Imagine going to work with a big rash on your face because you had been so stressed for months on end that your body was having a physical reaction.
A physical reaction due to stress? Yes, physical. Like your body.
Oftentimes people think stress is just in their heads. But your mind and body are connected.
And there are even more levels of stress too. For example, there is existential stress too.
Yentl describes these different types of stress later on in the interview, which you can see down below.
Yentl is an award-winning blogger and most importantly …
Yentl was the person with the rash on her face. Remember, imagine going to work with a rash on your face? That was literally Yentl.
She had a rash on her face due to high levels of chronic stress for months on end.
This was before she learned some of the relaxation techniques to reduce stress (like playing with her dog) which she shares below.
Yentl also shares another embarrassing story when she forgot about her party planning responsibility for a big event until the last minute!
That story is at the bottom of the post 🙂
Perhaps that’s why people like Yentl, she shares her journey in a wonderfully honest light 🙂
In addition to embarrassingly honest stories, here are some other topics we cover in the interview which focuses on how to be less stressed.
- How Should Someone Think About Stress?
- When Did Your Journey To Reduce Stress Begin? (Face Rash Story)
- What Are The Different Aspects of Stress?
- How To Be Less Stressed?
- How Did You Begin Blogging About How To Be Less Stressed? (Forgotten Party Planning)
If you want to get in contact with Yentl Lega
(which I highly suggest especially if you’re a woman with autoimmune struggles or facing chronic stress)
You can connect with Yentl on:
Below is our interview, as well as podcast MP3 available for download.
If you keep reading too beneath the interview are some interview highlights. I reference this video using timestamps below too.
I’ve lightly edited Yentl’s verbal responses for clarity and context. Her responses are in italics.
How Should Someone Think About Stress?
You get stressed when you believe that your resources are insufficient
When you try to be perfect or are afraid to ask for help, it’s much more likely you’ll feel like your resources are insufficient (aka, stressed out!)
I really appreciate this definition of stress because oftentimes people have a limiting belief that they must do everything by themselves.
This definition of stress directly confronts that perfectionist mindset.
You can watch this segment 9:45 in the above video. Below is what Yentl has to say:
Here’s a great acronym for stress because the biggest thing is to ask for help. An acronym for stress is someone trying to repair every situation solo.
You think that you can do it all. But you know, we can’t. We need each other’s support because we’re naturally social beings. You know we need that connection.
We also need to also be connected with yourself and know yourself, but you can’t really learn to do that without also learning how to connect with others. You know it’s not a solo venture.
Here are my additional thoughts: Perhaps you too have experienced high stress levels because you were trying to handle everything by yourself?
Coming up you’ll see how Yentl’s stress levels impacted her body and mind precisely because she was trying to do everything by herself…
Notice how below the different obstacles which worsened Yentl’s stress levels (before she began her journey)…
What Was Biggest Obstacle In Your Journey To Reduce Stress? (Face Rash Story)
One major obstacle to stress is actually thinking that stress means you’re productive!
While it’s true that there are good forms of stress, the key is to be in touch with your body. Negative and bad stress will leave you depleted.
You have to be honest with yourself about this.
Don’t kid yourself and ignore your stress in the name of productivity. You’ll burnout.
And then your productivity will go way down. Prevent burnout in the first place by listening to your body. More on this in the section after 🙂
You can watch this segment at 16:04, or read what Yentl has to say below:
I told myself I feel fine. I don’t feel stressed. I’m good. But physically during the time that I living my year of hell.
I was working full time and I was a master’s student full time. At the same time I was doing my internship, which was 21 hours, which is funny. It’s such an odd number, but 21 hours a week.
I was seriously leaving the house when it was dark and getting back when it was dark and I barely had any breaks in between.
Yet I thought to myself “I’m just staying busy. I’m doing my thing, I’m hustling.” I just thought I was in hustle mode.
I started seeing a dermatologist because my face broke out where I couldn’t even use soap to wash my face. Like it was so irritating. It was inflamed. It was red all the time and inflamed.
I was seriously just washing my face with water and honey. So I went to a dermatologist because I’m thinking this is a physical symptom, you know?
The dermatologist checked my blood pressure, checked my pulse, and then he said, “How are you even here now you are so chronically fatigued? Like how are you even able to get up?”
He said he felt that my heart weight rate was so low that it was like someone that shouldn’t even be walking basically.
It’s funny, I didn’t feel tired in that sense, you know, because I was pushing through. I’m like, “Hey, I’m doing my thing. This is natural for me to feel a little bit tired, but I was staying focused.”
And that’s when I realized that it’s stress can still affect you.
You don’t have to necessarily feel negative emotions towards it. Some stress is natural. It’s what it’s having it be chronic and constant. That is a concern. It’s what we don’t want it to be.
Yentl brings up such a good point here. Chronic stress sometimes feels horrible. It’s obvious and immediate.
Like when you have an abusive boss who calls you names and your mental health is dramatically plummeting at work. And you don’t have the financial situation to quit your job. That’s stressful, and very obvious.
Yet chronic stress in Yentl’s case is different. Yentl was working a job she liked. She was doing stuff she wanted to do. But Yentl’s every day stress levels were too high.
She wasn’t taking enough time to care for herself (more tips on how to be less stressed below too). Her blood pressure, heart rate, and hormones were for the most part not dangerously elevated.
But when your stress levels are even a bit too high for a long period of time, it gets dangerous.
Yentl’s face began to break out.
That’s because stress and body and mind are all connected. You cannot control stress just by making a better to-do list or even purely doing relaxation techniques.
Relaxation techniques are great, and they are a necessary piece of the puzzle. Again, see below for more how to be less stressed tips, including Yentl’s favorite relaxation technique “playing with her dog” 🙂
But stress is your blood. Stress is in your mind. You need a holistic approach.
And you need a holistic approach because … there are different levels to stress.
What Are The Different Aspects of Stress?
I really like what Yentl has to say here.
As she mentions, the American Psychological Association defines the types of stress as Acute, Episodic or Chronic.
Yet as Yentl points out, stress can affect you in more than just 3 ways!
You can watch at 13:34 or read dialogue below:
What are some other aspects of stress?
So stress, when you look at what the American psychological association defines the types of stress:
- Acute stress
- Episodic stress
- Chronic stress
So stress is just stress. And it is multifaceted in how stress affects you. It can affect you physically, because it starts off being a physical thing. Stress can also affect you emotionally. It can affect you psychologically and socially.
Now the interesting part is that we feel it in different levels. You know?
One misconception is thinking, “Oh, I don’t feel stressed. Like I don’t feel anxious or worried, so I’m not stressed, so I’m good.”
But your body can have a stress response. (As well as your relationships, spiritual life, and mental health can be affected too.)
So first you have to re-think stress. Are you the type of person who is ‘managing stress’ yet struggles in terms of health, intimacy, or unfulfillment?
Re-thinking stress in terms of how stress is preventing you from living your best life can be enlightening for people.
The key ingredient is honesty. Sometimes people honestly don’t think they are stressed.
But upon further examination of your social life and mental health, you might realize you are actually stressed. Your stress levels are elevated and are impacting in other areas beyond productivity.
How To Be Less Stressed?
Here Yentl gives some great simple ideas on how to be less stressed.
From having a rash on her face, to now helping women with autoimmune stress struggles (and other stressed out people) Yentl has come a long ways, and so can you!
Remember. Learning how to be less stressed is a journey. There are many ways to reduce stress. Here are Yentl’s tips to get you started on this journey 🙂
You can watch this part of our conversation at 27.54 or read below:
How To Be Less Stressed Strategy 1: Journaling
Yes. Journaling is being able to brain dump what is taking up so much of your energy.
And just by doing that alone, journaling can help relieve a lot of pressure off your shoulders because you might be carrying things that you just need to let out.
As an introvert, this can be easier than if you are extroverted. Most introverts are very open to writing because oftentimes we can speak to a piece of paper more easily than we could to a person face to face.
But for an extrovert this is a great exercise as well because sometimes that extroverts want to express our emotions out. Yet extroverts also know that if you vent all of our feelings to our relationships, you can do harm.
And so again writing it down is a great way to let that out. It relieves you from carrying that burden. It also saves you from harming yourself because sometimes may not react the way that would be a way that would make us feel good.
How To Be Less Stressed Strategy 2: Greens
Greens are very important one. So this is touching on the physical aspect of stress because stress is physiological.
So greens too are something that is missing in most people’s diets. Greens are powerful because they’re rich in B vitamins, which I always say great for your brain because they’re really great for stabilizing your mood. So already it has a calming effect.
Greens have magnesium, which so many studies have already shown how magnesium is great to reduce anxiety and depression and you find this naturally in greens, in your dark green leafy vegetables.
There’s potassium which activates serotonin. Serotonin is what is called the field good hormone (sort of like the opposite of a stress hormone!). So already it has that calming effect as well.
So just incorporating greens in your life, you can already start to reduce the stress response in your body.
How To Be Less Stressed Strategy 3: Mindfulness
So sitting meditation doesn’t for all people. For me, mindfulness can be as simple as going out for a walk.
What I’ve been doing a lot more lately, to be honest with you, is being with my dogs. I’ll go outside, especially with our youngest dog, she loves to have you chase her. So that’s what I’ll do. I’ll chase her around the yard and that’s been my …
I’m being present at that moment, enjoying it being with my dog.
I always encourage people to find what that connection is for you. And the question I always ask people, “what is something that you enjoy doing as a way to disconnect or distress?”
And a lot of people have so many different answers to that question and I say, “well, that’s your form of meditation, to just take a few minutes out of your day to do just that.”
For many people this is a better practice to reduce stress than waiting months until a vacation. You just need to take the first step by realizing your stress levels are better managed a few minutes every day.
Don’t wait for your stress levels to increase for too long or you’ll end up with a heart attack! You need to find a few minutes a day to relax, practice a relaxation technique, and find ways to be more positive.
I think that’s one of Yentl’s main points at her website Younfolded.com. Learning how to be less stressed is about your unfolding as a whole person.
Instead of being the person who is a victim of stress; you are finding ways to practice stress reduction and be empowered.
How To Be Less Stressed Strategy 4: Restorative Movement
In this strategy, Yentl talks about movement. Oftentimes people think exercise is mandatory. You have to exercise or you’re lazy!
Yet sometimes exercise when thought of as mandatory can become a burden … This is another very common limiting belief that prevents people from moving at all.
Too often exercise is seen as either intense, or you’re doing it wrong.
But in Eating Enlightenment, we realize there is a middle ground.
I like to call it restorative movement.
So the type of movement that you want to do is intentional movement. The movement that is actually restoring your energy levels, that is actually reducing your stress levels and that it’s not adding to it.
So that’s why the whole no pain, no gain philosophy doesn’t work for everyone. Because sometimes the no pain, no gain approach increases inflammation.
I work with women with autoimmune conditions, you know. In these situations you’re wanting to reduce the inflammation in your body and stress is something that is very pro-inflammatory and it’s not ever addressed (in regards to exercising intensely).
So doing these restorative movements is key to reducing your stress and replenishing your energy levels so you’re not finishing the exercise or the movement if you will, feeling depleted.
Absolutely right. We need to feel better after we exercise!
Many people probably find that their stress levels, blood pressure, and heart rate increase at the thought of exercise.
JUST DO IT! Right? How does that sound? It sounds harsh to me. A better practice is to take an intentional first step. Make sure you exercise in such a way where you are feeling good afterwards.
This type of exercise can also help one feel more relaxation during the process of moving and sweating. This can in turn make exercise be seen as more fun.
And of course, you’re always more likely to stick with something that is seen as more fun as opposed to torture.
How Did You Begin Blogging (Forgotten Party Planning)
When Yentl began her blogging journey, she was well into her journey to reduce stress.
Along the way and some point, Yentl began blogging. She’s since won a bunch of awards for blogging and you should definitely check her site out!
But the story of what catalyzed Yentl into blogging is simply something we can all relate too 🙂
You can watch at 4:03 or read below:
I’m an introvert so sharing myself with the world was tough. That’s why I didn’t have social media or anything. It was like if we’re close, you have my number.
So from the beginning, my very, very first post, I was the one who planned out this event with my coworkers. I sent out the invite and I did the confirmation for it at the restaurant group. It was a bunch of coworkers getting together at a restaurant just to hang out and get to know each other. I did all the planning for it.
And the day comes, I completely forgot about it, completely forgot about it.
A coworker calls me and was like, “Hey, are you okay? I’m like, what do you mean?”
“We’re all here waiting for you.”
And so that was my first post.
Alright that’s it for this post. If you want to read another article of mine about stress, check this post out titled “How To Not Stress Eat To Stop Stress Eating By Flooding Yourself With Love“