Let’s go on an adventure and beat stress along the way! For adrenaline filled stress bustin’ ideas and yummy healthy comfort food recipes that are good for the soul, read on.
And we’re back with part two of our “Unwind & Decompress” series! Let’s get back to talking about one of our favorite topics: “How to Kick Stress’ Butt.” When it comes to stress and anxiety, as the good ol’ saying goes, “Ain’t nobody got time for that!” It’s time we reclaim our lives from anxiety and stress and learn how to breathe (like stress relief breathing) and relax from the busy-ness of life. Just like part one, we’re going to be talking about stress relief strategies we can all benefit from. So, as I always like to say, are you ready to go on an adventure? This time, I’m really serious about going on an adventure though!
Fun Fact: “Levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps regulate our mood, rise when we are outside."
Yup, that’s right! That's why we’re going on a nature walk together. Growing up, I always wondered why being outdoors made me feel so relaxed. It all makes sense now knowing that nature actually induces a rise in serotonin in our bodies that helps us relax. That’s a good enough reason to get up and go outside for some fresh air, a walk, or even just to sit at a park! Being outside is good for you!
If you’re an introvert, feel free to find a beautiful, scenic place just to sit and meditate. Take your journal and find the perfect spot. Nature walks can take place anywhere, from your own backyard to a mountain range in another state. Let the world be an open door to adventure for you. Wherever you are, near or far, make the best of it and turn it into an adventure. Even the most mundane and ordinary places, like your backyard, can be spaces where you can just unwind and relax. Just the act of being outside can take off some of that stress. It doesn’t matter where you are, as long as you are outside!
Growing up, sometimes to beat the stress of finals, my cousins and I would climb up on the roof of my aunt and uncle’s house and just sit and gaze at the sky. Just a side note before I continue with this story, I strongly suggest that everyone take safety precautions before climbing up on a roof! Anyway, back to my little story, just sitting and gazing at the sky literally made our stress fade away. I get such a calming feeling just thinking of that memory. If you’re an extrovert, like me, sometimes laying out in the grass (or on a picnic blanket in the grass) and talking things out with friends can be just what the doctor ordered.
Now if you’re the kind of person who gets the greatest kick from adrenaline rushes, not to worry because I’ve got plenty of action packed, adrenaline-filled adventures that will definitely help you manage stress! Let’s take a look at them!
Two words: Whitewater Rafting!
Did you know there’s an organization in Montana called X Sports for Vets that offers whitewater rafting for veterans experiencing PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)? There’s just something about a thrill and feeling the rush of adrenaline that can help erase stress. Plus, it’s in a very safe environment (well, safe for whitewater rafting, anyways!) and you are very well taken care of. It’s a great place for adrenaline junkies to take a load off and relieve some stress!
Now whitewater rafting is an activity that the extroverts out there will definitely favor. Have a group of thrill seeking buds you want to go with? Call them up ASAP. And whether you believe me or not, whitewater rafting can be a great activity to do with your family too. Just look at the expression on those kids’ faces! They’re obviously loving the experience. If you’re feeling the pressures of the office and are craving some fun times with your family, whitewater rafting may be just the adventure for you! If you’re interested, I would definitely check out this website that has info geared towards families wanting to try out whitewater rafting.
Now, if something like whitewater rafting isn’t your cup of tea, then why not enjoy the great outdoors in a more relaxed way like a nice, calming outdoor picnic!
I love picnics a lot! There’s a lot of reasons why! I’m a fan of food, sunshine, and good company of course. I think all those things are good for the soul. When you combine them all together into one awesome outing, well that’s just heavenly right there!
P.S. Before I keep going on the topic of picnics, I’d just like to reference a past blog post on cute picnic ideas. Trust me, after reading this post, you may feel a random urge or desire to go on a picnic!
Anyway, back to what I was saying. Picnics = good for the soul. Now what’s the best part of a good picnic, really? The food of course! Which leads me to my next stress bustin’ solution: FOOD.
Okay, I know some of you are shaking your head in disapproval because stress eating is definitely not the best thing you should suggest to anyone. Stress and food together seem to have a bad rep as the worst couple of the year. That’s because when stressful events come, one of the most common stress symptoms is our bodies often cause levels of cortisol to rise. When cortisol increases, our bodies suddenly go into a “fight or flight” kind of mode. Generally, we (or at least I) have reacted to this kind of feeling with cravings for carbs and sweets.
What can overeating carbs and sweets lead to? Well, as we all know, friends, that can lead to some unwanted weight gain. So how do we fight this, beat stress, and still eat delicious yummy food that we really REALLY want?
Here’s a hint: HEALTHY comfort foods to reduce anxiety! I know, it seems like a no-brainer, but hey, food is great in all forms, and healthier food is even better!
Did you say, “Yum” when you saw that picture? Because I sure did. I’m a total lover of mac n’ cheese. This comfort food is a childhood favorite of mine that I especially adored in elementary school. Now that I’m older, I definitely still love mac n’ cheese, but I’m not a huge fan of eating unhealthy food anymore. So what’s the quick fix to this conflicted comfort food cravin’ dilemma? Easy. Delicious healthy alternatives.
The yumminess pictured above is an awesome recipe for Roasted Butternut Squash Mac N’ Cheese from one of my favorite bloggers, The Realistic Nutritionist. If you’re not a fan of squash in general and are hesitant to try this recipe, not to worry! Claire from The Realistic Nutritionist has made tons of other healthy alternative recipes for Mac N’ Cheese and tons of other yummy comfort foods. Feel free to explore her blog here.
Here’s another treasure for you guys. Remember our blog post on healthy sweet treats? Yeah, if healthy desserts exist, then other healthy comfort foods definitely exist. Just because those healthy desserts are for the “holidays,” it doesn’t mean you can’t eat them when the holidays are over!
Alright friends, here’s another healthy conversion of one of our favorite comfort foods ever: Shepherd's Pie!
Via Iowa Girl Eats
The first time I ate shepherd’s pie, I was kind of blown away by how tasty it was and the fact that I hadn’t tried this amazingly tasty comfort food sooner. It’s so SO good and so filling! This awesome healthy alternative mixes cauliflower with potatoes for a less carb-y-but-still-just-as-delicious mashed potato topping. Sounds like a dream meal to take on a fall picnic right? I think so!
So with that friends, I’ll bid you adieu. I hope you can take some of these stress relieving ideas and try them out in real life! Let’s all take steps to stop stress and lower anxiety! There are many, many stress management tools out there. Be sure to utilize one (or all) and give yourself some emotional stress relief.
That’s a wrap! I hope you liked part 2 of our “Unwind & Decompress” series. If you did, please let us know in the comments below. Plus, let us know the other ways you like to relax and unwind. Feel free to share this with friends and loved one because obviously sharing is caring. Thanks for reading! ‘Til next time!
**Featured image via National Geographic Expeditions