Dr. Kim Foster

When I was a new mom—sleep-deprived and struggling under the overwhelm of first-time motherhood—I would go on a daily walk, pushing my stroller to the closest Starbucks. After a short, numb stroll that I barely remembered I would shuffle up to the counter and order a venti macchiato with caramel drizzle and lots of foam. I’d then point to an overlarge muffin with chocolate chunks or streusel topping or whatever looked good that day. At home, later in the afternoon when my son was napping, I’d bake cookies and brownies galore.

This was something I’d never done before. At the time I said to my own mother: if I have to be stuck at home, I’m going to be the best damn stay-at-home mom there ever was. This included competitive baking, apparently. (I was not in a good emotional place.) To make matters worse, my son was barely on solid food at this stage, and my husband has never had much of a baked-goods tooth, so the only person eating all those cookies? Me.

After many months like this, I noticed my weight pushing north as I slowly regained everything I’d lost after childbirth. But I didn’t change my eating habits. Didn’t stop indulging in my daily Starbucks fix, didn’t stop gobbling down the treats. I had these thoughts: I deserve it. I need this. Life is hard enough; the least I can do is treat myself to one little comfort.

And the truth is, those treats did make me feel a little better—temporarily. I wasn’t actually dealing with my issues, but I had a sense I was doing something positive by pampering myself.

I was wrong.

THE TROUBLE WITH EMOTIONAL EATING

Julia was a patient of mine at my previous family practice in Vancouver. She was a 32-year-old single woman in a stressful job, struggling her way through a challenging dating market. Every disappointing date or rough day at work found her ordering a pizza, grabbing takeout, or eating a pan of brownies.
Of course, every time she did that, she wasn’t really dealing with the deeper issues, and she ended up in a downward spiral of guilt, shame, and self-blame.

Emotional eating can sabotage the best-laid plans for healthy lifestyle change and weight loss. It’s commonly defined as the act of turning to food for stress relief, comfort, or as a reward—not as a means to satisfy hunger.

The occasional use of food as celebration or comfort isn’t a problem. But when we use food as our main coping strategy it can lead to trouble. For some people, the immediate reaction to any negative emotion (anger, loneliness, anxiety, sadness, boredom, fatigue) is to go to fridge. Not only is this an unhealthy way of eating and using food—and can lead to significant weight issues—it also means that the underlying problem and negative feelings aren’t actually being addressed. When we eat to fill an emotional need, rather than to fuel our bodies, we often end up feeling worse—both in the short term (immediate guilt) and by compounding the real problem through avoidance.

With my patient, Julia, we started to talk about strategies around eating, but also about the deeper issues. We discussed her dissatisfaction at work, and she began looking into career change opportunities. We also explored her frustration in the dating market. Ultimately, she decided to spend some time focusing on herself instead of investing so much energy in finding a mate—for the time being. Which meant signing up for belly dancing classes she’d always wanted to take, and pursuing her interest in interior design. She found these changes empowering, and her self-esteem climbed as a result.

Moreover, I worked with Julia to help her develop a strategy for dealing with emotional cravings. She started tracking her eating habits and how they connected with her emotions by using a Food & Mood Journal (click here for a free downloadable version). She began studying mindfulness, took a 6-week course on mindfulness meditation, and became much more self-aware as a result. She began cultivating the ability to pause when her emotional hunger hit, to recognize the cravings for what they were, and to substitute a much better activity, like going out for a brisk walk or calling a friend.

Do you tend to fall prey to emotional eating? Do you eat to numb the pain, to avoid bad feelings, or as a reward?

Let’s examine some common traps and triggers for emotional eating:

EMOTIONAL EATING TRIGGERS

Boredom

There’s a void. You have a vague feeling of restlessness or purposelessness…so you fill up that void with food. Sound familiar?

Procrastination

You know you have to do something, you’re not looking forward to it, or not sure where to start…so instead you go to the kitchen to fix yourself a snack.

Social influence

Family dinners often mean being surrounded by well-meaning people who love you but insist you have another helping, finish off the last bite, take a little more. Or maybe it’s a social setting, you’re feeling uncomfortable…so you head straight for the food table and busy your hands with food.

Habits from childhood

When you were a child, you were rewarded with food. Ice cream for a good report card, perhaps? Or you were soothed with food—remember those brownies after a bad day at school?

Stress

You’re feeling stressed and overwhelmed…so you head straight to the freezer and grab the first pint of ice cream you see. Sound familiar? High levels of stress triggers cortisol release—one of our stress hormones–and cortisol triggers a desire for sweet, fatty, salty food.

Uncomfortable emotion

You’re feeling lonely, or sad, or angry at something that happened. But rather than truly feel those feelings, which are uncomfortable, you dive into a bag of chips and numb yourself with food.

Reflex, habit, or association

Do you have dessert because you think it’s supposed to happen? Is it hard for you to enjoy your afternoon tea without some kind of sweet treat? Do you believe you enjoy a movie more with a giant tub of popcorn on your lap?

Fatigue

You’re feeling tired and sluggish, so you reach for a sweet treat or a sugar-laden caffeine drink with whip cream on top to give you that boost or hit of sugar and calories. Sound familiar?

So tell me: did any of those resonate with you? If they did, you may have an emotional eating issue to tackle. It was something I realized about myself during those early months of motherhood.

So what did I do about my budding emotional eating problem?

I saw a counselor and started talking about my postpartum struggles. Instead of feeding my emotions with brownies, I started taking an honest look at what I wanted to be doing in life. Together with my therapist, I began tackling the bigger issues. It wasn’t easy, but it was the process that helped me realize I needed new direction. That direction took me toward writing, back into a part-time medical practice, and ultimately toward a career that blended my passions in the most wonderful, authentic way.

I found other ways to embrace my season as a stay at home mom—besides baking muffins like I was running a bakery—and I started exercising again, doing more yoga, and finding other ways to relax and cope with the trials of new motherhood.

The good news: my weight stabilized and I started feeling much healthier. I found I didn’t have quite so much need for all those goodies. Now, I actually see my brief stint with emotional eating as a positive, because it helped illuminate the things that weren’t working in my life. It started me on a journey toward the life I truly wanted.

That baby whose stroller I used to push to Starbucks? He’s now 12 years old. His brother is about to turn 7. And they have a much happier, more balanced mother who—while she certainly loves her morning coffee—doesn’t need heaps of unhealthy goodies to feel complete.

FREE BONUS: If you struggle with emotional eating (or you’re a health coach who works with clients on this), one of the best ways of tuning into your habits is by keeping a food & mood journal. I’ve created a free, downloadable PDF to help you do just that! Click the button below to grab your copy.

Download my printable Food & Mood Journal PDF

When I was sixteen, I was obsessed with nutrition. It was the 80s, and nutrition at that time was all about the evils of cholesterol. I recall stirring a pot of oatmeal (made from real oats!) for the boys I was babysitting, preaching to them about the dangers of cholesterol and what it did to your arteries, informing them that oat bran had recently been shown to lower cholesterol.

They were 5 and 3.

There’s a chance I overshot my audience.

But I wasn’t discouraged. Being the 80s, it was also fitness boom time. My mom had an 8-track of the Jane Fonda workout (yes, I am *that* old) so I would pull on my tights and legwarmers and get to work. The 20-Minute Workout was my daily afterschool routine. (Remember that? Three more, two more…)

I was fairly rubbish at most team sports, but a pretty good swimmer, so I became a lifeguard. In lifeguard training I learned all about CPR and hypothermia and the physiology of heart attacks. In my spare time, I continued to learn everything I could about nutrition. I spent a lot of energy trying to convince the rest of my family to stop eating cookies and french fries.

Looking back, it seems somewhat inevitable that I went into medicine.

Maybe you share my obsession? But perhaps, for various reasons, you didn’t follow a similar path to med school or other traditional health care field. Or maybe your interest came at a later life stage, once you already had an established career—after a health scare, perhaps? Maybe you’ve always been enthusiastic about health and wellness but were never sure how to make a living out of it.

Whatever the factors that shaped your path to this stage, the point is: you’re here now.

CHARTING YOUR COURSE

If you’re reading this post, I’m guessing you’re at least intrigued by the idea of turning your interest into something more. Maybe you’re in a soul-sucking office job. Maybe you’ve fantasized about ditching that job and pursuing your passion—truly pursuing it—all the way to a meaningful, satisfying (and profitable!) career in the booming wellness space.

Not sure which pathway to follow within the wellness industry? No problem. I’ve got a bunch of ideas for you.

There are the traditional routes, of course—like doctor, nurse, physiotherapist—but even if those don’t resonate with you, there are almost limitless possibilities otherwise. Wellness may be the perfect field for a creative career approach—you can create a “portfolio career” that combines any and all of your passions.

In fact, I know many people who have done just that.

A LITTLE INSPIRATION

Annabel is a very good friend who has been a long-time yoga instructor and author, who has also carved out a niche for herself speaking and writing about wellness, facilitating retreats and workshops…in addition to being a playwright whose musical is performing in several cities right now.

Deb is a journalist by training who, together with her entrepreneur husband, created a highly successful line of vitamins and supplements, then sold that business, and has recently launched Boomer Nutrition.

Susan, another good friend and fellow family doctor, after growing disillusioned with traditional practice shed her white coat and stethoscope and followed a path into life coaching, writing, and speaking. Oh, and professional flamenco dancing.

Lianne is a woman I know who trained as a nutritionist and then started a company called Sprout Right after her first daughter was born in 2003. She now works as a consultant and coach, specializing in infant and toddler nutrition, teaching Mommy Chef classes, and making media appearances as an expert in her field.

Alanna created her company, Good Night Sleep Site, after going through sleep struggles with her first child. She started by doing her own research but ultimately became a certified sleep consultant, and now consults and coaches parents and families on her area of expertise: healthy sleep!

Instead of following the typical path for dietitians (ie. working in a hospital or a clinic), Sarah, a Registered Dietitian, became a coach and consultant in the field of pediatric nutrition. She’s also a writer, speaker, blogger, and makes media appearances on the topic.

Casey, one of my oldest friends from high school, trained in chiropractic. Again, instead of merely practicing as a chiropractor, has opened a multidisciplinary wellness center, but she also teaches boot camps and fitness classes.

You’ll notice some of these career trajectories required formal education and training. But many didn’t. Have I got you thinking outside the box yet? Here, let me give you some more ideas.

In fairly random order, here are 50 possible careers in the health & wellness field:

  • Yoga Instructor
  • Acupuncturist
  • Social Worker
  • Registered Dietitian
  • Spa owner/operator
  • Freelance Health Writer
  • Physician (M.D.)
  • Juice Bar Owner/Operator
  • Personal Trainer
  • Health Coach
  • Nurse
  • Ayurvedic Practitioner
  • Kinesiologist
  • Hypnotherapist
  • TCM practitioner
  • Corporate wellness consultant
  • Doula
  • Chiropractor
  • Entrepreneur: creator of a health food line
  • Holistic Nutritionist
  • Make a line of vitamins/supplements
  • Physiotherapist
  • Naturopathic Doctor (N.D.)
  • Digestive coach
  • Pharmacist
  • Registered Massage Therapist
  • Meditation coach
  • Aromatherapist
  • Wellness speaker
  • Designer of a line of yoga/fitness clothing
  • Clinical Psychologist
  • Occupational Therapist
  • Health blogger
  • Entrepreneur: healthy meal prep/delivery service
  • Wellness Retreat Coordinator
  • Personal trainer
  • Life coach
  • Sleep coach
  • Art Therapist
  • Midwife
  • Stress coach
  • Sport nutritionist
  • Holistic nutritionist
  • Child & family nutritionist
  • Personal chef
  • Mindfulness Teacher
  • Homeopath
  • Herbalist
  • Counselor
  • Pilates Instructor

In truth, there are way more options than I’ve listed here. But I’m hoping this list, and my stories, have got your juices flowing! (And please feel free to add any others in the comments below!)

If you enjoyed this article, and would love to learn more about the pathway to becoming a health coach…head over here next.

 

How To Cultivate Mindfulness In Your Everyday Life


When I was a medical student, I loved surgery. The operating room experience is like nothing else, and there’s something deeply satisfying about solving a problem so definitively. Tumor? You cut it out. Infection? You drain it. Voila. Problem solved.

Also, there’s the ritual of the OR: the washing of hands, the donning of sterile gown and gloves, the counting of instruments…always performed in the same unhurried, systematic rhythm. There’s a mental centering that happens while the physical preparation is underway. Then, in the operating room itself, there is an unmistakable immediacy—a total immersion in the moment. When the surgery is underway, there is no option but to be completely present. Someone’s life depends on it. You’re all in. It’s not a place where your mind can drift—to what you’re making for dinner later, or that funny bit in the movie you saw last night—it’s all about what’s happening here and now.

Does that sound…familiar?

Many people have heard the term “mindfulness”. It’s become a hot topic. Maybe you’ve noticed this and you’ve been wondering: what is it all about?

“Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.”

~Buddha

THE BENEFITS OF MINDFULNESS

In a sense, we all walk around with a veil over our eyes, existing too much in our own heads. What proportion of your time do you spend thinking about the past: replaying previous events, ruminating over what happened yesterday, last week, five minutes ago? And how much of your time do you spend thinking of the future: planning your next steps, running through your to-do list, anticipating future events?

In contrast, when you fully live in the present moment, truly experiencing the now, that’s mindfulness.

What the ancients have long known about the benefits of mindfulness we are now beginning to prove scientifically.

Research has shown a multitude of benefits:

  • reduced stress
  • enhanced focus
  • improved working memory
  • decreased emotional reactivity
  • reduced rumination
  • improved relationship satisfaction
  • reduced anxiety
  • improved mood

As great as all that sounds, it’s not always easy to practice mindfulness. Our brains are designed to think, to learn, to plan. Those are the qualities that gave us our earth-shaking evolutionary advantage. We could strategize. We discovered we could plant crops and later harvest them for food. We learned from mistakes and adjusted our methods. All those capabilities are housed in our prefrontal cortex—the sophisticated part of our brains that makes us uniquely human. We hardly want to dispense with that part of our cognitive function.

But at the same time, all that thinking and reflecting and planning without pause is just…too much. The cost? Never living in the moment. Never living in the now.

How often do you forget if you locked your front door? When you go back to check, it’s done. Just like usual. Did I turn off the oven? Did I put the milk away? We do these tasks on autopilot, thinking about something else, not really paying attention to what we’re doing. That’s the opposite of mindfulness. And it leads to a life only partly lived. Food barely tasted, conversations barely attended to, pleasures barely savored. In contrast, there is an incredible liberty and sweet peace that comes from being fully present in the moment.

FULL IMMERSION IN THE MOMENT

One of my main passions in life is travel, and I think mindfulness has a lot to do with why. When you’re traveling, you’re seeing everything with eyes wide open. You’re totally immersed with all senses, savoring every drop of the experience.

When I backpacked through Thailand many years ago, one of the places I visited was the Wat Phra That Doi Suthep temple in Chiang Mai. I can still vividly recall the experience: the 309-step climb to the temple at the top of a mountain, the sunlit courtyard, the smell of incense and flowers, the sounds of hushed praying and chanting, the coolness of the tile floor on my bare feet as I slowly explored the temple. Without fully realizing it I was practicing mindfulness—something I think a lot of us do naturally when traveling. It’s what makes travel such a heightened experience.

But what if we could have the same caliber of experience during our daily lives?

“The real meditation is how you live your life.”

~Jon Kabat-Zinn

MINDFULNESS IN EVERYDAY MOMENTS

It’s no secret we live in stressful times. Everyone seems to be rushed, “crazy busy”, and anxiety-ridden. Technology plays a role in this, to be sure. We have a lot more stuff constantly pulling at our attention. Now more than ever, cultivating mindfulness is critical.

There are two key ways mindfulness can be integrated into your life. One is through formal meditation practice—which I’m not going to address here, specifically. It’s an important topic, and I do plan to delve into it in future posts, but for today we’re going to talk about another facet of mindfulness: the everyday, simple, moment-by-moment practice.

It’s the sort of practice that doesn’t require a gong, a meditation cushion, or any other setup. It can happen anywhere, while you’re doing anything. Washing the dishes. Eating. Drinking tea.

Let’s take the tea example: next time you’re drinking tea (or your hot beverage of choice), instead of mindlessly sipping and thinking of what you need to do later in the day, attend to the warmth of the mug in your hand. Focus on the smell of the tea as you raise it to your mouth. Concentrate on the tea’s taste, the warmth as you swallow, the feeling of comfort that follows.

Ideally, you want to find many opportunities throughout the day to check in and practice mindfulness, and you might want to consider some tools to help you in this pursuit. There are high-tech tools (apps on your phone), and low tech tools (a piece of string tied around your wrist). Some people simply make a habit of creating mindfulness triggers for themselves, like every time they cross a threshold, every time they open a door, or another similar everyday moment. One of the cleverest tips I’ve heard recently was this mindfulness trigger: every time you hear someone’s smartphone make a sound (a call, a notification), take that opportunity to do a brief mindfulness check-in, and take three deep breaths.

“The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh

CULTIVATING MINDFULNESS FOR A LIFE WELL-LIVED

I now know the pleasure of mindfulness does not require a plane ticket to Thailand or a surgical rotation as a medical student. Mindfulness can be found in everyday moments, too. It just takes a little practice.

Part of me wonders what life would have been like had I selected surgery as a career path instead of family medicine (as I was strongly tempted to do). I do miss the operating room atmosphere. But I have found so many other ways to introduce mindfulness into my life—which I think is the actual legacy my surgical rotations provided.

And proves that some of the best lessons I learned in med school had nothing to do with anatomy or physiology.

If you enjoyed this article and would like to hear more about how you can improve your own health and pursue your passion for wellness….I’ve created something for you.
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I know it’s been quiet around here lately, but there are some changes afoot.

Behind the scenes over the past several months I’ve been doing a lot of soul-searching, dreaming, and planning…and I’ve finally got some things figured out. When I started writing this blog back in 2011 I was simply doing it for fun, and because it seemed the perfect marriage of two things I love: health and writing.

In the beginning I didn’t have a lot of direction, however. I had no real goals. But over the years, and especially recently, I’ve become clearer on a few things. I have a much better understanding of myself, my interests, and my role in the wellness space at large. So I’m ready to pivot. I’m ready to dust off this website and get a fresh start. Very soon, I’ll be ready to re-launch this blog *plus* some new, exciting things I’ve been wanting to do for a long, long time.

If you’re as passionate about wellness as I am (and, so you know, some of my favorite things to talk about are: nutrition, happiness, yoga, running, sleep, clean eating, health coaching, meditation, achieving a healthy weight, mindfulness…and so much more!), then you may be interested in what’s coming down the pipeline. Watch this space for some good, juicy stuff–just around the corner.

(And if you’re curious and don’t want to miss out, I’d be happy to add you to my list of people who will be the first to hear about everything I’m cooking up!)

Keep Me In The Loop

A Sneaky Trick For Dealing With Cravings

popcorn

I love collecting tricks and tips to help people stay healthy and maintain a happy weight. Click through to read one of my all-time faves: a very easy trick (…and fashionable, to boot).

Here are some other posts that I put in the category of “weight loss ninja”:

healthy summerWow–that was quite a hiatus. I guess I got a little distracted with all the craziness around launching a book…

Anyway, back to business. And in particular: staying healthy this summer. In the summer we get a respite (for the most part) from all those pesky cold and flu bugs…but the season carries its own health challenges and concerns.

Like mosquitoes! On Yummy Mummy Club last week I wrote about how to tackle this perennial summer issue. Here’s how to win the war against mosquito bites.

And while you’re at it, here are some other summer health posts to check out:

Sun Myths & Facts For The Whole Family

Keeping Kids Healthy This Summer: Poison Ivy

Happy & healthy summer, lovelies!

dark-circles-under-eyesAre the bags under your eyes bigger than the purse you carry? Are your dark circles heading into Rocky Horror Picture Show territory?

The tissues around our eyes are a highly responsive area of our faces–all our woes, illnesses, and sins show up there.

On YMC I posted a two-part series recently, on a very pesky health/beauty problem: under-eye bags, and their nasty little bedfellow, under-eye shadows. In each article, I break down the common causes for each problem and–more importantly–what you can do.

I hope you find them useful!

For more skin & beauty posts, read these next:

health secrets of GreeceThe people of Greece have figured a lot of things out when it comes to knowing how to live a happy, healthy life. It makes sense–Greece is the birthplace of Hippocrates, the father of Western medicine.

Have you ever been to Greece? My husband and I went many years ago, in the BC years (Before Children, of course). We started in Athens and then spent a week island-hopping. And if you’ve never been–go. It’s absolutely gorgeous: sun-washed, distinctive architecture, sparkling sea, incredibly laid-back culture, fabulous food. If it isn’t paradise…well, it comes pretty close.

That said, if a trip to Greece isn’t on the horizon for you anytime soon, the least you can do is steal their secrets for a life well-lived. (It’s not like we haven’t done it before…read this, and this, and this for previous Passport to Health posts.)

So what are the Greek secrets to a healthy life? Some fairly simple stuff, as it turns out. One of the most interesting is this: napping!

Napping for health

In Greece (like many Mediterranean and warm-weather countries, like Spain, Egypt, and Italy), it’s a common thing to take a mid-afternoon siesta. To their benefit.

Researchers have cottoned on to this health habit. In a study of over 23,000 Greek men & women between ages 20 and 86, over the course of 6 years, they found that people who took a 30-minute siesta at least 3 times a week had a 37% lower risk of heart-related death. Other studies have corroborated this: countries where siestas are common tend to have lower levels of heart disease.

One theory why napping helps keep your heart healthy? A regular nap may help you relax more and have lower stress levels.  Or, perhaps nappers are generally getting more rest, more sleep…and there’s plenty of research to now show that getting sufficient sleep is associated with lowered blood pressure, lower rates of obesity, and improved brain health.

“Let your food be your medicine, and medicine be your food.”

Sounds like a mantra for the explosive trend toward organic food, food cures, and holisitic nutrition, right? But that quote belongs to Hippocrates. 4th century BC, baby. Western medicine, you guys.

The Greeks have long practiced this principle, and now the research in favor of the Mediterranean diet is huge. Much of it surrounds the impressive benefit to our hearts. A meta-analysis published in the American Journal of Medicine analyzed the results of several studies that pitted the Mediterranean diet and low-fat diets head-to-head. They found that the Mediterranean diet was more effective for weight loss than a low-fat diet, and brought greater improvements to blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol.

The Mediterranean diet has also been shown to protect against the “big C”: many studies have shown the Mediterranean diet to reduce cancer risk.

So what, exactly, do you eat if you’re trying to go Mediterranean? Read this.

Then there’s all that walking…

Like many European cultures, walking is a way of life. When my husband and I visited the island of Santorini, we rented a Vespa one day. (Sidebar–this was so fun, I can’t even tell you. Zipping around a sun-bleached island, making pit stops at little cafes and beaches…). But when we started on the steep hill up to a famous archaeological site, which involved some rather sharp switchbacks…well, people were walking at a faster pace than we were motoring up. They were passing us on the switchbacks. This might have been a little embarrassing. Just maybe.

Anyway, the walking thing is a big deal in Greece. And I think we all know this is a good idea. Here’s how to incorporate more walking in your life.

For more Passport to Health articles, read these next:

Passport to Health: French Paradox

Passport to Slim: Weight Loss Secrets from Around The World

Passport to Health Part Deux

Passport to Health: Norway

Hammock on BeachI’m preparing a workshop called Stress Detox that I’m giving next week, so I’ve been thinking about stress a lot lately. It’s a topic I’ve written about many times in the past…but looking back on my old posts, I think I’ve neglected to give an overall view of my approach to stress management.

In the past few years, after much reading and real-life experience helping patients, I’ve come to feel that there are three major spheres when it comes to dealing with your stress. Three types of approaches–and, ideally, you want to work on all three.

1. Cultivate The Skills Of Short-Term Stress Busting.

No matter how you’ve structured your life, you’re always going to encounter stress. Life is unpredictable. And, some situations can’t be changed (see #2). But that doesn’t mean you have to suffer when stressful stuff happens. Short term stress-busters are skills that you can learn. These are things that you can do, in the immediate moment, to help cope with your stress reaction. Here are some of those coping strategies. And here. And here.

2. Change Stressful Situations.

If your stress is out of control, there’s a good chance something’s gotta change. Maybe you’re overcommitted. Or trapped in a bad relationship. Struggling in a toxic workplace. These sorts of external stressors need to be changed, because no matter how many yoga classes and breathing exercises you do, you’re not going to be able to fully manage your stress until you make some changes. Of course, easier said than done. If you’re feeling stuck, you may need to talk it out with a counsellor. Sometimes, of course, things can’t be changed. Your situation is what it is, and you simply have to deal with it. That’s when you really need to work on #1 and #3.

3. Create A Stress-Resilient Lifestyle.

Here, I’m talking about your long-term strategy. Because, let’s face it, shit is always going to happen. And it’s not good enough to just cope with stress when it hits you in the face. Better, is to give yourself some resilience, some stress hardiness. How do you protect yourself from having a meltdown with every little blip? You shore up your reserves. With sufficient sleep, regular exercise, a healthy diet. Here are some other ways to build a stress-resilient lifestyle. And here.

So, how about you? What do you find helps the most with your stress? What are your coping strategies?