Confession: I love sweets and junk food. There was a time that I could control my consumption but of late, it’s totally spun out of control . Weekend treats have turned into daily treats which has caused weight gain and pimples. I’ve been scaling back and upping my water in an attempt to curb my cravings, but today I started to think about WHY I keep reaching for chocolate, chips and burgers. The answer is STRESS. When Esther found out that Haman was trying to destroy her people in a evil plot, I’m sure that caused her great stress and anxiety. I’m not dealing with anything that dire but I’m amazed at how calm Esther was in the face of death. It’s fair to assume that because she wholly depended on God that she knew He would rescue her. Over the last few years, I’ve forgotten that God is an expert on “rescuing.” 2016 in particular was a complete shit-show and I’m just beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I’m a worry-wart by nature and when I feel overwhelmed, I tend to chew. I decided that instead of turning to something sweet to distract myself, I would open up my Bible and spend more time with God. I’m not going to lie and say that I haven’t had a piece of chocolate since I’ve amped up my worship experience but I have felt a calming peace that I haven’t experienced in awhile. That coupled with cardio and lots of water guzzling has helped me shed some pounds in the last few weeks. Life is stressful and expecting hardships and distress to evaporate into thin air is pretty ridiculous but finding ways to manage is a key faction in achieving overall wellness.  Below are some of the things I now do when life starts to spiral out of control

1) Exercise: My favorite way to break a sweat is with old-school workout videos but even going outside for a brisk walk with a great playlist can do wonders for your stress levels.

2) Burn some candles or incense: I like to buy my aromatherapy products from street vendors in Harlem. My favorites are white sage, myrhh, and lavender.

3) Water: A gallon a day is the goal. Water helps me with my tension headaches, achy joints and abstaining from sugary drinks has really helped my skin calm down.

4) Meditation: For me this typically looks like worship, but sitting still for 15 minutes, doing yoga, reading Rumi or counting your blessings are all great ways to remain centered.

5) Journaling: Writing down your emotions and feelings are great ways to keep abreast on how you manage stress and a great guide on if you need to seek professional health. I’m a big advocate for counselling and there a lot of affordable options, like TalkSpace which allows you receive counselling via a app.

This journey isn’t easy but it’s worth it and together we can make a huge impact on how we deal with stress. It’s so important to keep in mind that this moment, however difficult, is for character building and development. WE can do this!