by | Sep 1, 2013 | 18 comments

Are you enjoying a long weekend for Labor Day?  I hope so!  We debated going out of town for the weekend, but ended up staying in Dallas, mainly because a weekend full of no plans sounded SO good … and it is!  Every once in a while, I think we all need a few days to decompress and kick stress to the curb.  keep-calm-and-kick-stress(picture source)

Whether it’s work, family, major life decisions, health, or anything else, almost all of us lead stressful lives, and many of  us aren’t great at managing its impact on our bodies.  You’ve probably heard that too much stress is “bad for you,” but have you ever wondered why, or thought about whether you are dealing with too much stress yourself?

  • When your body is stressed, it produces a hormone called cortisol as part of its “fight or flight” response.  Cortisol immediately raises your blood pressure and blood sugar levels, and if you are chronically stressed, these effects can build up over time.
  • The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism recently reported results of a study that found study participants in the highest quarter of cortisol levels had three times the risk of heart disease and diabetes as those in the lowest quarter of cortisol levels.
  • A Spanish study showed that those who had a stressful year faced four times the risk of having a stroke compared to those who didn’t have a stressful year (incidentally, having a Type A personality, and smoking, also increased the risk of stroke).
  • Stress also contributes to belly fat – cortisol increases your appetite and causes fat storage around your abdomen … bummer!

So what am I doing this weekend to kick stress to the curb?  Here are 7 things I’m doing … I hope you’re finding some things that relax YOU as well!

  1. Sleep.  Like I’ve said a few times now, you can’t “catch up” on sleep, but getting a good night’s sleep sure does make you feel amazing, doesn’t it?  For me, getting a good night’s sleep reduces stress and helps me put my “troubles” into perspective.
  2. Cook.  I’m not the best cook in the world by any means, but I really enjoy experimenting in the kitchen, and I love taking the time to prepare delicious and healthy food.  It makes me feel like my life is in balance (especially since I don’t get to cook during the week), relaxes me, and helps me improve!  This weekend, I’ve been experimenting with a lot of recipes from other bloggers, and it’s been fun! labor day cooking
  3. Exercise.  I’m sure this one isn’t shocking to you!  I’ve talked several times about how exercise can help reduce stress and anxiety, and it sure does that for me.  I’ve been running, of course, but I also did an interval workout and a few Barre3 videos.  I’ve been thinking about creating a new page on the blog that logs my daily workouts as several other bloggers do, so let me know if you’re interested.
  4. Garden.  I tried to plant a rooftop for the first time back in May, and the Texas heat got the most of it (but the basil rocked!).  Even though it still seems scorchingly hot in Dallas, several online tools told me that this was the weekend to re-plant for fall vegetables, so plant I did!  Fingers crossed for some more success :). gardening
  5. Spend time with those you care about most. Even though shopping isn’t my favorite activity (I know, who am I?), I love spending time with my family, so as soon as I hit “post” on this, I’m headed out to shop the Labor Day sales with my mom!  I feel so lucky to live close to family.  I’ve also spent a lot of time with Kevin – we don’t get to see each other during the week, so the weekends are full of quality time together.  We’re both introverts, so most of the time that involves us hanging around the house, having a few drinks, cooking, watching some of our favorite TV shows, and generally just enjoying each other’s company.  We may have even experimented with a random Buzzfeed hack last night … ice cream toppings will never be the same.  (By the way, on Instagram, I tagged this as #nothealthyliving, but I think this is the definition of healthy living … you have to live a little sometimes!) kev cookie grinder
  6. Go to the Farmer’s Market.  This is one of my favorite activities EVER.  You just can’t beat walking around looking at gorgeous produce, talking to the farmers who grew it, and of course having a few tastes!  I bought way more than we needed, but it’s all delicious! famers market
  7. Disconnect.  I’m not the best at this – I’m constantly multi-tasking and using technology, but this weekend I’m trying to disconnect a little bit more than usual.  On this note, I’m probably going to skip tomorrow’s Motivation Monday post, but you can be sure there will be a motivational bit on The Lyons’ Share Facebook page, so check it out if you’re lacking in motivation!

So tell me in the comments … what are YOU doing this weekend to kick stress to the curb?



  1. Robert

    I’m at work today, but so far it’s been a truly nice day. My patients are both very sweet.

    The kids went to Grandma’s house this weekend, so after work it will just be my wife and I until we leave to go get them tomorrow during the day. Not sure what the plan is, but maybe it will be nice. I might cook, although it’ll be a late dinner. Maybe a movie…

    I might suggest a couples run in the morning. We’ll see if she’s down for that…

    • Megan Lyons

      I’m sorry you have to work today, Robert. That stinks, but it sounds like you have a great attitude. I hope you get to enjoy some fun alone time with your wife! Cooking dinner and a couples run sounds amazing! Maybe propose a walk/ run if she doesn’t run regularly, so it’s less intimidating? Enjoy the time, no matter what you do!

  2. Amy @ The Little Honey Bee

    I have very similar stress relieving strategies… I think spending time with those I love is the best. I hope your garden succeeds!

  3. Sara @ LovingOnTheRun

    I spent some time with the family and disconnected a bit! It felt nice but now I feel so behind! haha that is why I am up working on stuff at 11:30 pm! It was so nice though and really helped me relax!

    • Megan Lyons

      Glad you’re getting to disconnect, but sorry you’re feeling stressed/ behind! Hope you get a little time again today to disconnect!

  4. Davida @ The Healthy Maven

    Sounds like my weekend 🙂 Runs, yoga, SLEEP, farmer’s markets! Clearly we use the same strategies! Also avoiding thoughts about work and not checking my work email helps me to disconnect…wish this long weekend would extend into the rest of the week though…Hope you are having a WONDERFUL weekend my dear!

    • Megan Lyons

      Great minds think alike! I agree on not thinking about work, and wishing the weekend would extend!

  5. gary

    Meg: My stress release is to sip my morning coffee while reading your daily blog entry, and then try not to stress out from guilt when I sneak my late afternoon bag of M&M’s from our Firm’s snack stash. Yes, we do have plenty of other healthful selections for our office personnel but I really, really need that daily M&M fix! – Gary

    • Megan Lyons

      Sounds like you have it down, Gary! No need for guilt about the M&Ms … we all have our “guilty pleasures” so best to just enjoy them :).

  6. Debbie

    Love this post Megan. Could not agree more with stress and how it hurts our lives. Hard getting away from it sometimes.
    Take today off. You deserve it~
    What are you planting for fall?

    • Megan Lyons

      Thanks, Aunt Debbie! I am enjoying a lazy day :). How are you doing with your exercise routine? I planted all kinds of things – squash, radishes, carrots, kale, lettuce, cucumbers, beans, more tomatoes, broccoli … let’s see if anything takes!

      • Robert

        I’ve had great luck with green beans, yellow squash, and zucchini here. And basil, but not much else. SMH.

        • Megan Lyons

          That’s what I keep reading, Robert! My green beans, squash, and zucchini did not make it the first time around, but the basil did great, so I’m hoping for more success this time :).

  7. Caitlin

    what sucks about stress is a lot of it involves vicious circles! i won’t be able to sleep so stress about it and hence not be able to sleep even MORE…yeah, haha. that was me last night! i have a spin class on my agenda today and am hoping that my stomach, which is currently rejecting all the fiber i ate at lunch, will recover in time for me to enjoy a good sweat.

    • Megan Lyons

      Aww, that’s awful! One thing I’m REALLY good at is sleeping :). I can count on my fingers the times when I’ve laid in bed unable to fall asleep! And fiber is my friend in almost all situations … besides right before a workout. Hoping it settles down and you have a great class!

  8. GiGi Eats Celebrities

    The only thing I don’t do is….. Garden, but that’s because I don’t have a lawn or anything! But I do everything else, perhaps that’s why I am pretty level headed – MOST of the time! LOL!!

    • Megan Lyons

      I don’t have a lawn either, Gigi – I have my garden on the rooftop of my townhouse! I think “most of the time” is about as good as it gets for level-headedness :).

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Megan Lyons Headshot

Hi! I'm Megan Lyons,

the voice behind The Lyons’ Share. I love all things health, wellness, and fitness-related, and I hope to share some of my passion with you. Thanks for stopping by!
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