Stressed, anxious, overcommitted? These feelings can seriously undermine health, wellness, and weight loss. We have become accustomed to accepting chronic stress as a standard and ever-present part of life. Not only is it difficult to detach from workplace demands, financial pressure, social media, and the generally frantic pace of modern life, it is normalized. We often overlook setting the boundaries we need or taking the appropriate steps to mitigate life stressors.
That said, there are a few simple things that we can do to have more control over our daily schedules, environments, and habits. Although it will require some investment of time, and/or money upfront, don’t let that deter you; the short-term investment is well worth the long-term results.
Before we dive into our 8 ways to reduce stress in your life, one important thing to remember is: do what works for you. The last thing any of us needs is more stress, and getting advice that’s not applicable or realistic can be super annoying.
Eight ways to simplify and make your life easier
1 – Simplify Your Food
This is a big one, especially if you’re on a weight loss program! If you’re trying to be healthy but also don’t want to be spending your whole life in the kitchen, here are a few things you can try.
- Meal Planning: prepare large batches of grilled chicken and roasted vegetables. Wash and chop fruit and veggies to make a healthy snack convenient. Following Ideal Protein? Take a look at the Ideal Protein recipes we have up on the Vital Body blog, pick a few to try each week and prep these meals ahead of time so they are ready to whip up when hunger strikes.
- Simplify your meals, literally. Instead of overcomplicating eating, why not repeat your favourite recipes over and over again? Too repetitive for you? An alternative approach for you might be, for each meal select one protein + one vegetable. Meals truly don’t need to get more elaborate than that.
- Embrace convenience: use a meal delivery service, opt for frozen or pre-cut fresh vegetables, raid the hot-food bar at the grocery store, use rotisserie chicken as your base for everything
2 – Leverage The Power Of Routine In The Morning and Evening
What’s great about routines is that they minimize the decisions you need to make and allow for more mental space. Yes, routines can be a challenge at first as they feel like an obligation, but once established they will bring a sense of serenity to your life. If you don’t know where to start, try adapting this morning routine so that it makes sense for your life:
- Get up, drink some water, make a cup of tea or coffee; do NOT look at your phone right away
- Step outside and get some fresh air
- Do a meditation or breathing exercise
- Do some gentle movement or, if you want, a structured workout
- Make your bed
- Take a shower
Same for evenings, from the below example of an evening routine, identify what works for you and change what doesn’t. Personalize based on your personal preferences for the highest opportunity for success:
- Put away electronics
- Spend 10 or 20 minutes going around your home and picking up clutter, putting dishes in the dishwasher, wiping down counter—make it so you wake up to a clean(ish) home
- Prepare bags and lunches for school or work tomorrow
- Layout exercise clothes or pack a gym bag
- Take a shower
- Meditation or breathing exercise
- Read a book
Whatever you do, start your routine early enough that you can go to bed on time. Getting enough sleep is important, especially if you’re following a weight loss program.
3 – Create Pauses Throughout Your Day
The coaches at Vital Body know how the busyness of daily life can become overwhelming, so it’s important to carve out some time in your day to pause. Here are three ways you can try to do this, choose the approach that best suits you.
- Schedule ‘do-not-disturb’ time in your calendar. Use this time to knock off something on your personal to-do list, that could be, taking a nap, reading a chapter of your book, or writing in your journal. Parents or caregivers who can’t make time for this every day, can you find an hour or two each week where a friend or neighbor could hang out with your kids to give you a break, even if you don’t leave the house? Or perhaps you and your partner could each take one Saturday afternoon a month where it’s just “you time.”
- Take a proper lunch break. It’s incredibly easy to work straight through, especially when working from home. Challenge yourself to use your lunchtime to give yourself 20 to 30 minutes to eat something nutritious and relax.
- Try the Pomodoro Technique, which is to focus on work for 25 minutes, and then take a 5-minute break. Some things you can do in these five minutes are: drink water, go outside, make a cup of tea, try a 2-minute meditation, or stretch.
4 – Simplify Your Workouts
It can be difficult to make exercise part of your daily routine, our first tip won’t shock you: put your workouts in your calendar. It’s important to set aside time for fitness that is non-negotiable. Stay away from overly vigorous fitness routines, at the start why not commit to a daily walk? Need a little motivation to get outside? Check out our instagram @vitalbodyweightlosscentre for encouraging posts and walking trail recommendations for the Vancouver lower mainland.
5 – Use Technology To Your Advantage
It’s true, technology has the ability to both reduce stress and increase it. A few ways to use technology to simplify your life and help you reach your goals are:
- Put a bill on auto pay
- Sync your calendar with your teen or partners
- Schedule time in your calendar to do the things you want to do, not just the things you have to do.
- Download an app or browser extension that will solve a problem for you. For example, the app AnyList allows you to share shopping lists with your partner. Or download the Ideal Protein app to journal your meals, supplements and hydration while on the go, communicate with your Ideal Protein Weight Loss Coach, track biometric data, set your weight loss and activity goals, and monitor your progress, all in one place.
6 – Minimize Unnecessary Email or Social Media Use That Increases Stress
For many people email is a significant stressor. If you’re one of these people, here is our advice:
- Set specific times to check email and social media, then stick to them. A couple of ways to do this are to turn off notifications and put your phone in a different room during the email and social media free time blocks you set.
- Download Inbox Pause so you are only getting email notifications at certain times.
- Set aside some time one day to clean out your inbox. Put on some music or a mindless TV show and pour yourself a cup of tea, or perhaps have a nutritious snack. Take a deep breath and open your email. Create folders and filters for emails you want to keep receiving but that you don’t want cluttering up your inbox, unsubscribe from everything you don’t want anymore, and do what you can to get to “inbox zero”.
7 – Simplify Your Home
If your living space is messy and causing you stress, block off a few hours this weekend —then start cleaning. It might feel daunting at the start, it’s much easier to keep your home clean than it is to embark on a deep clean.
Once your home is clean, to maintain the cleanliness so you don’t have to do massive deep-cleaning again for a while, break down chores into simple daily tasks. Make a quick wipe-down part of your evening routine (this is also a great job for kids!). Clean bathrooms more thoroughly on Saturday, do the laundry and wash sheets and towels on Sunday, vacuum on Wednesday— whatever makes sense for your schedule… and don’t forget to put these chores into your calendar to help keep you on track.
8 – Embrace Good Enough
Embrace the concept of good enough. Toss out your to-do list once you’ve crossed off the non-negotiable items. Stop exercising and just move your body around. Get takeout. Let your house be a little messy…don’t make your bed. Give yourself permission not to worry about stuff that really doesn’t matter in the long run. As the saying goes: progress over perfection.
For more advice on how to manage stress while on the Ideal Protein Weight Loss Protocol reach out to your Vita Body Weight Loss Coach.
If you live in Vancouver or in the surrounding areas but are not a Vital Body client, we invite you to book a free virtual consultation with one of our coaches.