When Exercise Feels Good You’ll Be Happier

Take Your Vacation Days

Even if you can’t go somewhere exciting, one good way to relieve stress is to have the habit of taking all your vacation days.

I sensed I might not be an exciting person when I took a vacation day this week and celebrated by walking with friends at 6 a.m. in 24 degree weather. For an added treat I bought three bottles of exotic water at the grocery!

Relieve stress by taking your vacation days, even if you enjoy a simple pleasure close to home.

It was a great day.

After the walk I felt alive and energetic, with no pesky aches, pains, or stiff areas.

Relieve Stress by Staying Hydrated

Perhaps it helps that I’ve cut out sweet or artificially sweet beverages and only drink water and tea during the day. I drink tap water most of the time because in my opinion most bottled water is “dressed up” tap water. Also, I don’t like adding more plastic to our landfills. But on this special “vacation day” I indulged in:

  • Artesian water from Norway
  • pH balanced water from a company in Kansas that puts art on the bottle. “We exist to advance and showcase the sources of creation and creativity.”  Perhaps also to make money selling water?
  • San Pellegrino, natural mineral water from Italy

This is a picture of three kinds of bottled water. Staying hydrated is a good way to relieve stress.

How extravagant!

Although I don’t always exercise as much as I like, and perhaps like some of you I’ve gained a few pounds in unwanted places, when I do it, I enjoy a healthy lifestyle because it feels good. I truly don’t understand why we all don’t exercise more, and eat fruits and vegetables with more enthusiasm.

Eating fresh fruits and vegetables is a habit that helps you feel good.

Relieve Stress by Becoming More Aware of Your Habits

Although I used to have a whole cookbook devoted to cheesecake, and I definitely still make pecan, pumpkin and cherry pies for holidays, I don’t eat sweets or heavy desserts on a regular basis because I don’t feel good afterward. 

During a time when I endured a series of tragic losses, I didn’t have much emotional strength so I broke ties with several sources of stress because without so much drama in my life I am more calm and peaceful.

I’m slowly discovering that living a healthy lifestyle isn’t punishing, or miserable, or painful, but a simple way to feel better. It took me awhile to see that. I had to pay attention to how I felt, and notice actions I took without consciously thinking about them.

Those are what we call habits.

If you have tried to upgrade your actions to more healthy choices, but suffered a relapse or not succeeded to the extent you hoped, it’s probably because of your environment or your habits. To help you become more aware of how you feel, and evaluate your habits, I made a short quiz that might give you a few bits of awareness:


I’d love to understand what habits you turn to during times of stress. Tell me what you think about these questions in the comments section, or send me a direct message through Facebook or Twitter:

  • what’s your #1 challenge in managing stress and living a healthy lifestyle?
  • what burning question (if any!) do you have about managing stress and living a healthy lifestyle?

Thank you!

© 2018 Deborah Rankin RD


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