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Is caffeine bad for you? Plus, 3 tools for stress relief.

With election and holiday stress rolling in like a freight train, I thought you might like (need?) a quick reminder of three remedies that can help when you're stressed out, burned out, or some combination of both.


1. Walking is super important for health and longevity.


It might not seem like much, but walking is one of the most important things you can do to take care of yourself—and it turns out walking fast is even better. A new study just came out in the Journal of the American Medical Association that looked at activity tracker data of 78,500 people. It found that long-term health benefits start increasing for people who walk at least 3,800 steps a day, and they continue improving up to 9,800 steps a day. Better health, lower stress, and, as The New York Times put it, picking up the pace pays even bigger dividends, even in small doses. You don't have to track to get the benefits; you only have to move.


So if you find yourself feeling a little nuts in the coming weeks, take a brisk walk. The payoff for both mental and physical health is hard to beat.


2. When there's no time for downtime, that's the time you need it the most.


When I lived in L.A. and was struggling with depression, I discovered that the days I needed to go hiking the most were the days I wanted to do it the least. Now, in my 40s, with a lot more pressure on my time, I should heed that 20-something wisdom more often, but it can be really hard to break away.


According to a timeless article from Scientific American, "Downtime replenishes the brain’s stores of attention and motivation, encourages productivity and creativity, and is essential to both achieve our highest levels of performance and simply form stable memories in everyday life. A wandering mind unsticks us in time so that we can learn from the past and plan for the future."


Whether downtime means your favorite TV show, a bike ride, a board game, or a vacation, stepping away from work and responsibilities will actually increase your ability to get things done.


3. Find the funny where you can.


There is no shortage of stress right now, and odds are it won't let up any time soon. (It's been this way for what seems like forever, right?) So, somehow, some way don't forget to get a laugh in now and then. Watch a comedy special, listen to a funny podcast, call a friend who always makes you laugh, or check out the Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards. This photo entry by John Speirs is titled "I guess summer's over."



I mean, seriously, sometimes the best you can do is laugh through your tears.


Much love and solidarity,


Sarah


 

What's the deal with caffeine?


Is it healthy or unhealthy?? I was excited to answer this question from "Peppy and Happy" this week at Forbes.


"Thankfully, research shows that—for most people—consistent, moderate caffeine use isn’t a threat to health or longevity. In fact, there can be significant benefits, with a few important exceptions."


To read more about how much is too much and how much you're getting in each cup of coffee or tea (and in each dose of dark chocolate!), check out the article HERE.


Also, send your own anonymous question to me at Hey, Health Coach! Don't forget to use a sleuthy pseudonym. 😎

 

Making Healthy Habits Easier


I'm so excited to be speaking with this association of physicians, therapists, and hospital administrators at Health Quality Partners of Southern California on Friday.


We’ll be talking about how to make behavior change easier for these providers (and their patients) and the growing role of health coaching in preventative care. I’m grateful for the opportunity to support these folks who are on the front lines, taking care of all the rest of us!


As the year wraps up and we look to 2023, if you need a speaker to help your community build concrete, healthy habits without adhering to restrictive diets and fitness plans, don’t hesitate to reach out! I'd love to learn more about your group.

 

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Past posts can be found HERE.

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