Dec. 28. 2016
Written By:
McKel (Hill) Kooienga
McKel Kooienga, MS, RDN, LDN

McKel Kooienga, MS, RDN, LDN

Founder of Nutrition Stripped® and the Mindful Nutrition Method™

Dietitian Nutritionist shared 10 ways to get centered and stay grounded to reset your body in times of stress.

So many of you, my clients, and the NS community ask me about how to stay balanced and centered during those times when you’re doing ALL the things. Which for me, is almost every single day running Nutrition Stripped! From balancing projects with work, keeping up with family and friends, taking care of Luna, staying healthy, and making my love top priority at the end of the day could be really overwhelming if I let it get the best of me.

Over the almost last 4 years of NS (can you believe it?!), I’ve learned some things I want to share with you today. So here it goes, 10 tips for staying centered and grounded even when things are at the busiest.

Today I’m continuing the NS lifestyle series and covering the pillar of health that is your CENTER. So far I’ve explained how your squad, food, exercise, love, and managing stress are the first five pillars of living well. Staying centered is an important component of your mental and emotional health that have a huge impact on your wellbeing.

You start to feel off-center, then maybe you start stress eating, or sleeping less, or maybe you don’t get any physical activity or self care. Sound familiar? I’m sure it does, because when you’re feeling ungrounded and out of focus, one or more of your habits is bound to fall. (Side note – it’s not about being “perfect” and having everything in order, instead it’s about using all of your tools to feel your best so that you can be your best!) Below I’m sharing my 10 go-to’s for staying centered and keeping everything else in line.

No. 01

Non-negotiables. First of all, you may be thinking “what in the world is a non-negotiable, McKel?” Well, non-negotiables are those things in your routine or your lifestyle that are must-do’s that you prioritize to stay healthy. Taking time to reflect on your lifestyle and decide what things you need to feel 100% and at your best every day. This could be making sure you get some kind of physical activity, at least 5 minutes of meditation, telling your family/friends/significant other “I love you”, walks with your pet, time away from your devices, etc. You know yourself best and you know what w

No. 02

Routines. Creating and practicing a routine is one of the most powerful things you can do to train your body to stay centered. There are many different kinds of routines – morning, evening, workout, workday, etc. Find the time where you tend to feel the most off center and create a routine for that time. Do you wake up and immediately feel rushed and like you’re already behind? Create a morning routine to stop the cycle and find center first thing in the day. There’s great power in starting your day feeling calm and in control. Read my posts on morning routines and workout routines (p.s. evening routine coming soon!) or check out the book Manage Your Day to Day for more ideas and inspiration on building a routine.

No. 03

Reflect. Take time to pause and reflect on where you are, where you’ve come from, and where you’re going. This can be mentally for just a few moments or in a journal to make it concrete. Sometimes simply reminding yourself of how far you’ve come can be incredibly powerful for making you feel centered.

No. 04

Mindfulness and meditation. I feel like a broken record with how often I recommend mindfulness and meditation, but it’s one of my own non-negotiables for staying centered so I can’t say enough! If you already have a mindfulness or meditation practice, make it a habit and continue challenging yourself and growing! If you’re new to the whole idea, check out Gabby Bernstein, Leo Babuta, and one of my favorite books The Power of Now. You might also try a guided meditation with an app like, Simple Habit, or Headspace. Just remember that meditation is a tool for staying centered, so don’t get disappointed or frustrated with yourself if you have trouble meditating the first time. You’re training your brain to think a totally different way, so it may be difficult at first. If it is, don’t sweat it!

No. 05

Give yourself grace. Along the same lines as my last thought, don’t let failure or difficulty trying new things get you down. Failure is vital for learning and growing! You can’t be perfect 100% of the time, so accept that you will have moments of difficulty and give yourself grace when they come. Trying again the next day with a fresh outlook will empower you to learn and grow.

No. 06

Mantras. You might feel silly at first talking to yourself, but mantras are super powerful for your mindset and staying centered. I challenge all of my clients to come up with mantras for every day and have my own personal mantras that I start the day with or remind myself of when I need them. If you need some inspiration for creating your own, check out this post with 10 ideas.

No. 07

Sleep. When you start to get busy, sleep can be the first thing to go. For me, sleep is definitely a non-negotiable because without enough my entire day is affected! If you notice your sleep getting restless or shorter, try to wind down an hour earlier than usual, cut off the TV or your phone before bed, get in a quick high-intensity workout like this one to get your body tired, or try out a magnesium supplement like Natural Calm (just don’t drink it right before bed since you’ll probably need to get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom!).

No. 08

Talk about it. Sometimes just talking about your feelings can make you feel so much better. Call up a friend, join a supportive community like the Society, or write it all down in a journal. Oftentimes when you speak your overwhelm, you’ll get relief, affirmation, and perspective. Just be mindful not to let it become a negative habit of complaining. There’s a difference between a healthy vent session and a complaint marathon! Ask yourself if your venting is a means to feeling centered or just negative thoughts ruminating.

No. 09

Take a break. Give yourself time to reset, refocus, and nourish your mind, body, and spirit. Try this 3 day reset I shared or read 5 ways to give your body a reset for a guideline and inspiration for your own break.

No. 10

Optimize. You can add optimizers into your diet to give your body and extra boost to fight outside stressors. Adaptogens are excellent optimizers for giving your body support to manage stress (read more about optimizers in this post). The Stripped Reset has an optimizer option for every recipe for those of you that want to take it up a notch and really give your body the tools to reset and optimize your health. Even if you have a pretty good foundation (which if you’re here at NS I have a hunch that you do), you can still take your health to the next level with optimizers and a mind/body reset so you can say, “Oh! This is what amazing feels like!”