Marble-ous Stress Relief

You need to grab stress relief wherever you can and in whatever form you can.  I’ve found a fantastic form of stress relief in the most unlikely place!

I have long thought that people, parents and non-parents alike, can be very cruel to their friends in the choice of gifts they give to their friend’s children.  I don’t know why people do this, maybe it’s to make their friends suffer?  They seem to delight in giving the noisiest and most inappropriate toys possible!  Anyway, my friends are no exception.  Although, I didn’t realise quite how much I’d upset them over the year…!

This year we asked Santa to bring all manner of clothes, dressing up costumes, Playmobil and DVDs.  The list of things that were actually wanted and needed was extensive.  And whilst they did get a huge amount of “good presents” and stuff they wanted, the kids were still gifted numerous felt tipped pens, crayons, chocolate (how much can one child eat?), toy shooting guns with fireable discs (WHY?!!), inflatable objects to bash people with (PLEASE, I’ve got spirited twin boys who improvise enough  – they don’t need more weapons to hit each other over the head with), bath goo, and inflatable bubbles you can stand inside (“suitable from age 10”!).  

I don’t mean to sound ungrateful, but my two can be hard enough work without giving them more ideas!

Anyway, in amongst all this stuff was a fantastic stress relief toy.  It masquerades as a construction kit but it is so much more!  Called Marb-ulous, it is basically a set of curved and straight plastic tracks, building blocks, trick wheels etc that you link together to form a 3D track for marbles.  This is fantastic fun!  And more so for the adults than even the children!  And it doesn’t matter when the kids/dogs destroy it as most of the fun is in the construction!

You can build up to 4 entry points for the marbles and four collection points.  And if you try to use every piece of track, and make all four tracks go to one collection point, and make the whole thing as stable as possible by cross-linking the tracks, it can take an absorbing and happy couple of hours – and the fun we have had running marble races with the children is untold!  When I first saw this present, all I could see was “220 pieces, 20 marbles” – and immediately stressed out about just how long it would be before all that got lost!

And some of it probably will get lost (we’re already down to 15 marbles).  But think of the laughter and fun (excellent natural stress relievers) we’ll all have before that happens!

Never underestimate how much stress relief you can get from the most unlikely sources!  And try not to make snap decisions about what will stress you out.  It may just relieve stress!  I’ve certainly learnt my lesson!

Do You Have Stress Weight?

What does your weight have to do with stress?  Much more than you think!  Aside from the fact that many of us are overweight due to eating during a stressful situation, stress hormones in our bodies actually tell our bodies to store fat during stressful times.  It’s like adding insult to injury! 

It’s safe to say that the majority of people react to stress by eating something that makes them feel better – that’s why it’s known as comfort food.  Some eat more than others, obviously.  But during a time of stress, no matter what the cause, your body secretes chemical messengers that are designed to protect the body during times of prolonged stress, like starvation or other deprivation.

The thing is that the body doesn’t differentiate between kinds of stress.  Whilst our ancestors were usually faced with very real, physical stress, such as a hairy mammoth charge, which required them to stand their ground and fight, or run away, the “fight or flight” response is not so clear cut today.

In fact, much of the stress we feel today is perceived, psychological stress.  The tension of a bad relationship, the trauma of learning of a loved one is dying, the stress of watching a high action adventure or the anxiety of a scary nightmare – they all add up to stress to your body.  And any stress will cause the body to secrete high levels of stress hormones, also causes your body to store fat!

The moral of the story is: reduce your stress if you want a successful weightloss journey.  Not as easy as saying it, is it?  Nothing worth doing ever is.  Obviously exercise is a perfect choice to tackle both problems but what if you’re unable to exercise?  The good news is that anything you do to help you reduce your stress levels will also help with your weight.  Check out the stress busting tips posts in this blog.

So start taking your stress reduction seriously if you want to lose weight!