Welcome back to our Saturday Reset of Spring Clean Your Life!

We are spring cleaning our stress levels and our kitchens this week!

Spring Clean Stress

We are halfway through and we’ve been working hard to spring clean our habits, our bodies, our brains and our thoughts. Today, we’re looking a little further at our stress levels and our symptoms of stress.

As we all know, the funny thing about stress is that even when we don't acknowledge it or want to acknowledge it, stress will make itself heard .Our body and emotions will tell us in ways that we may not even notice at first. Or, we may become so accustomed to our stress responses that we forget that they're telling us that we're stressed. We can simply get used to not feeling great. Today, we're taking a look at both the physical and psychological symptoms of stress. By noticing the symptoms of stress, we’ll be better at spring cleaning habits or situations that are causing us stress as well as using our tools to cope.

Remember, stress can be caused by both positive events like the birth of a child and negative events such as the loss of a job or death of someone we love. Whatever the cause of the stress, the symptoms are similar. Take a look at the list below of common symptoms of stress. 

Simply count up how many of the following have you experienced in the past 2 weeks?

  • Fatigue or tiredness

  • Pounding heart

  • Rapid pulse

  • Increased Perspiration  

  • Rapid breathing

  • Aching neck/shoulders

  • Low back pain

  • Grinding teeth

  • Clenching jaw

  • Hives or skin rash

  • Headaches

  • Cold hands or feet

  • Tightness in chest

  • Nausea

  • Diarrhea/constipation

  • Stomach discomfort

  • Nail biting

  • Twitches or tics

  • Dry mouth

  • Colds or flu

  • Lack of energy

  • Overeating/Undereating

  • Feeling helpless/hopeless

  • Excessive drinking

  • Excessive smoking

  • Excessive spending

  • Heavy drug/medication use

  • Feeling upset

  • Feeling nervous/anxious

  • Increased irritability

  • Worrisome thoughts

  • Impatience

  • Feelings of depression

  • Loss of sexual interest

  • Feeling angry

  • Sleep difficulties

  • Forgetfulness

  • Racing/intrusive thoughts

  • Feeling restless

  • Difficulty concentrating

  • Periods of crying

  • Frequent absences from work

  • Withdrawal from activities you typically enjoy

Adding It Up
How'd you do? Did you find that you had some stress symptoms that you hadn't noticed? Tally up how many of the 42 symptoms you checked off. 

The higher the number, the higher the likelihood that stress is having a negative impact on your life. You probably didn't need me to tell you that though! 

As you go through your day today and this week, begin to notice when some of your signs of stress arise. Make a mental note or an actual note of it. Then, using some of the tools we’ve already discussed in our program, think of some tools in your toolbox that you can use to either eliminate the stressor, reduce the stressor or boost your stress buffering tools to cope with the stressor.

When we we check-in this weekend, let’s also talk about how you did on this assessment.

Now, we’re off to spring clean the kitchen! Notice if you have any of the above symptoms while you’re spring cleaning too!

Spring Clean Your Kitchen

One of the big factors in healthy eating is whether our kitchen is a joy to be in and cook in. Healthy food choices tend to be made in our kitchen, including the decision whether to cook dinner or go out to eat. Research has shown that the more meals we prepare for ourselves, the healthier our diets typically are. And, home cooking tends to be much lower in salt, sugar, and fat. 

So, today, let's create a kitchen that you want to use. Remember, if your counter space is full, it's harder to cook. Your counter-tops are usually more cluttered when your cupboards are full of stuff. And, if you don't know what ingredients are on-hand, you're much more likely to skip cooking and instead just grab some takeout. This challenge is all about creating a joyful kitchen. If for some reason your kitchen doesn't need attention, head to the garage or a closet. 

  1. Let's get started! When tackling the kitchen, pay special attention to the following areas:

    1. Spices: When sorting your spices, keep in mind that spices begin to lose their flavor after 6 months. If it's been there for 10 years, it's time to toss it. Also, try to organize your spices so that the ones you use most are easy to reach.

    2. Pots/Pans/Appliances/Gadgets: They all take up space. If you haven't used it in a long time, decide whether it's really worth the kitchen real estate. 

    3. Manuals: If you find manuals to appliances, put them aside and then place them in a folder.

    4. Food Storage Containers:  These can easily multiply. Look for containers that are worn out, stained, or damaged and recycle them. If you have containers without a lid or lids without a container, toss them. Odds are slim you'll use them again.

    5. Recipes:  When you find random recipes, be honest and decide if you'll ever cook the item. If so, put it in a pile. When you're finished, place them in a folder or binder.

    6. Take a Food Inventory:  When we're not sure what's in our closets, we tend to buy more of the same item. Quickly scan your food closets and take stock of what you have. Put any duplicate items on the same shelf. If you have kids, this is a great activity for them. 

    7. Disinfect:  Look for places that germs can collect - sink, dishwasher, garbage disposal, sponges, etc- and aim to get rid of them. 

    8. Give your garbage disposal a cleaning by tossing in that lemon you used at dinner with some salt and baking soda and running the disposal. 

    9. Clean the edges and handle of your dishwasher. You can also toss your sponge in the dishwasher or microwave it for a minute to kill any bacteria.

    10. Don't forget to disinfect one of the germiest places in the kitchen -the handle of your fridge.

    11. Be Efficient: If you're able to vacuum the coils on the back of your fridge, you may be able to improve the fridge's efficiency by 20%.

    12. Tackle the Fridge: Be sure to have a trash bag and recycling container nearby.

    • Toss anything that has gone bad.

    • Wipe up any spills from milk, juice, condiments, etc.

    • Wipe out the produce drawer.

    • Look for containers with unidentified food, especially in the freezer.

    • If something has freezer burn, toss it. 

    • Rinse out the jars that can be recycled and toss them in the recycling container.

    One tip to help save you from buying another jar of peanut butter when you already have 3, try taking a picture on your phone of your fridge and pantry. It's not a perfect method. But, the next time you're at the store and can't remember what you have, you can take a quick look. You just need to remember to update the picture. There are also apps out there that can help too!

    Alright, let's do this. Set the timer for 60 minutes. 

    Ready? Set. Go!