Thoughts From Denise On The Fitness Journey Over 50

Discover More Ways to De-Stress (Guest Post)

Today we are pleased to bring you Dena Clayton’s advice on how to de-stress and promote self-love. She offers some fantastic advice that I feel will help turn your grumpy self into a loving self.  Enjoy. Denise

An important component to being fit in body, mind, and spirit is to experiment with ways to bring more calmness to your life.

My Loving Self vs. My Grumpy Self

I have learned through my own experiences that when I take care of myself by spending time relaxing, I like who I am most of the time.  I tend to feel loving toward the people around me and even toward myself.  On the flip side, when stress is piling up and I allow myself to think “I don’t have time to do something relaxing,” that is when I feel (and act) grumpy – and self-love is in very short supply. I am not fun to be around when that happens.

Let’s face it, there are going to be circumstances that have stressful results. While we can’t plan for or avoid every potentially difficult situation, we DO have the opportunity to find several stress reducers that work. The lists of what approaches are a good fit will be unique for each of us.


Stress Calming Strategies

Reading through and asking yourself the following questions will help begin your list of customized stress minimizers.

    • Do you have any hobbies? If so, what are they? How do you feel when you are engaged in your hobby? (Examples: gardening, working out, crocheting, reading, walking)
    • What childhood activities do you recall being happy doing, either by yourself or with others? When were you so absorbed in what you were doing that you were surprised when someone said it was time for lunch, and it seemed only a few minutes since you had breakfast? (Examples: finger painting, skits, sports, sewing, camping)
    • Are there any classes or workshops you have attended that specifically address peacefulness as a desired outcome? If so, was it enjoyable for you? Did you experience calmness? (Examples: yoga, meditation, tai chi)
    • What are some healthy ways you give yourself a treat – or have in the past? (Examples: soaking in a bubble bath with essential oils, watching a funny movie, going to your favorite massage therapist, listening or dancing to music you like)
    • Where are you when you feel safe and relaxed? (Examples: on a beach, in a meditation garden, in a special place in your home, by a waterfall)
    • Are you aware of signals in your body that let you know you are getting stressed? (Examples: tightness in neck or shoulders or lower back, breathing becomes shallow and faster)
    • When you notice you are beginning to feel stressed or you realize you are in a stressful situation, do you already have  strategies that help you decompress?

Your Go-To List of De-Stressors

You might jot answers to the above questions, then rate each activity. Place a number “1” beside each one you feel especially drawn toward, that quickens your heart, or that you have a deep sense will bring you peaceful results. Place 2’s, 3’s, 4’s, etc., to indicate how likely you are to do them, at least in the near future.

To begin – – Select three of your top activities. Experiment with them. Practice in times of low stress so the method will become easy to access in high stress moments.

Once you are fairly comfortable with the first three, experiment with more of the strategies over time.

Maybe you’d like make a pact with close friends to check out new methods. Each could commit to playing with at least one strategy for the upcoming week, then report to each other how it’s going. You might do the reporting by text, email, group phone call, or meet together for a healthy meal. Support one another in your endeavors to bring more calmness to your lives. Next, rinse and repeat (= each chooses another approach for the following week, all listen to one another’s successes and struggles, and decide on the choices for the next week).

My Own Favorite Quick-Fix

STRETCH & YAWN! Yes, it is so simple. Each of these actions has been scientifically proven to initiate the relaxation response in the body. Stretching and any type of deep breathing, including yawning, helps the body begin to relax. One of the great miracles of these bodies of ours is that they are designed to self-repair when in a state of relaxation. Every cell automatically begins to heal itself during relaxation. Stretching and yawning fit together so easily. I enjoy doing them together, and I share this dynamic duo whenever I teach about stress relief.

What Works for You? Do you have favorite techniques to promote relaxation in your life? What strategies help you halt stress in its tracks? Are you considering any new activities to explore?

This post is from Dena Clayton, owner of and author/editor of the Love Revealed Series. In addition to the Love Revealed Series, Dena offers grief support, dance/movement therapy, cancer guidance, Samyama mindfulness meditation, and inner exploration. Find her on Facebook or Twitter to learn more or to connect with her.

Do you have a story to tell?  Please contact me at  You never know who you may help on their fitness journey.

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