I am a little behind writing this blog as the entire month of April so far has been Stress Awareness Month, but really any day of any given month is an ideal time for you to be assessing and working on your stress levels! 

I'm sure you know that stress certainly isn't good for you, but did you know that is it actually detrimental to your health? That is a scary thought for me and it should be for you too!

According to Healthline.com, stress can make it difficult for you to control your emotions, bring out certain diseases, physically affect your teeth and heart, make it extremely difficult for you to lose weight, weaken your immune system and age you. YIKES!

I am a single mom of 3 and CEO of a 6-person, high producing Real Estate team which means that unfortunately stress is a part of my world. I want to be around for my children for many decades to come so that means that every day I have to set aside time to get centered and reduce as much stress as possible.

I understand that reducing stress can be HARD, especially if you don't know where to start, so I wanted to take some time to detail out ways that really help me in my life keep meditated and healthy. 

If there is anything I am missing on this list, please let me know! I always love to hear new ways to find balance. 

Every morning I wake up at least two house before my children. If you're doing the math, that means 4:30am. I know, I know - but don't panic yet, it's worth it. During that time I do several things: I exercise, deeply pray and medicate, and I do what is called the Miracle Morning. (If you know me you know that is my THING!) If you do nothing else in the morning, do The Miracle Morning. It will take 6-minutes of your time and I promise that you will really feel its effects. 

Minute 1 (Silence): Take one minute to say a prayer, mediate or commit to not contributing to the chaos of life. Whatever you need to process to start your day in that first minute, do it. 

Minute 2 (Affirmations): You are full of unlimited potential and abilities, and every day you need to be reminding yourself of this. Keep a list of written affirmations and in that minute, read them out loud to yourself. Remind yourself of how capable you are! 

Minute 3 (Visualizing): Open your eyes and take a long, deep look at your vision board. (Don't have one? Start here.) You need to physically see your goals in front you. You need to process them. Think over why you work so hard and what you are working towards. 

Minute 4 (Scribbling): Yes, scribbling! Take this minute to jot down in your journal what you're grateful for, a new idea, something that can help you in your day be more efficient,or a note to inspire yourself - whatever you want to make note of, do so in this minute.

Minute 5 (Reading): Take that book you've been meaning to crack open and read a couple of pages. If you have time later in the day, commit to setting aside time to read more. In this minute get your brain flowing and get excited about finishing that book. This is a wonderful minute to discover something new. 

Minute 6 (Exercise): Once you are on minute 6, stand up and do 60-seconds of jumping jacks. Get that heart rate up! Get focused, get energized and wake yourself up. 

Once I have completed my Miracle Morning, I jump right onto my treadmill and get that high intensity work out it. This step for me is CRITICAL. It rids me of my anxiety, drives me to get focused and it keeps me healthy! I personally need this 45 minutes to 90 minutes of exercise every single morning because without it I am a stress ball! 

Another thing that is really critical for reducing stress is NO (or if you MUST - limited) CAFFEINE OR SUGAR. I know, it's so unfair. Sipping on caffeine and eating sugar through out the day is so bad for your body because they both stimulate your nervous system which can increase your blood pressure and heart rate. They also can seriously agitate your digestive system, which we want to avoid because good health ALWAYS starts in the gut.

If you've got stress, get outdoors! A friend of mine always used to say that there is no problem nature can't fix and I think there is really something to that. Take a walk, ride a bike, jog around the block - all of these things lower your stress levels so much.

I think something else that is really critical yet a very underrated tool in your stress-defense arsenal is accepting the things that you cannot change. If there is something in your life that you have no control over, and I mean truly have no control over like someone's behavior, know that it is not your problem to solve and move on from it. Don't take on emotions and issues that aren't yours to fix. By doing this, you are adding to your stress and carrying an unnecessary emotional burden. I'm not saying don't be loving and supportive of those who need you, just don't allow yourself to take on what is their's to carry. 

One last thing that is an obvious but forgotten solution is to make time for FUN and RELAXATION. Friends: this. is. critical. Our lives require balance and our kids are only small once. Every day is one that we don't get back and we need to make precious memories and implement some serious self-care into those days. On Sunday's after church, my kids listen to music and roller-skate around the house (let them be little!) while I bake bread. We don't do TV or movies - we spend time together laughing and playing games, all while making yummy snacks. We look forward to this day every week and it's something I would never trade, not for any amount of success. 

Stress is such a dark cloud around our otherwise wonderful lives and we deserve better. That's the simple truth. 

Tell me- what are you doing today that will reduce your stress?