Seven FREE Apps to help you become stress free

Ok..so my title may be a little misleading..since becoming stress free is likely impossible. But I needed to get your attention and it sounded catchier than seven free ways to reduce stress. 🤷‍♀️

You guys..it’s 2019 and we KNOW that we are all living with a more demanding schedule causing a more stressful life AND it has been proven to have an impact on our health. Some studies say that as many as 80% of people are feeling both physical and psychological effects of stress, such as fatigue, headache, stomachache, muscle tension, anxiety, nervousness, irritability, and sleep disturbances, just to name a few. Do you currently feel stressed?

I keep talking about minimizing the demands on your time and that as a society we need to stop glorifying “being busy” as a status symbol of success, but are you listening?! We also need to start ditching unhealthy coping mechanisms, like drugs, cigarettes, over or under eating, alcohol and my personal favorite..the art of ignoring your stressors until you have a nervous breakdown.

You guys..can we please try to be proactive instead of reactive already?! I’m not begging you, but pretty damn close, because this is that important!! I’m even going to make it easy and convenient and FREE for you, so that takes away all of your excuses. Here are seven tools and/or apps to keep in your back pocket, and you should be at minimum doing 2-3 of these things in your day to day, and holding on to the rest for those extra stressful days.

1. Headspace-this app reminds me of Notorious BIG and the song Hypnotize. 🎶 sometimes your words just hypnotize me 🎶 This app has helped to hypnotize me both to get to sleep at bedtime, and then back to sleep middle of the night when my brain was ready to party. 🧠

2. YouTube yoga videos-there are SO many videos that it’s likely you could watch a new video each day for the rest of your life. Depending on you and your unique coping, you may need either a restorative gentle video or an intense vinyasa flow. Or maybe you fall in the middle..but just don’t fall in the group that doesn’t take advantage of the free yoga available and go get you some zen! 🧘‍♀️

3. Journaling-Daylio, Jour and Reflectly seem like good journaling apps, or if you’re like me, you can always just grab one of those random notebooks around your house and write it out (don’t act like you don’t have a hundred of them).

4. Music-ok so my AppleMusic isn’t free, but the radio is, or YouTube music videos, or Spotify or Pandora. Make yourself a few playlists..one for high stress and needing some good vibes and high energy, and another for relaxing music to calm your soul.

5. Walking/Running-no app required..just the outdoors or a treadmill. But if you’re looking for coaching, the C25K app or the Nike Run Club are both apps I love and use!! Bonus points for grabbing a dog to take with you, they get stressed to you know.

6. Daily affirmations-I have an app called affirmations, and it’s one of the first things I look at on my phone after I’m up and moving in the morning. I get a new one everyday, and it’s just that daily reminder that you are a bad ass and can handle any of life’s stresses today, so bring it.

7. Reading-I use the Libby app., which syncs with my library card and gets me free ebooks and audiobooks. Nothing like feeling stressed and taking a moment to forget it all and get lost in a good book.

These are all ways to ditch stress and get back to being awesome.

How do you manage stress?

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My top 5 reasons for 🧘‍♀️

I used to have this belief that yogis were all zen af tea sipping vegans (nothing against the zen af tea sipping vegans out there). I also thought yogis could turn themselves into a human pretzel upon demand 🥨 and liked to show off the crazy things they could do, all while judging you for your life choices, that processed food you were eating, and your inability to turn into said pretzel. Let’s be honest..I was super intimidated and turns out I was the judgy one 💁‍♀️.

I have to add a quick depressing back story to explain how I became a yogi. My journey began after not one, not two, but three separate and very traumatic “events” in my life that took a major toll on me emotionally and physically. I will spare you the details, but especially after the third one in my late twenties, I was in a very dark space and time in my life and there were days when I didn’t even think I could (or didn’t even want to) get out of bed. There are probably people I know reading this and thinking that they had no idea this went on in my life. I think it’s important for people to understand that a lot of people out there are fighting a silent or invisible battle every day with mental health or physical disorders that “look fine” or are great at putting on an act for those closest to them. I was desperate for change after each of my traumas, and unfortunately had found some unhealthy coping mechanisms. 😬

Luckily, I got suckered into a Groupon with a friend at a local yoga studio about 8 years ago. I did that first two month trial and was immediately hooked. My reasons were rather shallow at first..I saw all these hot yoga bodies and wanted one, wanted to do some cool pretzel poses, and I also liked yoga pants and owned several that had never seen a day of yoga before. 🤣

Over the years, a lot of things in my life have changed, but Yoga has been a constant and my love has grown and my journey continues to challenge me every day.

It’s not always easy, but here’s the top 5 reasons why I stick with it:

1) STRENGTH-this is not the physical aspect..that’s great and all, but mentally I feel stronger than ever. Yoga is a feeling for me, and it’s one that is truly hard to describe and I’m sure that feeling is different in each yogi. This feeling isn’t an overnight thing..it took me years to get it.

2) COMMUNITY-I have met so many people along my journey and the support they offer to everyone is amazing. I was way off in my initial stereotyping of all yogis, and so glad I live in a place where there is a big yoga community where everyone is welcome.

3) CONVENIENCE-you can literally do yoga almost anywhere at any time..home, at your desk at work, outside, at a studio, etc. I have done yoga on a beach, on a mountain, in a parking lot, my driveway, a training room at work, and a hotel room just to name a few. All you need is a mat, and if you don’t have one, you can still do yoga right on the floor with no equipment needed.

4) FREEISH-there are a lot of resources out there, including classes on YouTube, apps for your phone, or check your local studios for free events or community based donations, or a good deal they are running. I throw on a Yoga with Adrienne video at work during lunchtime with coworkers a few times a week. I love Saturday morning at my local studio (check out Core Balance Yoga Center if you’re near me in KC), and Spring-Fall always has a lot of free outdoor yoga options that I take full advantage of.

5) SELF LOVE-I love my body and all the things it’s capable of, and will always do my best to take care of it. I have said it before, but if you are fortunate enough to physically be able to do yoga, then do it..seriously..so many people would love to be in your shoes. I also do NOT feel guilty one bit for saying that I COME FIRST. My family needs me to take care of myself, and in return, I can take better care of them.

If you do yoga, what are your reasons? If you haven’t tried yoga before, what are your reasons? Have an open mind (no flexibility needed) and give it a try and hopefully I will see you on the mat.

Maybe you will become zen af or learn a cool pose or two in the process.🧘‍♀️

-Namaste

For your viewing pleasure..a few of my favorite yoga memories over the years 😍

24/7

Time to get busy on this blog post for you lovely folks (please reread this sentence at the end of this post and take a second to laugh at how clever my writing really is..really)

What time is it where you are? What are you doing right now? What have you already done? Who were you with? Geez Mindy, why the interrogation? Well, I’m relying on you to answer the age old question..where DID the time go?

I will be your guide on this quest. My name is Mindy, and I’m recovering from the “I’m too busy” lifestyle, and I am also definitely a huge work in progress in that arena. So please don’t get the impression I have this all figured out, because I am as far from perfection as it gets.

What I do have going for me is the realization of a few very important things. 1) Time is literally one of the most valuable things you will ever have. 2) You are the one in control of your time and how you choose to spend it. 3) None of us know how much time we really have, and the way you spend your time today can positively or negatively affect your future. 4) Most of us forget the three things I just mentioned, or at minimum, we take them for granted.

When we are running around “busy” all the time, we are likely missing out on other things happening right under our nose.

Society seems to embrace the busy lifestyle and makes it seem like this is the norm. If you haven’t figured this out about me yet, I am all about challenging these norms and taking a different path. I’m also all about being intentional with my time and finding ways to spend it that align with my values. For example, I value my mental and physical wellbeing, so ya damn right that Yoga is going to bring me value and therefore is a great use of my time.

Let’s stop making it seem like it is success to constantly be busy and running from one activity to the next without a chance to even breathe. A lot of us have kids watching and learning from our example, and a lot of these same kids are the reason we think we have to rush around every day.

I challenge you to examine how you view your time and answer the question..where did your time go? Start by grabbing your paper and pen and just keeping track. Much like the figuring out your budget and money, it starts by writing it down. Take 2 or 3 days and write down what you did with EVERY SINGLE MINUTE. Do you like what you see? If so, great..keep budgeting your time just as you are.

If not, where can you take back your time? What is that one thing you would do “if you just had the time?” Remember, YOU are the one in control of your time and how you choose to spend it. So thank you for choosing to spend a few of your 1,440 minutes today reading my post. 😉