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Stressful Times? Keeping a Routine Could Save Your Sanity

Have you ever felt overwhelmed? Worried? Spread too thin? I was recently spread too thin (and not the kind that helps you fit into last year's swim suit) when I moved miles away from home and started a new business. This middle-of-nowhere Kansas belle decided to pack up her boots and head to the Jersey Shore. Intentionally. To stay for a while, if not forever. I did it for love, my career, excitement, and happy hour on the beach. I got all of that and more, but I didn't expect it to take as long, or be so damn stressful. Let me fill you in on how keeping a routine during one of the most stressful times in my life saved my sanity, and my productivity.

Most of us get to spend the day by the beach, consuming plenty of Vitamin D, drinking organic shakes, and reading for fun... right? Only in our dreams... or that one week of vacation. Although most of my free time is spent soaking in other people's wanderlust on Instagram, I realize it's a distant fantasy for the rest of us normal people. I’m a big proponent of creating the life you want, but I'm still working towards the "getting paid to travel and take pictures of my clothes" gig. 

("We're not in Kansas any more...")

But back to reality! I’ve recently opened a new business, and my stress levels have been higher than usual. Before this wild idea (of a one-woman health care show on the Jersey shore), I had spent most mornings at the gym and most evenings relaxing and cooking nutritious meals. As you can imagine, opening a new business didn't (still doesn't) leave a lot of time for lavish 2 hour gym excursions and gourmet blackened mahi every night. After the first few days of my new business-owner life, I knew I had to make it a priority to keep a routine. It helped me consistently moving forward, and I'm confident it prevented a full blown meltdown… (ask my boyfriend).

Luckily, while I was hibernating during the winter, I was on a mission to order a million books off Amazon about self-improvement and read every single one of them. Okay, maybe not every single one, but I made a dent in those pages. I also fell in love Tim Ferris and Tony Robbins (don't ask my boyfriend). My favorite? Tim Ferris interviewing Tony Robbins. WHAT! Talk about the ultimate podcast episode. I know I can’t be the only girl that loves a buff dude with brains (please, tell my boyfriend)!

(my brainy, buff boyfriend. photo courtesy of our selfie skills, and a solid 'gram filter.)

The Key Ingredient:

I was swimming in a sea of motivation and self-help, and every bubble in the water said "keep a routine!", despite the daily chaos we encounter. Successful and level-headed people swear by morning rituals. For instance Tony Robbins loves to meditate and start his day off with a healthy meal, as in: fish and salad for breakfast. Which proves a personal theory of mine: he's an amazing freak of nature. Tim Ferris starts his day with a small accomplishment. He swears by making his bed every morning. Unlike me, he apparently he never gave his mother a reason to yell at him. Although I don’t foresee making my own bed... ever… I've tried to stick to 5  habits to keep me on point and on purpose.

A 5 Part Routine to Help During Stressful Times

1. Daily Affirmations: I typically start the day off with a small positive phrase to get my mind right. Think of the popular movie phrase…”you is kind, you is smart, you is important.” Some days this is all I can come up with, and I don't feel the need to invent amazing quotes when actual writers can do that part for me. Other days I’m able to come up with a complete sentence that I made all on my own. I'll use anything that helps me focus my energy in a positive way. There are lots of awesome daily affirmation books out there, if you find yourself needing a place to start!

2. Work Out: I prefer to get my workout over in the morning, SOLELY because I'm a lazy bum after 6 pm. It also helps to boost my mood and gives me a chance to plan out my day. That being said, if I hit the snooze too many times I’ve realized I still feel better after a 20 minute walk in the evening compared to no work out at all. Find your groove, and make it a habit to do some form of activity on a daily basis. Your brain and heart will thank you!

3. Get Adjusted: How cliche is this? I know, every chiropractor you’ve been to has told you the benefits of getting adjusted. There's a good reason! Our immune system is controlled by our nervous system, which is taken care of by a chiropractor. I can only tell you because I've experienced it first hand. My weekly adjustments have kept me from getting sick during this crazy time, and have also helped me keep my health a priority. When my brain and body can talk to each other freely through my spinal cord, it helps tame my stress levels and keep me focused!

4. Tap into Your Strengths: This may be a new concept, but it's been life changing for me. Have you heard of Kolbe A index, or Gallup Strength finders? I took the Gallup Strengths Finder test last year to learn my top 34 strengths. At the top of the list were Achiever and Learner. To use my strengths daily, I spend a small amount of time each day reading (learning) or crossing things off my to-do list (achieving). It brings me a sense of happiness and fulfillment. Playing into my strengths helps me increase productivity, which in turn, makes my little achiever brain happy!

5. Be Smart With Nutrition & Meal Prep: Although it’s taken me a few years to meal prep train, I now know that it's a HUGE time saver. Not only does it help eliminate the need for junky convenience foods, but I feel so much better when I’m eating healthy and taking my supplements. Speaking of supplements, I don’t go a day without my "core 4" -- a Probiotic, Omega 3's, Multivitamin, Vitamin D (yes, even by the beach). During a time where my cortisol (stress hormones) are high, I want to make sure I'm filling my body up with immune boosters. If you have friends in high places, they might send you some life-saving Adrena-Well for an extra mood and energy boost during the really stressful days!


You've got this.

Although these tips seem like no-brainers, they’ve taken hard work to maintain. I don’t always feel like working out and eating healthy (because hello, binge watching Netflix and eating ice cream is easier), but I figure if the world’s most successful people swear by it, there’s gotta be something to it! Other dreamy health habits you might want to incorporate: getting 8 hours of sleep a night and journaling on a daily basis. Start your day by writing 3 things you're grateful for each day and watch how your perspective on life changes! All the little things we stress over seem less relevant when you realize how fortunate you are. I don’t suggest using my habits to keep you sane, but I do encourage you to find your own routine that brings out the best in you!

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit” -Aristotle


Dr. Stephanie Wigner is a Well Labs affiliate, and Chiropractor at Circle of Life Chiropractic in Point Pleasant, New Jersey. She really does spend her lunch hour taking pictures on the beach because she's a boss lady, and she can.






Hannah Anderson
Hannah Anderson