by Madeline Stewart, July 30th, 2019
If you have been following along with us, you may have noticed a trend: we talk about stress a lot and how to manage it. We have written blog posts about managing stress through nutrition, rest, and interviewed multiple guests on our podcast about their methods for handling it. As a professional musician, avoiding stress entirely is pretty much impossible. However, there are impactful and strategic ways you can prevent stress in other areas of your life to help balance it out.
When we think about stress, we often think about external situations causing internal stress — for example, an upcoming performance or audition. However, there are many lifestyle choices that we make every day that determine our physical stress load; from the foods, we eat to the products we use on our skin and in our homes. Here is a list of 5 simple tips you can implement to reduce the stress load on your body, and therefore help it more effectively manage stress in other areas of your life.
Spend time outdoors. This can be as simple as eating your breakfast outside in the morning or taking a walk on your lunch break. As musicians, much of your life is spent inside practicing, performing, teaching, etc. Outdoor exposure is extremely important for your overall health and has been proven to reduce stress levels.
Drink more water. Dehydration is one of the most significant nutritional deficiencies in our culture and causes immense stress on the body. Shoot to drink ½ of your body weight in ounces of water per day. I recommend purchasing a water bottle like the Hydro Flask and putting the suck top lid attachment on. Not sure all the reasons why, but myself and all my clients drink WAY more water with the suck top than without it.
Eat less sugar. First, start by eliminating daily desserts and sweets, and leave them for special occasions. Then when that becomes comfortable, move onto reducing and eliminating as much added sugars as possible (like those in your coffee, bread, cereal, yogurt, salad dressing, condiments, etc.). Read this blog for more information.
Swap conventional beauty and bath products for safer, less toxic ones. Our skin is the largest organ in the human body, and what we put on it goes into our bodies. Many of the conventional washes, lotions, soaps, and make-up products on the market are loaded with chemicals that increase the stress load put on your body. Start in one area of your life (either home or body) and begin swapping out products such as:
Laundry detergent- I like to make my own, or buy from a company like Seventh Generation. Here is a simple and easy recipe.
Replace household cleaners (dish detergent, countertop spray, bathroom cleaner, etc.) I love these rags for glass cleaning, and with them, you don't even need soap!
Swap out conventional shampoo, conditioner, body wash, lotions, and other skincare products for less toxic options. I love Beautycounter, Primally Pure, Living Libation, and Heart Grown Wild. All of these companies are safe and use 100% natural ingredients. I personally use all Beautycounter, but have used products from all these other lines as well.
Make-up. If you like to wear make-up, this is a big one. Many of the conventional companies fill their products with REALLY toxic chemicals...like REALLY toxic. For more information about the scary truth of what is in our make-up, read this. The make-up company that I use is Beautycounter, as I have found it works and is the best for my skin.
Rest, Rest, Rest. Giving your body adequate rest is essential to supporting it in handling stress. Read our blog about the importance of rest for more information.