Five Tips to Manage Stress and Feel Your Best.
By: Jenna Carpenter
Let’s face it, we live in a day and age that has taught us we need to be doing a million things in order to feel like we are being productive. But is it actually serving us? For the sake of maintaining our sanity- it’s a good idea to reflect on where in your life, can you remove excess stress. Naturally, we live in a society craves ALL OF THE THINGS and I am here to remind you, less is more, simply because life is too short. The famous song by Puff Daddy is onto something - mo’ money, mo problems.
Let me back up and say this may not entirely true but there is partial truth in the underlying message. I come to you with this advice, from dealing with years of anxiety and uncertainty on how to handle it. I’m not going to lie, yoga has helped significantly! As much as I would love to give yoga all the credit I won't because it actually can run deeper than simply by doing the physical practice. Stress can feel consuming and sometimes it’s a shift in perspective.
If that isn’t the case, these are helpful hints to manage stress and integrate yoga off the mat:
Time Management: Make self-care a priority.
When we take care of our selves first, we can show up bigger and brighter in the world. Feed your soul by building a relationship with yourself. How do you build a relationship with yourself? Do what you love, tune inward and listen aka self-care. We make better decisions when we nurture ourselves and make self-care a priority. This means meditating, yoga, exercise, bodywork, eating well, traveling or connecting with people we love.
Do Yoga Regularly.
Yoga can often time help us identify where we hold our stress in the physical form, like in the shoulders, low back, hips, etc. The main reason why yoga is so beneficial when dealing with stress is it helps us drop into our breath and body. We are connected to the present moment. A lot of stress is caused by thinking about past events or all of the things that we need to do in the future. For folks that don’t practice yoga, it may seem foreign, strange, challenging and it’s important to be compassionate towards new yogis or people that don’t do yoga. As you may have felt before, the hardest and most important step is showing up.
Calming down the breath and focusing on it has the power to calm down the nervous system and cardiovascular system. When in high stressful situations at work or in life, breathe! Do some breathwork, pranayama, like alternate nostril breathing or ujayi. By tuning into the breathe you can instantly tap into your body and mind. Close your eyes and take five minutes when in transition (e.i. when you wake up or go to bed, in your car before you head into work, sitting in traffic, on a bus, at work). Use a mantra like…
Set Clear Boundaries.
Become more familiar with your boundaries, say no more to honor your self. Are there any people pleasers out there? Most of us want to help and say yes to friends and family or even people that we don’t know. We want to be nice so we sign-up for things that we actually may not have the time or energy for. We can still be sweet in saying no example “I really want to help you out but I have too much on my plate right now.” No need to get into the details, just be clear, honest and simple.
Spend Time With Your Tribe.
Stay connected to a loving, inspiring community that supports you! Don’t get involved with the people that cause more drama or impact your life negatively. Take care of yourself and honor your needs. Choose to surround yourself with positivity. When conflict comes up be open, honest and take some space if needed, maybe that means finding a few minutes to meditate or journaling to gather your thoughts and feelings. Communication is a key factor when it comes to maintaining happy and healthy relationships. This is important because it can result in feeling grounded, secure and supported which can impact stress levels. Maintaining healthy relationships and spending time with friends and family creates life balance.
Use Loving Communication.
By using loving speech you can actually prevent mellow drama with loved ones. Take a moment and reflect, have you ever been upset because something didn’t necessarily go your way and then you bring that drama into your relationship? We do it often to the people we love and it can be prevented if you have the tools. When you are ready to take full responsibility and manage your interpersonal skills, here’s a great saying to use as a reminder:
Before you Speak: THINK
T- Is it True?
H- Is it Helpful?
I- Is it Inspiring?
N- Is it Necessary?
K- Is it Kind?
Hopefully, these tips help and if it feels overwhelming, focus on integrating one of these points for a few weeks at a time. Stress has a huge impact on our lives and shows up in physical, mental and emotional forms. The key to stress management is peeling back all these layers and becoming mindful and connected with ourselves. Where is your energy going? Do you need to redirect it or make a change so that it doesn’t feel stressful? Is it as simple as a shift in perspective? Regardless, it’s ultimately your decision to adjust your life to be less stressful and find a deeper awareness around what your priorities are, just remember, life is too short.
Jenna’s relationship with yoga started in 2000, and little did she know that it would have such a positive impact on her life. Soon after diving into the world of yoga, Jenna realized that this practice wasn't just physical but that it also broadened her emotional and spiritual awareness.
She started teaching yoga in 2008 and has studied several different styles including hatha, vinyasa, yin, restorative, and anusara. Jenna's love for yoga practice spurred her passion for holistic health and wellness and inspired her to study holistic nutrition. She now shares her knowledge of yoga and healthy living both on and off the mat in her classes, online cleanse programs, workshops and retreats.
Jenna recognizes that yoga has powerful, therapeutic effects on the body and mind which can impact how we feel on a daily basis and how we show up in life. She believes that integrating the lessons learned on the mat into everyday life is the true medicine of this practice.
Jenna graduated from the 300 HR at the Yoga Forest in November 2017. She is on the Kula Path and recently apprenticed at the 200 HR in Costa Rica in March.
Photo Credit: Jenna’s instagram
To find out more about Jenna's approach to holistic health, yoga, and plant-based living, check out her website jennacarpenter.org