to what’s going on. There are many feelings coming up for me. I’m reading a lot of people talking about stress and anxiety. That’s exactly why Jason and I had been working on this anxiety project, that free PDF we’ve been referencing and a whole program we’re developing about helping people with their anxiety. That is coming out of this struggle that we see many people are going through and that we’re experiencing firsthand.

I’m so glad that you brought that up, Jason because each of us has to take things day-by-day. Pressure often stems from this musterbate term that we’re talking about. It’s reacting to other people telling us what we should be doing. Whenever that comes up, it’s an opportunity for us to step back and say, “Is this what’s best for me? Is this person who’s giving me that advice directing it to me or are they directed it to people in general?” As coaches, what we found is a lot of advice out there that you can get for free is very generalized, but the best advice is coming when it’s specifically for you.

That is one of the reasons that we personally work with coaches and that’s a reason that Jason and I love to coach because we like to give strategic, customized advice for people based on what they’re going through, what they’re feeling. That works so much better than trying to take advice that’s designed for everybody. It’s like a one size fits all approach and it might not fit you. You may need to be told to rest. You may need to be told not to do anything. Maybe what’s best for you is to read, to sleep and have FaceTimes with friends. Maybe it’s not best for you to be productive. Also, you have to decide what productivity looks like for you.

It is such an individualized thing. That’s why these sweeping generalizations or advice on what people ought to do. People are on their own journey. We’re all on our own individual journey. If we use this time to cultivate more self-awareness and more presence, I do think that everyone could benefit from self-awareness and presence, myself included. I ignored a little bit of self-awareness. I was finishing my taxes as an example and my body was like, “You ought to go rest me.” I was like, “No, we have taxes to finish.” There is a price to be paid for ignoring your intuition. There’s a price to be paid for ignoring your body’s wisdom. As a result, I’m pretty exhausted. My overarching thing is in agreement with you, Whitney, that having an individualized approach to this and cultivating more self-awareness and presence in our bodies and our minds is a massive key to this.

As this episode comes to a close, we would love to continue the conversation with you. We’ve referenced it several times and it’s incredibly important for this specific episode to hear from you. You can get involved and share your own experiences whether you’re looking for more advice on your specific situation. We love to support you. We have a Facebook page, Facebook groups. We are developing this new program on anxiety. If that interests you at all, we would love to give you some free resources, extra support and share with you how else we can support you on a more customized basis. You can find all that information at Wellevatr.com. I also wanted to leave a few things that you can do to celebrate or to promote stress awareness month and some prompts for you to comment. We’d love to hear from you so that we can continue this conversation.

Here are some things to think about. First of all, it’s important to talk about stress and the effects on you and to remove the stigma that’s associated with stress. Please leave us a comment and let us know what have you been experiencing. What’s been going on in your life? How does stress affect you? What coping mechanisms work for you? You never know how that could benefit somebody else. That’s why comments are so important. That’s why groups and community are very important. We also want to remind you to be nice to people who are talking about their stress and anxiety. Do your best not to judge them, whether that’s in the comment section of someplace online like our website, a Facebook page or something like that.

MGU 53 | Stress Management

Stress Management: In the time of pandemics, in quarantine, don’t succumb to the shoulds, ought-tos and musts of people telling you to “make the most” of your time.

 

In general, growing your awareness and having compassion for people is incredibly important. Everybody experiences life a little bit differently. Each of us communicates a little bit differently as we were talking about with pressure. You might share something on social media that somebody else interprets completely differently than how you meant it. Having that compassion and kindness for people can go such a long way. Remember to continue to look after yourself and continue to reflect on this. Taking time out of your day to relax, to do things that you enjoy, to exercise, to eat well and to journal. Writing down what you’re experiencing and reflecting on that and how you can shift that for a more positive experience each and every day in each moment.

Meditation is incredibly important. All of these things that you can integrate into your life we talk about throughout every episode. If you haven’t read the other episodes, we would love for you to check that out. One of the episodes was Seven Steps to More Bliss, Balance And Well-Being. That’s a two-part episode. We talk about stress, anxiety and well-being tips. We are trying to offer up as much as we possibly can for your life to help you suffer as little as possible. If there’s anything else that we can do, we would love to hear from you privately or publicly. You can always reach us through the comment section through social media. We’re @Wellevatr. You can direct message us and you can also email us at [email protected].

All the resources regarding nutraceuticals supplements, sleep packs and a lot of the products we mentioned will be linked for this episode. If you want to get the blue blockers, the magnesium and all the things that Whitney and I take and use for our nutritional regime, we will also include those for your use.

We will be certain to put those in the anxiety PDF that we’ve been talking about too. We’ll have a list of foods that help us. Jason has a lot of expertise in his Good Mood Food course, which we can link to you. You can still access that.

Commune, who I co-created that with, on occasion, they are offering a fourteen-day free trial experience where you can get all of their online courses, including Good Mood Food, for free.

A lot of this information was also sprinkled throughout our offering. We encourage you to check out all the free resources at Wellevatr.com. We have several eBooks. We’re working on meditations. We’re doing whatever we can to help you. If you sign up for the newsletter, which happens whenever you download one of these resources, you’ll get emails from us keeping you posted on whatever we’re creating for you. If you hit reply or you email us at [email protected], we’d love to hear from you and figure out whatever we can do to help you feel less stress, less anxiety, more joy and overall well-being in your life. We’re so grateful for you reading this episode. We look forward to having you part of a future episode very soon. Until then, wishing you all the best.

See you soon.

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