What to Expect

During this 52 Week Challenge we are going to follow a 4 part cycle:

  • Add
  • Eliminate (or reduce)
  • Replace
  • Educate

The goal is to find the things that fit smoothly into your lifestyle, without stressing you out.

That's not to say that they will be "easy" for you every time. But they will make so much sense for your life that they will become part of your lifestyle without causing too much stress.

Keep in mind, not every change we make every week will be a good fit for you at this time. Some of them will probably need to wait for a different season of life.

For example, if you have babies who wake up multiple times each night, its probably not a good time to expect the QUANTITY of your sleep to improve.

But we may instead be able to focus on the QUALITY of the sleep you do get. Does that make sense?

ADD
During the "Add" weeks, we will focus on adding in good stuff. Water, sunshine, minerals, good food, etc.

ELIMINATE (Reduce)
During the "Eliminate" weeks we will focus on getting rid of, or at least reducing, the not so great stuff in our lives. Even if we are just reducing those things by a small percentange, thats ok. These weeks we will focus on things like stress, processed food, screen time, etc.

REPLACE
During the "Replace" weeks we will be focused on replacing things we need or use regularly with cleaner, healthier versions. Things like cleaning products, skin care products, etc.

EDUCATE
These weeks will be focused more on WHY something will be beneficial, and suggestions for changes to make if this is a good time for you. It is so much easier to DO something when you have a strong WHY to motivate you. We will focus on things like protein, gardening, sugars, organic food, etc.

Remember, you can contact me any time you have questions and I will respond as soon as possible to help you succeed!!

What to Expect for Week 2

This week we will be working on Stress Management. I would love to say we are going to eliminate stress, but that's not very realistic.

So instead, we are going to focus on ways to reduce and manage stress.

WHAT IS STRESS?
Stress is a normal reaction to changes and challenges around us. The reaction can be physical, emotional, and intellectual. 

Acute (occasional) stress is good and normal. It keeps us alert and aware of our surroundings and out of danger. It helps your body power through whatever the situation may be.

Chronic (long-term) stress becomes a problem when we are in a constant state of fight of flight and aren't getting any rest.

This long term stress is unfortunately pretty common and has a bunch of side effects:
  • Weird aches and pains (shoulder/neck tension, anyone?)
  • Exhaustion and Insomnia
  • High blood presure
  • Digestive issues
  • Weak immune system
  • Headaches
  • Anxiety/Depression
  • Unhealthy coping mechanisms (sugar/alcohol/tobacco/drugs)

NOT SO HELPFUL SOLUTIONS
Get rid of the stress. Just Marie Kondo the stress right out of your life.

Exercise, self care, good nutrition, a supportive community, and other common sense things like that.

Because all of us have time for hours of self care every day.

Ok, I understand why these things are recommended and I understand why they work. But if you need a solution in the moment, these are not helpful.

ACTUAL SOLUTIONS
The number one way to deal with stress in the moment is to breathe.

That's it. Just breathe.

Deep breathing (otherwise known as diaphragmatic or belly breathing) is essential to curbing the stress response. 

My favorite method is the 4-7-8 system by Dr. Andrew Weil. Here's how it works:

  • Step 1: Inhale deeply for 4 seconds
  • Step 2: Hold your breath for 7 seconds
  • Step 3: Exhale for 8 seconds
  • Step 4: repeat 3 times

WHY DOES IT WORK?
When you intentionally take deep breaths, you are encouraging your lungs to do a full oxygen exchange. This has the benefit of slowing your heart rate and decreasing your blood pressure.

Your sympathetic nervous system controls the fight or flight response and deep breathing lets it know that its ok to take a chill pill.

It also reduces lactic acid buildup, which reduces muscle tension. This is why it is important to breathe deeply during and after exercise.

HOW TO GET STARTED
This is one of those things that isn't easy to remember right away when you are running late, stuck in a traffic jam and trying not to swear in front of your kids.

It takes practice, just like anything else.

This week make it a goal to practice breathing as soon as you wake up and right before you go to bed. Bonus: this will help your brain get moving in the morning and calm down a bit before you go to sleep.

Then, once you get used to the technique, start doing it as you go about your day. Before meals, each time you do a specific chore (especially the ones you don't like), etc. 

Big shocker: there are apps to help you remember... Just look up breathing apps in the app store or on google play if you need a reminder.

Or you can be less techy and just stick a note on your phone or mirror.


BONUS STRESS MANAGEMENT: SUPPLEMENTS
Ashwaghanda, Magnesium, and Valerian are all really good for stress management. I take Ashwaghanda and Magnesium (in several forms) every single day.

Are you sure?