I'm all about self-care, and if you follow me on any social medium, I'm sure you know that. I'm generally an anxious stress-ball of nerves. And I know I haven't taken enough time for myself in the past. I've trying to change that, so I've been implementing small changes in my life, including:
It seems so simple, right? Know what you're going to eat before you eat it. It's not rocket science. I always had a stocked fridge/freezer/pantry, but I never took the time to plan out meals. To make sure that I had all the ingredients needed for certain meals. So every time it came to make a meal, I was scrounging. That led to a lot of fast food meals, because that was so much more convenient.
Well, at that leads to is light wallet and a heavier weight on the scale.
I wanted to save money and eat better. Eat real food and not processed, frozen meals or stuff handed to me through a window. But there's a reason why meal planning is hard to do: it's the opposite of convenient. It's time intensive and a lot of work and research. It took many steps, which I have outlined below:
1. Well the first thing I did was to make a colorful chart, because I love to feel organized. It gave me a starting point: I knew I needed three small meals and three snacks a day.
2. Then I hit my Pinterest boards to find healthy recipes that I was sure I would want to eat throughout an entire week. Because let's be honest—that's one of the hardest parts of meal planning. How am I supposed to know on Sunday what I want to eat on Friday? I don't even know what I want for breakfast when I wake up in the morning.
3. Once I figured out what meals and snacks would be suitable, I took stock of what I already had and made a list of what ingredients and components I'd need to get me through the week. I divided the list into two categories: things to buy at the beginning of the week, and the fresh fruit and veggies to buy midway through the week (since I knew they would go back before the seven days would be up). I got the good roast beef from the deli, beautiful leaf lettuce, and ripe tomatoes to make sandwiches that rivaled Panera's, because I knew that would be a lunch I'd love to eat.
4. I took a nap, because this was a lot of work so far!
5. I did as much prep ahead of time as possible. I made a whole recipe of spinach dip that lasted as a snack for two households for two weeks. I divided up yogurt and granola for breakfasts and cottage cheese and fruit for snacks. That way, in the morning, I could just grab what was already prepped and not have to do any thinking.
6. I figured out the key to meal planning: leaving myself options, aka planning for more than just the appropriate number of meals. That way, if I want tacos instead of spaghetti, I have that flexibility. Now I never feel trapped into eating something I don't want to eat.
The other small thing I implemented is:
Yes, yoga! I have been wanting to try it for a while, for two reasons. The first is that it's something I can do in my apartment without disrupting my neighbors. The other is that it's also supposed to help lower stress—and, as stated, I'm always stressed.
I started off with this beginner level DVD. I rolled out a new mat, kept a towel and a yoga block nearby, and went for it. And it felt good. My muscles were stretched in ways they haven't been for a long time. I worked up a bit of a sweat, to my surprise! I've been making my way through the routines in this DVD, as recommended to me by fellow hockey romance author and yoga lover, V.L. Locey.
I plan on going to the gym three days a week, and then doing yoga the other four days. I hope to continue to see progress in my strength and flexibility as well as help reducing my stress. As I said, it's seemed to work so far!
What do you do help manage stress? As always, let me know in the comments here or via any of my social media accounts. I'd love to hear from you, and maybe we can swap tips!