Anxious and stressed?

4 ways to deal with stress

Stress can be unhealthy

Many people are feeling anxious and stressed these days. In fact, everyone I’ve talked to lately is feeling it. The effect of long-term stress on our bodies can actually be harmful. Long-term stress can negatively impact our blood pressure, heart rate, sleep and even our eating habits. (See my article about both long-and short-term stress.)

We naturally try to avoid stress, but when we’re feeling overwhelmed by things that are outside of our control, we feel even more sensitive to outside factors.

There are some ways to deal with this stress, though.

Calm the stress energy

Engage in mindfulness techniques to divert your attention away from the anxiety. Try meditation or do an exercise session. This will help to reduce your anxiety in the short run, but it won’t go away.

Pay attention to your thoughts

This technique engages mindfulness techniques as well. But, rather than engage in these techniques after you feel stress and anxiety, try to recognize your thoughts going in that direction before they lead you on that hamster wheel.

Take some control

One reason that you’re feeling elevated stress is that you feel that there is nothing you can do. This leads to feelings of helplessness, and increased stress and anxiety.

A way to alleviate those feelings of helplessness is to find some small thing that doesn’t take a lot of thought or energy, and cross it off your to-do list. You won’t mess it up since it doesn’t require a great deal of effort, but just the act of crossing something off your list can ease some of your stress.

Take positive steps

Here’s where it gets a little tougher. You know how good it felt to knock something off your to-do list? It will feel even better to take steps toward a bigger goal.

When you’re dealing with anxiety, your avoidance motivation kicks in. Thoughts are racing around in your head, and you want to do anything you can to avoid those thoughts. And when you’re in this thought pattern, you’ll see all the flaws and problems that there could be in this course of action. So it can be difficult to take any action with those thoughts running around in your head.

But when you actually do start putting some energy toward that goal you can start to see the outcome you want. This is hard, though, because you have to overcome those churning thoughts in your head. Once you do you’ll start to become happier and you can start to anticipate that positive outcome.

Creaky on rainy days?

3 ways to ease your aching joints

Even without arthritis (thank goodness), I’m noticing that I get creakier on rainy, damp days than I used to. If I’m sitting for even a half hour and get up, my knees and hips let me know that they exist and are not happy with the current state of affairs. Even my shoulders are stiffer. The first couple of shuffling steps involve gradual straightening and shoulder-rolling. A hand to the lower back is also sometimes required to straighten up. The next couple of steps are better, and before I’m halfway across the room everything is back to normal. All this is probably normal, but it still gives me a knock on the head that I’m getting older.

Now, before you suggest moving to the desert where it’s hot and dry, there are things we can do to keep our aging selves limber.

Stay hydrated


I know it sounds weird – recommending water to alleviate stiffness. But, a paper from the T.H. Chan School of Public Health at Harvard says that drinking enough water each day is crucial to regulate body temperature, keep joints lubricated, prevent infections, deliver nutrients to cells, and keep organs functioning properly. Being well-hydrated also improves sleep quality, cognition, and mood. So, drinking water keeps us moving in more ways than one!

Get up!

You know Newton’s First Law? A body at rest stays at rest. And atrophies. It’s a good idea to get up and move around periodically to keep the lubricants in our joints swirling around. If you tend to get involved in activities and lose track of time, set a timer for every hour to remind you to get up and move around.


Another great way to feel less joint stiffness is to do some stretching. Stretching increases joint flexibility and can reduce stiffness. Another benefit is that some stretching exercises will also increase your balance and coordination, preventing falls.

Multitasking can be dangerous

We’ve already established that as we get older, our balance diminishes unless we actively do something about it. But what does that mean in real life?

Walking and talking

Walking and scrolling may be dangerous

If we’re taking a walk outside when the weather is nice, we may be looking at the trees or noticing the flowers. If we add something to the mix, like talking on our phone – we may not notice the uneven pavement. Talking with friends is great, but we get so involved in the conversation – agreeing with or arguing about a topic with the friend – that we get distracted. If we’re distracted, we’re not paying attention to where we’re going. While we probably won’t run into the walker ahead of us, we may not notice the huge crack until it’s too late. So we may want to wait until we get home to call our friends. Listening to a podcast or an audiobook is different. We’re not actively engaged in that second pursuit, so we can focus on our steps. If you’re in a safe area, by all means, plug in those earphones (or airphones, whichever…)


Carrying the groceries into the house from the car can be another dangerous pursuit. Don’t overload. And don’t try to carry too much at one time. If you overload the bags, they may be too heavy for you. Don’t hurt yourself by trying to lift too much weight. And if you try to take too many bags at once, you won’t be able to see the ground in front of you and could trip over something in your way that you don’t see.

Multitasking – dangerous for your health

Cooking while watching TV and scrolling your newsfeed or checking your email? You may want to cut one of those activities. I know – you have to put dinner on the table and that’s not the most exciting thing. By all means listen to the news on TV or on your phone, but don’t watch an adorable cat video at the same time. You don’t want anything to get burned – especially your dinner.

And multitasking could reduce your productivity – read more.

The moral? Pay attention. Multitasking can be dangerous.

Add aerobics and improve your balance

I frequently stress the importance of improving balance, especially as we age. The aging process naturally diminishes our balance since our senses tend to deteriorate. Vision and depth perception diminish, as well as the vestibular system of the inner ear. Even our sense of touch, especially the ability to feel the floor when our foot touches down, tends to diminish as we get older. All of these contribute to decreasing our balance. Strength, coordination and reaction time also diminish as we age, contributing to loss of balance. Pretty depressing, but it’s better than the alternative.

Adding aerobics to your balance exercises can increase stamina and endurance.

In addition to the balance exercises that I include in the Week of Balance download, aerobic exercise can improve your balance. Of course, movement of any kind can help with balance, but it’s very easy to just sit down and not think about moving. So a planned exercise session most days is an easy way to get our movement in if there’s nothing else on the schedule.

Increasing stamina and endurance

Personal trainer Sabrena Jo who is certified in working with seniors and is the American Council of Exercise director of research content says, “one reason people tend to trip or fall is that they have low stamina or endurance.” By adding aerobic activity we increase both cardiovascular stamina and endurance. Plus, it’s usually done to music which enhances our optimism. An added bonus is that an aerobics class can burn a lot of calories!

Aerobics also burns fat and calories

Aerobics has always been a favorite to burn fat and calories. It reduces the risk of heart disease, can help lower blood pressure, stroke and certain types of cancer. It can also improve cognition. And aerobics is a weight-bearing exercises so it can lower your risk of osteoporosis.

Of course, if you’re going to add aerobics to your exercise regimen, be sure to check with your doctor. And choose your aerobics wisely. If you have bad knees, take that into consideration.

One final note: be sure to add an aerobics exercise that you will do regularly. Once and done will do absolutely nothing for your balance, your heart, your weight or your bones. Choose an aerobic activity that you’ll look forward to doing.

What’s really stopping you from losing weight?

Tools for measuring weight loss. But are you stopping yourself from losing weight?

We’ve all been there. Those extra ten pounds. They just won’t budge! You try every diet on the planet and they work for a while and then … not. You try running for miles. You try sweating off the pounds. And nothing. Are you stopping yourself from losing weight?

No diet has worked

No diet seems to work. Everything you see goes on the hips. You try the Mediterranean diet. The Keto thing. The Paleo thing. You think – maybe I have Celiac disease? Or at least gluten sensitivity? Weight Watchers – or WW as they call themselves now. Jenny Craig. Nutrisystem. You’ve tried it all. And nothing.

Yo yo syndrome

Or you take a few pounds off and keep them off for a while. Those few months when you could wear a smaller size – how you cherish those memories. And then the pounds creep back.

Sound familiar? If you’re built like I am – when even looking at mac & cheese puts inches onto your hips – you know the struggle. Perhaps you don’t think of it every day, but it weighs on your mind.

Are you sabotaging yourself?

How to lose those extra pounds. “Maybe I shouldn’t make that for dinner.” “Well, I’ll just have a taste.” “I’ll just make myself some vegetables.” “I’ll start working out tomorrow.” “I hate these pants. They cut off my circulation.”

And the self-doubt. “I’ve tried it all. Maybe I’m just meant to be heavy.” “I can’t lose weight. My metabolism is too slow.”

Or it could be that those thoughts are causing a vicious spiral – I can’t do it so I won’t even try. You could be sabotaging yourself.


If these thoughts seem familiar – don’t judge yourself. You’re perfectly normal. Everyone has these thoughts. But, if you’re serious about wanting to lose weight – make sure you have a few minutes. Grab a pad and pen. And really think about why you want to lose weight – and if you really are serious about it this time. If you are serious, write down those doubts about yourself. Think about the times that you’ve tried to lose weight in the past. Were you serious then? What makes this time different? And go from there. Be kind to yourself – you’re the only one you’ve got! Life is too precious to be unkind.

Why do you think you’ll be able to do it this time? Let me know!