3 De-Stress Techniques to Save Your Sanity

3 De-Stress Techniques to Save Your Sanity

When was the last time you felt stressed? Last week? Yesterday? An hour ago? Trust me, you’re not alone. Nearly 70% of Americans reported feeling stressed about money or work last year, and more than 50% said they were stressed about a personal health concern (American Psychological Association). It’s obvious that stress is a daily battle for most of us. Worries about money or family or illnesses… we’ve all been there.

 

Life will never be perfect, and that’s exactly why learning to manage stress is so important. Start giving your body, mind, and soul the TLC it deserves today by trying these 3 easy de-stress techniques.  

 

1.     Pinpoint expectations

 

“You must learn to let go. Release the stress. You were never in control anyway.”

—Steve Maraboli

 

Stress often happens because a situation doesn’t meet our predetermined expectations. You expected to get to your meeting in 15 minutes but traffic gridlock is increasing your commute to 30 minutes instead. You expected to find a new job within one month and it’s taking two.

 

When you’re worried and frazzled in a particular situation, ask yourself:

 

·      Is this situation actually stressful, or do I feel stressed because my expectations are off the mark or unrealistic?

·      If my expectations are unrealistic, how can I adjust them?

·      Will worrying about this accomplish anything in the first place?

 

Those questions may sound ridiculous, but it’s crazy how often we put pressure and stress on ourselves unnecessarily.

 

2.     Meditate for one minute

Forget rolling out the yoga mat at your office desk. If you don’t have time for a full-on meditative experience, take just one minute to stop everything and sit. Close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Take long, full breaths and hear your breath moving in and out. Feel your heart beating.

 

Even a one-minute meditation session can calm your mind and help you break out of the cycle of reactivity, where you’re frantically racing from one task to the next without letting your brain process things. It can help you reassess whether you really should be stressed out about that email or whether worrying about errands is really the most helpful use of your mental energy.

 

“The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.”—William James

 

Meditation and breathing—they can work wonders. And if you’re not sure whether you’re breathing correctly during exercise in order to get maximum results (including a slimmer waist!), check out my article here.

 

3.     Sweat it out

Forget sweating about life; sweat at the gym instead! Exercise is proven to help fight diseases that can be caused by stress, such as obesity or high blood pressure. It also helps you look healthier and feel more confident, and in my personal opinion, helps to refocus on your own mental and physical wellbeing after a day of giving and giving and giving to others (busy moms out there, you know what I mean).

 

My clients love Pilates because they get to give their bodies and minds some tough, cathartic love in one awesome exercise. After all, Pilates is based on the idea that a sound mind and body are equally important, and that balance can be achieved through creating alignment and harmony in the body. In each session with my clients, we focus on:

 

·      Breathing

·      Concentration

·      Control

·      Centering

·      Precision

·      Rhythm

·      Flow

 

I’m happy to say that every client comes out of a session with a sweaty smile on their face, and hopefully, a little less stress on their mind.

 

Need to de-stress and get an awesome workout at the same time?

Book a private Pilates session with me today, and receive one hour totally devoted to you!

 

 

The Real Reasons Your Waist Isn't Shrinking

The Real Reasons Your Waist Isn’t Shrinking (And What to Do About It)

Does this sound familiar? Your diet is consistently healthy, you exercise regularly, and you even throw in a few sets of crunches every day. Yet, your stubborn waist just won’t shrink. What’s up?

 

The culprit could be something you’ve never considered before: your breathing. That’s right, the way you breathe could be sabotaging your fitness results! It’s crazy to think that something we do every day without consciously thinking could have such a huge impact on our appearance, but the truth is that only breathing “into” the right muscles during exercise can work your abs correctly and result in a leaner waist.

 

Read on to discover two common waist-shrinking mistakes that most people make, and how to correct them today.

 

Mistake #1: Relying on crunches to work the right ab muscles

We’ve been conditioned by fitness magazines and infomercials to think that if we do enough crunches, we’ll end up with a flat stomach or killer six pack that would make The Rock jealous. But that darn transversus abdominus muscle layer… well, the only way to exercise it is to put your spine in a neutral position.

 

This means that crunches, which curve your spine, just won’t slim your waist no matter how many you do.

 

What to do instead: Change your focus

I’m not telling you to abandon crunches or other bodyweight exercises, of course, but it’s time to adjust your expectations of what kind of waist you’ll get by doing 100 crunches a day and nothing more.

 

Consider using crunches as one part of a comprehensive exercise and diet plan rather than a silver bullet to get a slimmer midsection fast. And most importantly, focus on breathing correctly and making the most of each workout no matter what exercise you’re doing.

 

Mistake #2: Holding your muscles in during exercise

“Hold your abs while you move!” You probably hear that all the time during exercise class. It sounds great but I hate to tell you—tensing your abs is not helping your waist. Here’s why:

 

The deepest layer of your abdominal muscles is the transversus abdominus. Scary name, I know, but it’s actually an awesome muscle layer that narrows your waist when it’s exercised correctly. The problem is, most people end up exercising the transversus abdominus incorrectly or totally ignoring it during workouts.

 

What to do instead: Ribcage breathing

Breathing correctly during workouts gives your muscles more power and ensures that you’re working the right ones to drop inches from your waist. Train yourself to breathe the right way using this exercise that I like to call ribcage breathing:

 

·      Place your hands on the sides of your ribcage and wrap your fingers around it.

·      Imagine a jellyfish swimming in the water—that’s how you should breathe, with your diaphragm widening and sliding down, and then doming and sliding up. 

·      Practice inhaling and feeling the ribs expand under your hands. Your diaphragm should contract and slide down the spine to make space for your lungs to fill.

·      Practice exhaling and feeling the ribs narrowing underneath your fingers. Your diaphragm should release up into the ribcage and take the shape of a dome to push the air out of the lungs. 

·      Envision this alternating dome-like movement while repeating the breathing cycle 5 times.

 

Do this exercise before every workout to get into the mode of breathing correctly. Soon enough, you won’t even need to think about it as you watch the inches slide off your waist.  

4 Easy Ways to End Summer Happier and Healthier

More sunshine, vacation time, waterparks and farmers’ markets… what’s not to love about summertime? Every year from June to August, everyone seems a little happier and more relaxed. But with all that relaxation and vacation time (with maybe a few summery cocktails thrown in there), a lot of people come to me toward the end of the summer saying things like “Julie, I’ve kind of fallen off the wagon with my diet and exercise.” 

Hey, it happens to the best of us! The good news is that there’s still time to turn your summer around and get back on track for fall and beyond. Just follow these 4 proven tips to restart or refresh your wellness routine. 

Lose the baggage
It’s amazing how many people feel guilty about their diet and exercise regimen at some point. Like “I feel so guilty for eating a slice of cake / skipping my workout / not fitting into that pair of pants.” 

Whoa, pump the brakes! Eating well and exercising are so important to a healthy lifestyle, of course, but loving your body and appreciating small wins are just as powerful. None of us are perfect; there’s always room for improvement. Lower the volume on the voice inside your head that beats you up for being imperfect, and commit to moving forward in a healthy way without guilt, shame, or negative thoughts. 

Choose one thing
Starting (or restarting) a fitness routine can seem daunting. Transform that mountain into a molehill and focus on doing just one healthy thing today. That could be stepping away from your desk during lunch for a brisk walk, having a green smoothie instead of muffin for breakfast, or doing a 15-minute yoga routine before bedtime. 

Do just one thing every day and taking some time to focus on your health and wellness will soon become a habit. 

Be proactive
Let yourself up for success by being proactive about your health, not reactive. For instance, if you’re a diehard night owl who wants to start running every morning, you know that it will be hard to drag yourself out of a comfy bed. 

So, set your running gear and shoes out the night before. Put your alarm across the room so you can’t hit snooze from under the covers. Call a buddy to join in on your challenge for some extra accountability. These proactive steps can help push you out the door and on the way to a better you. 

Set S.M.A.R.T. goals
I hate to say it, but setting an ambiguous goal like “get in shape” probably won’t get you very far. Why? Because it doesn’t address the how and when, or provide any actionable steps to start doing today. Instead, try implementing S.M.A.R.T. goals. 

  • Specific: What exactly do you want to accomplish?
  • Measurable: How will you measure progress and success? 
  • Attainable: How realistic is this goal considering the other constraints? 
  • Relevant: Is this goal worth your time and effort, and does it contribute to long-term health? 
  • Timely: When is my deadline and what milestones should I hit daily?   

Going through this system will take some time, but it could be the key to making your summer—and life—that much happier and healthier. 

Set and reach your S.M.A.R.T. goals with my online Coaching Program! 

It is a motivational fitness plan that evolves with you to get powerful results.

About Julie Turner
I am a movement expert and celebrity trainer with more than 15 years of experience and training in Pilates, yoga, dance, manual fascia release, sports conditioning, and dysfunctional movement correction. I love helping stars, athletes, and busy professionals improve their physical and mental wellbeing so they can enjoy life to the fullest. Find more information about my services at julieturnermovement.com or email me at info@julieturnermovement.com. 

The 1 Reason You Should Love Tough Times

A lot of clients come to me because of physical injuries or other mental setbacks in their lives, like rocky breakups. They’ve fallen off their exercise programs or have forgotten what it was like to feel good and look good. It’s difficult to see people struggling through tough times, but I have to be honest—sometimes I’m sort of glad that they’re going through a rough patch. Why?

“Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny.”

—C.S. Lewis

Because I know that the toughest times often lead to the greatest growth. After all, there have been a LOT of times in my life where I’ve questioned myself over and over and over, and almost let life get me down.

Leaving My Comfort Zone

I left my home state of Alabama at 18 to start over in another state… all alone. It was terrifying, and that was just the first of many scary steps. Soon after, I moved to New York with just a bag of clothes—no savings, no job. I worked hard every day to make a living as a professional dancer and studied as much Pilates, anatomy, and movement therapy as I could.

And then I became a single mother.

Taking a Chance

Having a child changed my life. I was no longer just responsible for myself! But even with the extra challenge, I refused to give up on my career dreams of dancing and helping others to feel their best. I ended up in L.A. with my son in one arm and some clothing, books, and toys in the other… and in my mind were a million doubts about whether I was doing the right thing for my child.

After all, I’m a self-employed entrepreneur, which means zero financial security. I constantly doubted myself. “How could I ever believe that I could build my dream life out here? Who did I think I was?”

Overcoming the Doubts

After a long year of struggling in L.A., I can safely say that the move was the right decision for me and my son. Things are easier, I love my clients and what I do every day, and some of the doubts have gone away.

It’s all because I kept pushing every day and learned that I’m capable of things I’d never imagined. Every single step I took, from leaving Alabama as a young girl to constantly going out of my comfort zone in New York, helped me become strong enough to endure the last year. When life knocked me down, I got up and got moving with my body and my mind.

“It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.”

—Confucius

Now when my clients come in, a little battered from life, I know what they’re going through. I can honestly tell them that it’s going to be okay, and then use my talent and passion for movement to help them get back on track mentally and physically. Because one tough spot in life doesn’t define you. Only you can do that.

Why I dance in my kitchen everyday…and you should too!

Ever since I can remember, I have been dancing in my kitchen.  From my first house as a child, to Mississippi, New York, and to the apartment I live in now in Los Angeles.  

Why the kitchen?  I don’t know why actually…but maybe it has something to do with the kitchen being the heart of the home…

Or maybe it started when I was a kid and the kitchen was where my mom and sisters would hang out so that’s always just where I was too…All I know is that, at this point, it would be strange for me NOT to have a space in my home for dancing.

I have no routine or rules. I just put on whatever music I’m into that day and start moving.  The beauty of it is that I am completely alone.  There are no judgments or expectations.  I can dance to whatever cheesy song I want to and in any cheesy way.  Sometimes I practice being a “real dancer”.  I’ll work on my balance, or my turns, or a difficult move I have yet to conquer in my 30 years as a dancer.  At other times, I just bounce around the room like a three-year-old.  At all times, I am in a place of complete freedom and self discovery.  I think about my friends and loved ones and I can search my heart for their presence.For me, movement is the connection to the world and others in it.  I understand people by the way they carry themselves.  I know the relationships and emotions created by different parts of the body and I know how that affects our interactions with each other.  I can also uncover my own past and clear the way for a brighter future when I move.  Movement is a place for self-discovery.  This is the underlying reason that dancing is the best form of exercise.  People say it all the time, but I’m not sure they understand why.  To put it as Martha Graham did, “The body says what words cannot.”  Moving your whole body to music you love can be exhilarating, challenging, cleansing, and transformational.

And that’s why I believe you should dance too!  Dance is freedom.  It is joy.  But it also gets your heart pumping and endorphins flowing.  It’s an excellent work out that you can do while in your own home. You can also enjoy it, do it in your own time, forget your worries, not feel self-conscious, and get just as good of a work out as you would in a gym, if not better.

I am a dancer, since the age of 3, so it is my bliss.  It is such an integral part of me that I actually feel like I’m someone else when I’m NOT doing it.  And while I believe you should dance for my own biased reasons, I guess I can live with it if it isn’t as FOR you as it is FOR me.  If that’s what you are thinking right now I at least encourage you to do this. Find that special something that you love to do, whatever your equivalent to dancing in the kitchen is, and do it as often as you can.

BOSSLADY GENERATION - How To Keep Your New Years Resolutions With Julie Turner

Julie offers up three tips on loving yourself to implement into your daily practice:

  1. Mirror exercise: Zoom out instead of picking on yourself
  2. Flip the script: Turn a negative into a positive
  3. Stop striving for perfection because perfection is you as you ar
"I am enough already. Everything I add on from here is bonus points." -Julie Turner

I ask Julie how we can feel good enough when we have a barrage of societal messages telling us that we are not enough. Listen to the podcast episode to hear Julie's take on this.