We are in the midst of buying a house. It's hectic, it's stressful, and because we can't spend half a million dollars on a home, we have to buy a house that requires work. We are also all fighting the fall sniffles and snot storms, which makes working from home nearly impossible. It's normal life stuff, just amplified.
Stress triggers insomnia in my body first. Then I start making poor food choices because I'm too tired to care. Then I drink too much coffee, and that makes me jittery and weird, and then I get too hungry and eat whatever I can get my hands on. I sleep even worse because my digestion is all wonky from the crap food that I put in my body. I wake up feeling hung over minus a fun night out with my friends, and then everyone around me suffers because I am grumpy and short tempered. My stress-handling reserves are completely depleted, and I end up acting worse than my toddler.
One of the easiest ways I can support my body during stressful times is through nutrition. I genuinely believe that using food to combat minor health and just normal life challenges is a remedy often overlooked in our culture. And even though it's not a popular stance, I absolutely believe you should eat your feelings and use food to feel better, physically and emotionally.
1. Dark Chocolate.
Grab a bar of 80% cacao and go to town. Dark chocolate is high in magnesium, which most people tend to be deficient in. Magnesium helps relax smooth muscles within the body, which will lead to overall relaxation. It aids in digestion, blood sugar metabolism, and can resolve tension headaches. Chocolate releases endorphins in your brain, which make you feel like you just had an orgasm. Who doesn't want to feel all orgasm-glowy and happy?
2. Green Leafies.
This one is a little harder, but you know what's easy to grab? Kale chips. You can find them at most grocery stores in the natural food section and your body will thank you for an infusion of nutrients and vitamins it desperately needs. For those of you who tend to loathe spending $6 on a snack (and you are not alone), try making your own or looking at discount grocery stores for your kale fix.
I cannot emphasize this enough: YOUR BODY REQUIRES PROTEIN. Your muscles, your blood sugar, your brain, your wellbeing hinge on it. Plant or animal-based, it doesn't matter. Just be sure to start your day off with a solid hit of protein, and keep nuts or seeds nearby to give you a boost when the stress starts to mount during the rest of your day.
4. Chia Seeds.
I know. We used to make fun of Chia Pets and give them as white elephant gifts at Christmas. But these seeds are very high in Omega 3s, which is great for your brain function. Add them to your breakfast oatmeal, sprinkle them on your salad, or dump them in your juice or water and let them turn into bubble tea pearl consistency.
Vitamin C is a natural stress fighter. It boosts your immune system, restores healthy cell function and keeps your energy levels high. Next time you make lemonade, skip the sugar and use honey or liquid stevia instead. To really up your de-stress game, add a sprig of lavender to your glass.
6. Coconut Oil.
This is the food that you love to want to hate, but just can't because it's so darn versatile. Fat is brain food. In fact, your brain is comprised primarily of fat. Giving your noodle a little extra fat during times of stress will only help. I often take a spoonful before bed to help me sleep better, and it keeps me pooping on the regular.
7. Green Tea.
Have you had a Matcha Latte? Because if you haven't, you need one. Warm drinks are inherently soothing, but green tea is great for helping your body handle too much cortisol. Matcha powder is a finely ground type of green tea that dissolves in water or milk, plus it is a powerful antioxidant. It's a decadent and connecting way to manage your stress levels. You can also get the same benefits from regular green tea, too.
Small things make a big difference, especially over time. Adding those small things into your routine (as opposed to changing your routine entirely during times of stress) is one gentle method to nurturing yourself. So, take your deep breaths and eat those feelings. You've got this.