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Sober October: Stress Less

This is our four-week series for eliminating (or minimizing) alcohol intake during the month of October in preparation for the upcoming holiday season and all its indulgences.

 

Most people find their relationship with alcohol worsens in times of stress, whether it's a tough day at work, family obligations run amok, or simply an inability to downshift when the day is done.

So stop stressing! Hahaha. If only it were that easy, right?

Obviously, you cannot control the stressors in your life, but you CAN control how you deal with them. For this first week, focus on finding better alternatives to de-stress and downshift from work to family to bedtime with health-focused self-care. Check out some ideas below, and let us know your favorite non-alcoholic destroyer of stress on Facebook and Instagram.



Walking

We know, we know. If we had a nickel for every time someone recommended getting more steps in, we'd be retired and living in the Virgin Islands. The reason this advice is so prevalent is it really works!


No Excuses

Eliminate all excuses from getting more steps.

  • Feet hurt? Invest in good walking shoes, like Hoka.

  • Slight drizzle? Get yourself a lightweight, water-resistant jacket.

  • Too hot? Try walking early in the morning or just after sunset. We also recommend getting good outdoor wear that wicks sweat and blocks UV rays, like Coolibar.

  • Bored easily? Bring your headphones and bang your head to your favorite tunes, or listen to interesting podcasts or audiobooks.

Find Time

Getting 10,000 steps per day is about an hour and 45 minutes of walking for the average person. The good news is if your job involves lots of movement, such as medical professionals, servers, etc., you're probably getting 10K steps at work. However, if your job has you tethered to a desk, you're probably only getting 3K-6K steps per day, meaning you will need to get some more walking in on your own.


Assuming you're at a desk most days, you're going to need to walk for an additional 45 minutes to over an hour. This doesn't have to happen in a single walk. Try breaking up your walks by taking a walk in the morning with your coffee, followed by a walk after lunch, and finally a long walk after dinner. Adjust the times and durations as your schedule allows, but make sure to break down your walks into manageable slots if getting one extra long walk is not possible.


If you work from home or have the flexibility to work where you want, we also have a treadmill desk in the gym! Bring your laptop with you and take a leisurely stroll while dialing into that conference call (that could have been an email) or typing that paper.


Not a Workout

Assuming you are not completely deconditioned, getting enough steps each day does not count as a workout. This has two important meanings:

  1. When you are walking for mobility and stress relief, you are not walking briskly or looking for difficult terrain. You are looking to stroll. You should be able to maintain a conversation without being out of breath. The goal is stress relief, not cardio. If your walk looks and feels like exercise, your stress hormones will increase rather than decrease.

  2. You still need to get your workouts in. Walking for stress relief does not replace weight or cardio training. Bonus: your other workouts are stress killers too!


Stretching

Stretching is a lot like walking: we all know it's important, but we just can't be bothered to do it! Also like walking, stretching regularly becomes more and more critical as we age. Giving yourself dedicated time to stretch is too important to ignore. Benefits include:

  • Exercise prep and cooldown

  • Maintaining and improving mobility and range of motion

  • Maintaining and improving flexibility

Some people like to get out of bed and stretch first thing. Others find time to stretch before showering, before bed, or our personal favorite, while watching TV with the family at night.


At a loss for stretching ideas? Use this stretch routine playlist on our YouTube channel. Hit the Play All button and pause as needed to hold the yummy stretches longer! We did all the work for you, so all you need to do is follow along.


Meditation

We're not going to lie to you, maintaining a meditation practice is tough. Thankfully there is no shortage of tools available these days. We recommend using a meditation app such as Calm or Headspace. Check your credit card merchants' offers: there is often a free trial for these apps available to first-time users.


Meditation doesn't have to be a fussy production, however. Try to find a space with no annoyances or distractions. Put on some calming music (Spotify has tons of meditation music), and just let your mind wander. Do not try to "clear your mind"—you can't! Let thoughts pop in and then simply let them go. Don't judge yourself or your thoughts, just observe them.


Still too difficult? Don't beat yourself up. Many of the benefits of a meditation practice can also be achieved when walking, stretching, and....


Yoga

Yoga boasts many benefits also provided by stretching and meditation, but with additional breath work and relaxation built in. Talk about a stress antidote! Thankfully, we've got yoga every Sunday right here at Momentum Fitness. Join Jackie or Don for a full hour of yoga and stress-relief at our studio.


If you can't make it to our Sunday yoga classes and/or really want more yoga, let us know, but also enjoy these prerecorded sessions from our pandemic shutdown: https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLZKhIZ6kHtH-cF2-K5dhg3LmhM3uuQAls&si=l74uNlYV-GMtq-IT


 

Let us know how you're doing! Review others' posts and share your own experiences with other members in our dedicated Sober October Facebook group, or tag us on your own Facebook and Instagram posts: @momentumfitorg

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