Ways To Use Your Home To Manage Stress & Stay Healthy

Ways To Use Your Home To Manage Stress & Stay Healthy

Abby Stone
Feb 1, 2012

I don't know about you but each winter I become an eating, drinking, snuggling-at-home-on-the-couch-watching-movies slug. Not this year. This year I'm using my home to keep my body and mind healthy and cut down on the stress. Here's the plan:

Create a nightly ritual : I don't know about you but if my morning starts out crazy, I can almost guarantee that it will escalate. To end morning madness, I try to get as much as possible taken care of the night before. My evening prep now takes about 15 minutes and doing it right before I go to bed is a signal to my brain that bedtime is imminent: clear up the kitchen and set up breakfast and, for the days, I'll be working in an office, I pack a bag lunch, I clear up the living room and put everything I need to take with me in the morning on my landing strip, put away the day's clothes and figure out what I'll be wearing tomorrow. I drink a glass of water before I got to bed and put another glass of water by my bed to drink when I get up.

Fill the fridge with food and cook more meals at home: Not only will I save a little money this winter but even if I'm cooking hearty meals like coq au vin or boeuf bourginon or chili I know they'll be healthier with my substitutions: subbing defatted chicken stock for some of the butter to saute the aromatics in, just a bit of bacon for flavor (or subsitute smoked paprika for the smokiness that bacon gives), adding extra vegetables and using leaner cuts of meat.

Create an inviting spot for meditation: Food is only part of the issue with stress eating. The other part is, obviously, the stress. This winter I've started meditating to help alleviate it. I've created an inviting spot to make it a regular habit. No, it's not a pillow on the floor in the corner and I don't ring a gong when I've done. I sit in a comfortable chair by the window in the sun, turn off my phone, set a timer for 10 to 15 minutes and close my eyes. If you've never meditated before, the simple answer about how to do it is to just focus on the breath coming in and out of your body. Yes, your mind will wander. When it does, just refocus on your breathing and let the distracting thought slip away.

Keep healthy snacks within reach: Even if I have a healthy dinner or lunch, there's plenty of times I'll find myself craving a snack. Instead of potato chips or pretzels, I'll keep precut raw veggies, raw almonds and walnuts, roasted seaweed, Sirataki noodles, kimchi and pickles within easy reach. Leftover vegetables, especially fennel and beets, roasted with a few small spoonfuls of olive oil, can usually allay my sweet tooth.

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(Image: Vanessa Stump from Kelly's Retro Artist Loft In Downtown LA)

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