How To Find Joy Alongside Stress

Recently I’ve had quite the line up of medical care. These have been primary care, OBGYN, dermatologist, therapy, and manual therapy. All of these on the tail end of a stomach bug that rocked my world.

All that money and time spent to realize that my stress levels are through the roof!

Humans are able to stress about real life events but also hypothetical things. And the latter is where I truly where my stress levels can truly peak. Hypothetical stress or what I like to call daydream stress, is what sends my body reeling into illness and ailments of all kinds.

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For years I worked hard to de-stress through activities, in order to ignore my stress. Basically, avoidance was my only plan. I took my stress and stuffed it deep down and layered on yoga, meditation, yummy treats, and shopping to hide it.

Surprise it still created problems for me:

  • 15 years ago I developed an eating disorder because of intense stress and anxiety.

  • 10 years ago I had strep throat every month, lost my period and my hair…..Stress.

  • 6 years ago I was actually quarantined in my doctors office because they thought I had contracted an unknown illness while in foreign country… it was just my stuffed down stress manifesting in physical form.

  • 1 week ago I had skin biopsy because I thought I had skin cancer….no it was just my skin showing physical signs of stress.

These days, even though I’m not perfect at it (see opening paragraph) I try to acknowledge my stress by looking it right in its ugly eyeball. Don’t get me wrong, I still do yoga, meditation, workout and enjoy walks and yummy treats, but now I do these things because they bring me joy NOT because I need to leverage them to de-stress.

Sounds great right, but how do you execute it?

I want you to try these two steps:

1. Write down or record your stress


I’ll take my voice memo app out on a solo walk or into a quite space when I can just be by myself. I’ll talk freely about what’s been stressing me out or what’s making me mad. The KEY here is to LISTEN to it.

Take a moment to listen to yourself and pay attention to the language you’re using. By doing this you’re voicing your stress and then LOOKING at it! You might be surprised by what you hear.

You can also use free flow writing activities about your stress to help you move forward. Again, this works when you separate yourself from your words and then READ it!

Another way to look at this is to imagine your hearing your friend tell you a story where you hear them being hard on themselves or using a lot of negative self talk. You can easily recognize this but sometimes it’s hard for us to notice when it’s happening in our own head.

2. Write down simple actions that bring you joy

This is a great way to learn the things that help lighten your mood or create positivity your day. See my list below for examples. Then start checking that list off ASAP!




It’s important to understand that you’re not using the list of joyful activities to avoid stress and stuff it down deep. This is just a way to bring some more positive vibes your way but instead you’re doing these things because you just plain like them!

Moving Forward

In order to move forward in a positive way here is a quick recap the simple 3-step process that has helped me address my stressors and come out stronger and happier:

Step 1: Pay attention when your stress is high

Step 2. Get it out of your head so you can make it real

Step 3. Do shit that makes you happy!

What do you think? Going to give these a shot? I’d love to hear how it goes and if you’d ever like some extra guidance you can always drop me a line at [email protected]

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Lindsay is the co-founder and First Lady of First Guess Fitness as well as the head nutrition coach in our FOODCAMP™ Nutrition coaching program. Lindsay implements a body-positive strategy to help each member and coaching client NAIL their health and nutrition goals. She’s also a SUPER mom and is a pre- and post-natal coach for all things fitness.

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