Stress-Relief Strategies from Neighborhood Barre Owner Kelly Phillips

Written by Kelly Phillips, owner of Neighborhood Barre (located in Brentwood + Green Hills)

Is your stress level at an all-time high? In a society where we want to do it all and have it all, we can end up being physically exhausted from the non-stop going, and emotionally drained from not always living up to our unrealistic self-standards.

When striving for a healthy balanced life, stress can be an overlooked area we need to work on.   

We know that stress left unchecked can contribute to health problems, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, and diabetes, as well as a negative impact on our thoughts, feelings and behavior. Nevertheless, living a low-stress life is challenging – especially in our extremely fast-paced society. 

Ready for some stress relief? Try incorporating a few of these tips from American Psychological Association to reduce your stress. You may find immediate gratification – plus, maintaining consistency will help build-long term results.

Take a break from the stressor. It may seem difficult to get away from a big work project, a crying baby, or a growing credit card bill, but when you give yourself permission to step away from it and you let yourself have time to do something else, it can help you gain a new perspective or find the opportunity to practice recommended techniques to feel less overwhelmed. While it’s important to not avoid your stress (those bills have to be paid sometime), even just 20 minutes to take care of yourself can be helpful.

Exercise. The research keeps growing: exercise benefits your mind just as much as your body. We keep hearing about the long-term benefits of a regular exercise routine, but even a 20 minute walk, run, or a group fitness class in the midst of a stressful time can give an immediate effect that can last for several hours.

Smile and laugh. Our brains are interconnected with our emotions and facial expressions. When people are stressed, they often hold a lot of the stress in their face. Laughs or smiles can help relieve some of that tension and improve your mood!

Get social support. Call a friend or send an email! When you share your concerns or feelings with another person, it helps relieve stress. However, it’s important that the person whom you talk to is someone that you trust and you feel can understand and validate you. If your family is a stressor, for example, it may not alleviate your stress if you share your work woes with one of them.

Our studio mantra is “small moves will lead to real results.” Life should be modifiable and every day may look different. Maybe today is a Netflix and chill day to take a break and smile and laugh. Maybe tomorrow is hitting up a Neighborhood Barre class and meeting a friend for coffee to vent. Take a deep breath, and choose to take one small step today to slow down and smile more

The Side Effects of 3 Common Hidden Sources of Sugar

Friday the 13th is approaching and you know what that means… Things are about to get spooky. But you know what’s even spookier? All of the ways processed sugar is hidden in the grub you get at the grocery store – even the so-called “healthy” options.

At Eat Well, we make it super easy to avoid that sneaky sugar monster: we ditch processed and artificial sugars all together and use healthy alternatives like honey and coconut sugar. But for those of you who still cook or eat out occasionally, the easiest way to avoid accidentally consuming a ton of processed and artificial sugar is to know what ingredients to look out for on your labels.

Syrups: Corn Syrup or High-Fructose Corn Syrup
You’ve probably seen the commercial at some point in your life… A farmer looks into the camera and tells you that corn syrup isn’t bad for you – it comes from a vegetable! But let me set the record straight for you: corn syrup is bad, and there’s no way around it.

According to Dr. Mark Hyman, the chemical process used in making high fructose corn syrup allows for fructose to directly impact the liver, leading to fatty liver disease and, ultimately, pre-diabetes and Type 2 diabetes.

Processed Sugar: Ribose, Lactose, Sucrose, Glucose, Maltose, Disaccharide, Dextrose (and more)
This list could go on and on. These are all alternate names for sugar, and they’re used to make it seem like there really isn’t as much sugar as there really is in your food. So while you think you’re eating low-sugar, you’re actually putting a ton of sugary chemicals into your body.

Another list that could go on and on? The side effects of ingesting too much of these processed sugar alternatives, like increased thirst, upset stomach, dry skin, swelling in the arms, legs, and face, weight gain, and fatigue.

Artificial Sweeteners: Aspartame, Sucralose, Sorbitol (and more)
A long time ago, it was a common understanding that artificial sugars were the key to losing weight; you could chug your diet sodas and add sweeteners to your iced tea and indulge your cravings while maintaining your waistline. Nevertheless, artificial sugars have since been proven to have the exact opposite impact on your body. Not only will it contribute to weight gain, but it has a whole slew of other negative side effects to your health that come with it.

Artificial sugars have been proven to contribute to migraines, change in vision, nausea and vomiting, insomnia, joint pain, depression, memory loss, and a change in your heart rate. Yikes!

Still need a fix for your sweet tooth? Give our Maple Pecan Overnight Oats (sweetened with honey and maple syrup) or Gluten-Free Pumpkin Muffins (sweetened with honey and natural pumpkin pie spice) a try! We’ll even deliver them to your door without the process sugar side effects ;)

3 Self-Care Check-Ins from Local Entrepreneur Kimberly Novosel

Written by local entrepreneur + owner of VERTICITY indoor cycling studio, Kimberly Novosel. Learn more about Kimberly here.

Self care can go out the window really fast when life gets hectic with work projects, social calendars, new boyfriends or babies, or any kind of change, big or small. We go into survival mode, eating what’s available to us when we can, getting less sleep, bypassing fun, restful, or creative activities, and putting our workouts on the back burner. In this changing season, let’s all take a step back and look at where we can create some space for a little more self-love in our lives.

Here’s a little self-care check in for you.

It’s not always about our physical energy bank. Sometimes our mental energy is the first thing to deplete. How are you caring for your mind: your decision-making ability, your creative energy, the quality of what you’re outputting? My challenge this season is to say NO to more things than I say yes to. Whether it’s meetings, social events, or tasks, I need to protect my yesses by saving my best for what matters most to me right now. No to everything else, guilt-free.

If you stop and think, I bet it’s been a while since you’ve had a full day off. Even when we’re away from the office or our teammates, we’re constantly checking our email. We’re answering clients’ texts. Or we’re working on side hustles that, as fun as they may be, are still hustles. I challenge you to take a true, full day off. For me, I’ve been reserving my Sundays for solo self-care. Yoga and iced coffee first then maybe a run or a hike, spend some time at home, read, Netflix, usually rosé… It’s basically a day of favorite things. Trust me, you need this.

Last month I traveled for three weeks, and once I was finally home I had about ten days to decompress before I was gone for another week. (Hello from California!) As fun as travel can be, or whatever it is that’s keeping us so busy and out of our best routines, it’s too easy to fall out of the habits we built for taking care of our bodies. What does that entail? Four things if you ask me:

Hydrate! A wine and iced coffee lover, I have to work very hard to get water into my body. Set a timer. Make a challenge of drinking the whole big bottle. Add Everly to make it taste better. Whatever you gotta do, get it down!
Fuel with food. Even if I had the time to cook, I’d use that time for a thousand other things. I hate being in the kitchen dirtying dishes and chopping and usually burning something (like my fingers). I’m so grateful to Eat Well for keeping me well fueled and well fed even on the craziest of days.
Sweat. Every day. A quick run, a 45 minute cycling class (VERTICITY shout out), a hike with a friend. It’s not just about abs or legs or high intensity cardio, it’s about all the wonderful things that the process of sweating does for us – cleansing, healing, activating, strengthening.
Rest. Downtime from the go go go. Recovery time between workouts. Plus, of course, straight up sleep. A few good, full nights of sleep in a row can be a total game changer.

One last thing to think about… When we’re talking about self care, although it doesn’t have to be entirely by yourself to count, there are some truly deep benefits of spending time on your own. It always surprises me when people say they’ve never traveled alone, gone to the movies alone, or had dinner alone at a restaurant. Challenge yourself this month to go on one self-date. Hit up a place you’ve been meaning to try that no one has wanted to go to with you. See a movie you’ll love but your friends won’t. Take a S’well bottle of wine and a book to the park. Buy a concert ticket and go sit alone. It might take a little bit of bravery, but the best things in life do.