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5 Ways to Find Your Zen During Stressful Times

During these uncertain times self-care is more important than ever. I wanted to create a space to promote some calm during what can easily be a stressful situation. Over the years I've learned and practiced some easy rituals that have worked well for me. So I've compiled 5 simple ways to find your zen and hope you'll find it useful to stay healthy and feel empowered.

  1. Get enough sleep

Rest is crucial for our bodies to function properly. Most importantly, getting enough sleep promotes a peaceful mind and a more positive attitude. If yo have trouble winding down at night try sipping herbal, non-decaffeinated tea, reading a book or listening to mellow music.

Also make sure you set yourself up for success with a relaxing environment: plush pillows, comfy pajamas, cozy blankets and dim lighting. If music is not your thing, try a sound machine that emits "white noise" like ocean waves or rainfall.

2. Eat Healthy

You are what you eat, so try reaching for foods with a calming effect that reduce anxiety. Since I've experienced physical burn-out on more than one occasion, I'm mindful of the benefits of certain foods. Whenever possible, try to buy organic and toxic-free foods.

Reach for berries because they contain antioxidants that ease feelings of the blues. Dark leafy greens because they're enriched with magnesium, a mineral that will help you feel calmer. Try oatmeal for a boost of the brain chemical serotonin, which will uplift your mood. Another mood boosting food is dark chocolate. The flavonoids it contains boost blood flow to the heart and brain and can make you feel less anxious. But don't go overboard because it still contains some caffeine and fat.

Zinc is another mineral that can help you get your zen back and deal with stress. Eating oysters are a great source for it. Since this shellfish might not be for everyone (they're on my bucket list to try) you can also find zinc in cashews and eggs. Another great benefit of this mineral is that it helps with acne-prone skin by treating inflammation beneath the surface. How's that for total wellness!

3. Journal and the Practice of Gratitude

Writing out my thoughts always brings me a sense of calm and clarity. So I definitely recommend you start a daily gratitude practice. Whether it be first thing in the morning or before bed at night, this ritual will help clear your mind by "working out" your worries.

Another benefit is it will help you focus on your goals and priorities, which in turn will lead to a more productive and less stressful outlook.

So get a pretty book and a good pen and write what you're grateful for daily. The

Leaders in Heels journals are ones I like using because they're attractive and contain inspiring quotes to keep me motivated.

4. Unplug

Now there's nothing wrong with staying informed to what's going on, however too much news and social media can lead to anxiety overload. So ever so often just turn off your phone, computer and any other electronic device for a determined amount of time. Utilize the time to do something good for yourself and don't dwell on things that are beyond your control. Too much worry and stress is not healthy and will only make you feel helpless and isolated. I unplug a few times a month, but find a routine that works for you and do it it consistently.

5. Meditation

I can't extol the benefits of meditation enough! Since I've started meditating, it's not only made me feel more relaxed, but less anxious as well.

You can easily start with some deep breathing exercises for a few minutes a day. Either lying down or sitting in a chair, you just want to focus on being more mindful and present. Finish up with a warm cup of herbal tea to really maintain your calmness.

By living in the moment you use less energy worrying about the things you can't control and more on the things you can.

I hope you've found my tips useful and will try adding a few or all of them to reclaim your zen! Just remember "This too shall pass" as we must stay resilient and faithful during this global crisis together.

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