This year marks my 10th year of living in the beautiful-but-very-polluted, sunny-but-sometimes-too-dehydrated (literally and figuratively), spacious-but-very-crowded city of Los Angeles that I get to call home.
Where, at any day of the week, driving to pick up that trendy and overpriced avocado toast and oat milk latte costs you $25 (when you factor in Lyft and/or Postmates) because parking is oh so stressful and you’re not risking a $73 parking ticket and a half hour road rage battle with an oversized bus.
Living, exploring and trying to thrive in a metropolitan city definitely has its perks. Some of those perks are: everyday summer, different neighborhoods offering unique art, music and cultural vibes; when you’re in need of a beach, Malibu is only an hour away from the east side (where I landed), endless amounts of amazing coffee no matter where you are, and FOOD oh so much food (hello In-N-Out). It’s always exciting to be in an office full of different backgrounds and that soiree later in the week that you RSVP-ed yes to holds creatives, entertainment execs and tech gurus all at once – and no one bats an eye. And last but definitely not least, you have street tacos basically on any corner of the city for a whopping $1.50.
BUT, with the endless amount of choices and accessibility to a multitude of things come… well, stress. FOMO stress, work stress, political stress, gender stress, relationship status stress, city stress. When I say city stress, I’m talking about standstill traffic, construction on every other street and even that pretty purple/pink sky always on Instagram with hashtag #LAsunset? You can blame dust and water particles for that and if you think about it – that’s kind of gross. I mean, what kind of gunk is actually inside of your pores?
And that’s just the beginning: being 30 Something and Unmarried (*update – I got engaged last week – more or less stress?? *asking for a friend.), managing a skincare routine, figuring out how to sleep better, working out, eating healthy, dealing with everlasting FOMO, getting ahead at work, figuring out what in the name is happening to my IRA, doing charity work, maintaining a happy ecosystem amongst friends/partner/family, and overall adulting, I’m talking real stressors here like marriage, pregnancy, and loved ones passing away. We can all agree that we’re always a little stressed whether we realize it or not. At the end of the day, a little stress is actually good and can push you to be better, but when you’re overly stressed by a multitude of things, it’s just life sucking.
When you’re stressed out, your body is in flux, your cortisol levels shoot up, your skin starts to break out and get really dry, and you can’t think straight. Bottom line – we all need to learn how to properly decompress. Don’t get me wrong – I’m all for the hu$tle, but what is good is the 24/7 hustle when you’re always stressed out and your body is falling apart?
A couple of weeks ago, I asked this question on my Instagram: “How do you manage your daily stress?” Out of around 50 responses (which was a lot for me tbh), the top 5 were: drinking, smoking, lol I don’t (my personal favorite), my pet and exercise.
Now, why do I care so much if you’re stressed? Rewind to my last job a few years ago and your girl was beyond stressed. Long story short, I worked 10-12 hour days for 2 years straight at a job I was set up to fail in. I hated Fridays and even Sundays because Fridays meant I needed to create content for the weekend and Sundays meant that Monday was coming. Optimistic Jane was D-E-A-D! I was so stressed I couldn’t enjoy anything and the skies always seemed gray. My body eventually broke down. I broke out into eczema on my eyelids and on the insides of my armpits, gained 20 lbs of stress weight (I’m an emotional eater) and ended up getting into a car accident right in front of my work parking lot which left me in the hospital with a totaled car. You see where this story’s going? Bottom line: nothing is worth you and your body being in a constant state of panic. What price is worth your peace?
So, if even seeing the word “stress” makes you feel remotely anxious and/or actually… stressed out, it’s probably because you are. Here are some ways to PROPERLY CHILL. Take it from a master chiller like me (I’ve been told I’m pretty composed 90% of the time). If I can find ways to relax in a crazy city like LA, so can you.
SHIFT YOUR MINDSET
Wake-up and practice gratitude and try putting yourself in a positive headspace. I just started doing this a month ago and yes, sometimes I forget but whenever I say at least 5 things I’m grateful for, it puts me in a better headspace. Rather than feeling rushed and stressed to get through my inbox and to-do list, I quietly express all that I’m thankful for. Thankful for health, my family, a job, a shelter, a car, etc. Life is all about perspective and my glass is always (almost always) half full. Meditating is good for you. The Oprah x Eckhart Tolle A New Eart Podcasts have also changed my mindset and life this year.
This is an obvious one, but exercise is so good for you. We’re not meant to sit on our ass for 8-10 hours straight hunched over our computers. Beyond the physical benefits, exercising increases the production of endorphins, which produces feelings of positivity, strengthens heart health, regulates blood pressure and assists with mental clarity. Personally, I find that being in nature and going on long hikes are super healing for my soul and mental headspace. It’s also when I feel the most creative.
If I had a dollar for every time I asked someone with a headache if they drank water that day and they said no, I would be a millionaire by now. DRINK.WATER. Find out what type of water you actually like and drink it. It’s how our body naturally detoxes.
TRY ADDING AN ADAPTOGEN
Specifically Ashwagandha or SuperYou (if you don’t like the taste of dusts). I’m a firm believer in this super herb. So much so that we wrote a story about it. I’m currently on my 3rd bottle of Super You and I can honestly say it’s helped me manage my daily stress and balance my mood (mood swings included).
SOMETIMES YOU JUST HAVE TO LAY OFF THE WINE
As much as I love my wine, sometimes you don’t need those extra calories to negate that sweat class you just took. Your body needs to detox, sweat, hydrate, and having wine should be a treat. For those days when you need something to wind down but can’t afford the hangover, insert Kin Euphorics.
KIN EUPHORICS IS THE TRUTH
Guys! My friend Angela invited me to the Kin house in LA and when I first heard about this non-alcoholic drink, I was really skeptical. Like, what is this whole “euphorics” thing? But then I went to the super cool Kin House and had 2 glasses of KIN (which is made from a trinity of balancing adaptogens, replenishing nootropics – a supplement that enhances your cognition – and botanics). They’re changing the way we socialize and interact with each other and I’m here for it. I left the house feeling like I just did 2 hours of yoga. I felt crisp, super calm, energized, had so much clarity, felt extremely relaxed and was 100% sober. This beverage is extremely great for those days when you really want a drink but don’t want the hangover, calories, puffiness and mood imbalance the next day.
DON’T BE AFRAID OF CBD
I first wrote my story on CBD 7 months ago. Since then, I’ve become the CBD fairy and still get asked so many questions about it so I’m preaching about it again because it works. It’s helped my friends and family with their arthritis, anxiety, pain, and insomnia. The key is to find the brands that work and know which type of CBD fits your lifestyle. Also – if it’s that time of the month and aunt flow is here, put some CBD lotion on your cramps! Trust me on this one.
Sagely CBD Cream – this lotion is super nice and feels a little minty. I like putting this on my back after work because that’s where I usually hold all my tension and on my feet before a night out.
Beboe Calming CBD Blend – an actual game changer and is chic as hell. I like to use this at night when I need to calm TF down and don’t feel like drinking my calories.
Lord Jones Gel Caps – great for those times you’re feeling anxious, have any pain, menstrual cramps or are an anxious flyer.
Sagely CBD Roll-On – I liked this best when I’m working on deadlines and am stressed without realizing it. Rub a little on your temples for some instant chill.
Feals – love this new CBD item! It’s a lot stronger than any other tinctures I’ve tried but left me feeling really calm and relaxed throughout the day.
Lord Jones Body Oil – Okay, have you ever actually had a CBD oil massage? Add this body oil to your next massage or onto your temples or wrists for the best chill and instant relief.
It’s also important to reiterate that CBD is non-psychoactive so you don’t get “high” from it. Ancient cultures have been using it dating back to 500 BC.
Always working and running off of no sleep is not cute. Work smarter, not harder. Get enough rest, block out time to do actual deep work, repeat.
TALK THINGS OUT
Whether that’s talking to a therapist or having a group of people who you trust to talk to, it’s so important to talk things out and understand where your thoughts/feelings/anxiety is coming from. Emotional intelligence is cool. Let’s practice more of that and support open dialogues.
Whether breathing deeply comes in the form of yoga, remembering to take 5 deep breaths, inhaling deeply and consistently throughout the day… just don’t forget to breathe. It’s surprising how something so simple is so effective.
You Are What You Eat
Be conscious of your diet. Sometimes treating yourself looks like a bag of Flaming Hot Cheetos and sometimes it looks like a smoothie and a soothing face mask. Know when you need one over the other. Listen to your body. Recognize when you’re stressed so you’re not blindly binge eating and then regretting those empty calories later (guilty).
Adopting An Animal
As a side note, it’s a full-time job but adopting an animal is also a great way to de-stress and give an animal a much-needed home. An animal makes you more active and the pet effect is known to reduce feelings of anxiety, stress, and depression.