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You need to calm down: 5 ways to deal with stress

Getty Images / Special to The Forum1 / 4
Chief is still ready to party, even with his fancy cone of shame! Emma Vatnsdal / The Forum2 / 4
Creating a support system is essential when life is stressing you out. Talking to a loved one or close friends can help make those rough days better. Emma Vatnsdal / The Forum3 / 4
Sometimes life can be too much. When in doubt, nap it out. Emma Vatnsdal / The Forum4 / 4

FARGO — Heyyyy folks! After a week hiatus, I am back. Why the hiatus? Well, baby brother Goose played golf at the Minnesota state tournament and family is more important to me than work sometimes — sorry, everyone!

The news train waits for nobody. Not even the second runner-up for new journalist of the year in the Minnesota Newspaper Association contest. (Yes, I did just brag a tiny bit about myself, but it's still exciting to me so I have to brag a bit right? It's an accomplishment!) So, a week off I took.

But I am back and ready to bring you all some more unwanted tips on how to live your best life. This week has been a week, let me tell you what.

I recently learned that I am not the cool cucumber that I always thought I was. I used to think I handled stressful situations like my father — dealing with them with a calm, even temper and never letting anyone see your weak spots.

HA! Good one, Emma.

Since March, I have been working toward closing on my first home. Yes, your girl is an adult now and trying to navigate her way through the scary world of real estate. But guess what? Adulting and home-buying sucks. I have never been under more stress in my life.

Couple that with the fact that little boy Chief recently became, well, less of a boy (insert Michael Scott's awkward dinner party argument SNIP SNAP, SNIP SNAP!), so he has not been sleeping well at night and crying and keeping me up, my poor conehead.

But as they say in "Meet the Robinsons," keep moving forward. That's why this week's ditty is all about stress relief. We need to avoid more awkward, unscheduled crying sessions. Because nobody likes feeling stressed out, I proudly present five ways to relieve stress.

Pump some iron

Or run, dance, walk or mosey. Just get moving.

Regular workouts are the best way to relax and get your mind off of stressors. It improves your mood and helps to reduce the level of stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol in the body.

When you feel like stress is starting to crowd your mind, go for a quick walk in the fresh air. If your job is making you feel off, get up and make a lap around the office. Bringing physical activity into your daily schedule will help make your days that much better.

Watch what you eat

For many, food is a comfort. It reminds them of being safe and happy and carefree. Some people enjoy sweets when they're stressed. Some people enjoy salt. I enjoy noods. And I have been enjoying noods a lot lately.

Gramma Peggy noodles (as my mother and cousin call plain noodles cooked in powdered chicken bouillon served with butter) are the go-to comfort food. Sad? Gramma noods. Stressed? Gramma noods. Happy or short on time and need something quick to eat? You guessed it, gramma noods.

However, that many carbs can make even the strongest of folk end up bloated and uncomfortable the next day. Sure, it makes for a few moments of happiness, but when it comes to the next day and your pants don't fit because of the carbs? It's no bueno.

Eating a regular, well-balanced diet can help control your mood. Meals full of fruits, veggies, whole grains and lean proteins are ideal, and being sure to not skip any meals is key — skipping meals can put you in a bad mood and increase stress levels. The key is eating well, even if all you want is pizza and beer.

Pump up the jam

Music can have a powerful effect on both emotions and the body. Listening to tunes with a slower tempo can help to quiet the mind and relax the body, while faster, more upbeat music can bring someone out of a rotten mood. Plugging into a podcast can also help to distract the mind, even if for a little while.

Turning up the volume and singing at the top of your lungs can burn off some excess stress. You may look goofy, but it might just be the perfect thing you need to get out of a bad place.

Talk to someone

Whether it's your mom, your best friend, your therapist or even yourself, getting your issues and concerns out into the open can really help.

Take care to listen to the message you're putting out there. If you're finding it leans toward the negative side, try flipping it around. Instead of "I can't do this," try "I am doing the best I can."

Give it a rest

If all else fails, rest. There's nothing wrong with taking a break and trying again.


Friday 5 is a weekly column featuring musings, quick tips, tricks, ideas and more — all in bunches of five. Readers can reach Vatnsdal at 701-241-5517.