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Cold or Flu?
By Carol LeBeau
11/20/2015 3:05:27 PM

When my friend, Susan, called to cancel our lunch date, I could tell something was wrong. Her voice sounded raspy and her energy was clearly low. “I feel awful, “ she complained. “I don’t know whether I’ve got a cold or the flu.” My friend’s not alone. How do you know whether your sore throat and fatigue may be signaling a cold? Or could those sniffles and body aches the first signs of the flu? I decided to find out what the experts have to say. The good folks at the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases have some pretty good guidelines regarding the difference between cold and flu symptoms. They use the simple acronym, FACTS to make it easy to determine whether your symptoms mean a few uncomfortable days with a cold…or an indicator of more serious case of the flu. F—The flu typically results in fever. A—Muscle aches are more common with the flu. C—Chills are more common with the flu. T—Real “I can’t get out of bed” tiredness is more associated with the flu. S—A cold usually comes on gradually…a flu, suddenly. According to Dr. Susan Rehm, Medical Director of the Foundation, it’s important to know whether you have a cold or the flu. Rehm says, “About all we can offer for a cold is chicken soup and symptom relief medications. However, there are effective anti-viral prescriptions to treat the flu.” Dr, Rehm says when it comes to the flu, medications will get you better…faster. She recommends three approaches: 1. Know what you have to prevent it from spreading 2. Get vaccinated to prevent the spread 3. Use anti-viral medication By the way, it’s not too late to be vaccinated for the current seasonal flu. Although the flu traditionally peaks in February, it has peaked as late as April. The vaccination - easy to find at many pharmacies - takes two weeks to become effective. Preventive measures are just good sense.Cover your mouth or nose when sneezing and stay home when you’re sick. Even though we know better, Americans continue social interaction even when the have the flu. We can do better folks. As it turns out, Susan did me (and everyone else at the restaurant we’d planned to meet for lunch!) a big favor. Her symptoms escalated quickly. Had she kept that lunch date, others could have become infected and she probably wouldn’t have gotten her diagnosis quickly enough to get on an anti-viral drug. Susan followed her doctor’s advice and stayed out of circulation until a day after her fever broke. She’s feeling fine and we’ve rescheduled our lunch date for next week. I wonder how many of us are flu-free today because of Susan’s actions? Hmm. Thanks Susan.Lunch is on me!
The Great Pumpkin
By Carol LeBeau
11/10/2015 2:03:14 PM


The holidays are fast approaching and that means it’s finally pumpkin season!

For me, it’s reason to celebrate because I love, love pumpkin pie. My husband will tell you it’s just an excuse to eat whipped cream (another of my most fave foods!).  But that’s just not true. I actually picked up a pumpkin pie at Albertsons the other day…just for me! Within two days, my personal pie was no more than an empty pan.  

I suppose I should feel guilty for my annual splurge of the creamy confection I have loved since childhood. But the more I learn about what’s good about pumpkin, the better I feel. (Ok, an entire pie is a little over the top.) But it doesn’t stop there. 

Pumpkin bread, pumpkin ravioli, pumpkin risotto, pumpkin soup, pumpkin beer…pumpkin possibilities are endless and endlessly mouth watering this time of year.

Not only is fall’s signature squash versatile enough to fit into all the above, it also packs some powerful health perks…like keeping heart health, vision and waistlines in check (it’s best to eat your pie one slice at a time!).

Here are a few of the reasons the Great Pumpkin is great for your health:

Pumpkin Keeps Eyesight Sharp
A cup of cooked, mashed pumpkin contains more than 200 percent of your RDA of vitamin A, which aids vision, especially in dim light. Pumpkin is also rich in carotenoids, the compounds that give the gourd their bright orange color, including beta-carotene, which the body converts into a form of vitamin A for additional peeper protection.

Pumpkin Aids Weight Loss
Pumpkin is an often-overlooked source of fiber, but with three grams per one-cup serving and only 49 calories (without the whipped cream!), it can keep you feeling full longer on fewer calories.

Pumpkin Seeds Can Help Your Heart
Nuts and seeds, including those from pumpkins, are naturally rich in certain plant-based chemicals called phytosterols that have been show in studies to reduce LDL or “bad" cholesterol.

Pumpkin May Reduce Cancer Risk
Like their orange comrades the sweet potato, the carrot and butternut squash, pumpkin boasts the antioxidant beta-carotene, which may play a role in cancer prevention, according to the National Cancer Institute.

Pumpkin Protects The Skin
According  “Health Magazine", the same free-radical-neutralizing powers of the carotenoids in pumpkin that may keep cancer cells at bay can also help keep the skin wrinkle-free.

Pumpkin Seeds Can Boost Your Mood
Pumpkin seeds are rich in the amino acid tryptophan…important in production of seratonin, one of the major players when it comes to your mood. Web MD reports, “a handful of roasted pumpkin seed may help your outlook stay bright.”

Pumpkin Can Help After a Hard Workout
Bananas are often touted as nature’s energy bar. But a cup of cooked pumpkin has more of the refueling nutrient, potassium…with 565 mg. to a banana’s 422. A little extra potassium helps restore the body’s balance of electrolytes after a heavy workout and keeps muscles functioning at their best.

Pumpkin Can Boost Your Immune System
Well, maybe. Whether or not vitamin C can really ward off colds is still up for debate, but pumpkin is a solid source of the essential nutrient. One cup of cooked pumpkin contains more than 11 milligrams, or nearly 20 percent of the 60 milligrams recommended daily for women. (Men should aim for 75 mg.)

‘Tis the season for overindulging, but if you go for the treats featuring pumpkin, you won’t have to beat yourself up. That creamy piece of pumpkin pie is packed with all kinds of good things for your health.  

Just take it easy on the whipped cream!

Menacing Menopause
By Carol LeBeau
10/27/2015 3:18:42 PM


I had my first hot flash nearly 20 years ago. It was as though summer had erupted at the very core of my being--culminating in a flushed face, moist scalp, and  the beginning of a rivulet of sweat making its way toward the small of my back.

A hysterectomy at 42 forced the issue--allowing me to skip peri-menopause altogether, while dumping me into the middle of full-blown menopause. Bleh! 

Thankfully, hormone therapy, in the form of a trans-dermal, bio-identical cream brought years of blessed relief from those wretched bursts of heat, dryness and volatile emotions.

In my late 50s, I was forced to give up hormone therapy—cold tukey-- when breast cancer invaded my life. The miserable symptoms of menopause returned with a vengeance. To make matters worse, following a double mastectomy, my oncologist put me on the anti-estrogen medication, Tamoxifen--a pharmacologic estrogen-seeking missile designed to destroy any trace of the hormone that could possibly feed any rogue cancer cells.

Left with no option but to find natural methods to manage my menopausal symptoms, I discovered several strategies to help ease my hot flashes, mood swings and headaches. 

Check and see whether these tips could help you balance your moods, find your keys and sweat less!

First, those not-so-hot HOT FLASHES! The bad news? There’s no way to avoid them altogether. My doctor recommended I keep track when the heat waves hit, then avoid the triggers that bring them on.

When I connected the dots, it became clear caffeine, alcohol and spicy foods could trigger a hot flash. So were stress, tight clothing and heat (duh!). I also found meditation or prayer (“Please Lord, help me stay calm and not sweat bullets in the middle of this meeting!!) and deep breathing--especially at the onset—can stop a flash in its tracks.

Next hurdle—NIGHT SWEATS-- hot flashes on steroids! If you haven’t had a night sweat, think of it as a hot flash over-achiever!  A good night sweat can soak you from your PJ’s to your sheets. Arrrggghhh!

But a cool bedroom, wicking pajamas (same material as your workout shirts) and a fan really help slow the sweats. With a floor fan right next to my bedside, I whip off the blanket when I wake with the warmies—usually cooling down in minutes. I haven’t tried one, but many women swear by their chill pillows. I’m limited because of my cancer history, but some find success with herbs and supplements, such as black cohosh. Just check with your doctor first.

Finally, when I keep my body alkaline by drinking lemon water throughout the day, I just seem to do better. No science here, just trial and error.

As for MOOD SWINGS, FATIGUE, HAIR LOSS and MEMORY LOSS? It may sound simplistic, but exercise and a healthy diet can do a long way toward mitigating those miserable menopausal symptoms. Make sure you get plenty of vitamin B-12 from fish, lean meats and eggs. Avoid added sugars, chemicals, preservatives and the other bogey-men of a “crappy” diet. Stress, as well as lack of sleep and exercise just make things worse. I’ve been there. It’s not worth it.

Ditto for LOSS OF LIBIDO, HEADACHES and the “Where did-my-abs-go?” WEIGHT CREEP? (Sorry—no magic bullets.)

Bottom line? Be proactive! Taking care of yourself will put you at lower risk of all kinds of health-related conditions, including the symptoms of menopause.

Oh no! I think I just felt the furnace in my low back kick on!  “Please, Lord…”

Stand Up for Health
By Carol LeBeau
10/5/2015 4:53:04 PM


Have you heard? When it comes to your health, sitting may be the new smoking! While the analogy may seem far-fetched, many scientists and medical experts are convinced prolonged sitting is bad for your health.

Perhaps we should know this intuitively. After a long road trip or plane flight, doesn’t it feel good to get up and stretch?  Now there’s solid science that proves it’s more than a feeling.  A leading science and sports association recently released the results of a study that found time spent on our backsides is linked to higher rates of death and disease.

Think about it. Even if we carve out time for exercise and leisure time activities, most of us still sit for long stretches working at a desk, sitting in class, riding in a car, working at a computer, watching TV or playing video games. Sadly, all that fanny time may be killing us.

Long bouts on our bums can cause serious physiological responses related to chronic disease and a shortened life span. The University of Queensland found that people who stood up frequently had lower levels of C-reactive protein (a marker for blood fat).  They also had smaller waistlines. And in a crucial finding, it was the frequency of standing, not the duration that counted.

One study found that a woman’s risk of developing metabolic syndrome increased 26% for every extra hour of sitting. Long periods of sitting in an upright position can also strain your back, causing chronic pain. Blood clots are another risk of being inactive.  

Standing more often throughout the day can improve circulation, muscle tone and vitality. It can also help keep blood flowing freely to your head and that’s good for keeping your brain sharp.  

Bottom line…too much bottom time is bad for your health. More and more studies are coming to the same conclusion: when you sit, your body pretty much stops working. So consider spending more of your day upright:

  • - Take more short breaks to stand and stretch (or walk) How ‘bout setting a timer?
  • - Hold meetings standing up (you’ll save lots of time on this one!)
  • - Stand up when talking on the phone. (This really works for me and studies show you’ll be perceived as having a better attitude, to boot!).
  • - Consider a standing desk (or just raise your old one).
  • - Set up your office so things aren’t within arm’s reach.
  • - Read standing up. Studies show you’ll actually remember more!

Want more motivation? Standing for just two hours during an average workday can burn an extra 280 calories. 
Folks, we have to intentionally move. Our daily activities not longer require it. So, bottoms up! Let’s all get up off our duffs. (If you’ll please excuse me, I have to stand up and return a phone call.)  

Little Switzerland
By Carol LeBeau
9/25/2015 2:38:29 PM


Until last week, I’d never even heard of Helvetia. Now I can’t wait to return to the tiny town nestled in the mountains of West Virginia.

It’s all because of Clay. My fabulous brother-in-law and his wife, Patsy live in Highland County, a lovely farming community in Virginia. Tom and I were there for a visit, enjoying time together in the most peaceful place I’ve ever been.

But all that peace comes at a price. For one, restaurants are few and far between in the rural area near the border with West Virginia. No problem for Clay and Patsy. They know all the dining hot spots and are willing to take a road trip most anywhere to enjoy a good meal.

At Clay’s insistence, we all climbed in the car and headed for one of his favorite eateries…two hours down the road! Truthfully, I thought it a bit much—driving 70 mountainous miles for lunch.

Thankfully, I kept my feelings to myself because, I couldn’t have been more wrong.

The drive alone was worth the trip, a quiet, tree-lined highway wound through miles of unspoiled, natural beauty that took my breath away. Mountains, valleys, late-summer sunlight streaming through the trees…it was like traveling through a postcard!

At long last, signs of civilization appeared, including our destination - a colorfully painted restaurant called Hutte (HUH-tuh). Inside and out, the cheerfully charming restaurant perfectly represented its colorful heritage. Hutte could have been as easily located in the Swiss Alps as the mountains of Appalachia! 

Thankfully, Clay was quick with a lesson on the history of Hutte and the quaint community surrounding it.

Six years after West Virginia gained its statehood, a group of Swiss immigrants made the rugged journey to settle in a high remote valley of the newly formed state.

Despite the many challenges living in an isolated area brings, (the railroad never even made it to the town!) the Swiss settlers farmed the land and built Swiss-style homes, forming the tiny town (population: 59!) of Helvetia.  (Hel-VAY-shuh)

Despite its size, Helvetia remains steeped in its Swiss heritage and unique culture.  We dined on authentic Swiss cuisine - bratwurst, sauerbraten and homemade cheeses. The bowl of mueslix I ordered was a meal in itself, a bowl brimming with fresh whole grains, nuts, yogurt, fruit with a generous drizzle of local honey. Divine!

Heaping servings of homemade peach cobbler and whipped cream may have been dessert, but for me, the last course was yet to come as we settled into Clay’s car for the delightful drive back to the farm.

Should you ever find yourself in Appalachia, make sure your itinerary includes a trip to the “little Switzerland” in the mountains of West Virginia. Believe me, it’s worth the drive!

FYI: You can get your full of the Swiss culture at the annual Helvetia Community Fair, held every September in the tiny town in Randolph County, West Virginia.

Almost heaven…….

Recognizing Depression
By Carol LeBeau
9/10/2015 4:48:57 PM


It seems a day doesn’t go by without news of a horrific shooting or other tragic event linked to someone with depression. These ghastly events have forced us to take a hard look at mental illness - the cause, treatment and signs of a disease that doesn’t yet show up in blood work, an x-ray or urine specimen.

Truth is, the vast majority of people with depression are not violent and will never act out like the Chattanooga shooter. In fact, most cases of depression manifest in surprising, insidious ways you might not imagine…signs you or someone you care about might be heading down a path of misery and hopelessness.  

For instance, is your shopping out-of-control? Are you covering up your spending? For some people who are depressed, compulsive buying, in stores or on the Internet, can serve as a distraction or self-esteem booster. But it’s a short-lived high, because it doesn’t address underlying depression. 

You may have no interest in taking a gun to a movie theater, but you find yourself drinking heavily. Nearly a third of people with major depression abuse alcohol. Although a drink may seem like it provides a lift when you’re down, it can make depression episodes worse and more frequent.

While you may not be a soldier returning from Afghanistan with PTSD, depression may be one reason for feeling foggy or forgetful. It may also result in binge eating and obesity. A University of Alabama study found that young adults who report being depressed tended to gain weight more around the waist, a risk for heart disease. Other studies have linked depression with binge eating.

How about Internet use? Depressed people prefer virtual social interactions to those of real-life. Many studies have shown a strong link between high levels of depression and excessive time on the Internet.

And while a depressed person would never dream of hurting anyone, he or she may shoplift. For some people who feel powerless and insignificant from depression, shoplifting provides feelings of power and importance.

If you or someone you love has stopped taking care of herself/himself, take heed. Suddenly neglecting basic self-care can be a sign of depression and low self-esteem. The signs may be a small as neglecting to fasten your seat belt, wash your hair or brush your teeth.

Another surprising sign of depression is back pain. Studies show that depression may be a risk factor for chronic lower back pain. By the same token, having chronic pain puts you at risk for depression.

I never knew the back and joint pain I experienced as a young woman was a common symptom of depression…but even worse was my exaggerated emotions. Some people with depression show little emotion. Others show too much. I found myself suddenly irritable or explosive and felt overwhelmed by feelings of sadness, hopelessness, worry and fear. Finally reaching the end of my rope, I got help in the form of therapy and medication. It changed my life and I remain eternally grateful.

I assure you, the thought of violence never occurred to me, but the “black hole” of sadness and anxiety I experienced robbed me of my joy and caused inexplicable pain.  

When it comes to depression, we must not include the handful of extremely disturbed people who create mayhem in our society among the millions of us who suffer from a variety of mental illnesses.  

We don’t want to hurt anyone. We just want back our joy.

**If you’re struggling with the symptoms of depression, please contact your doctor. There is help. If you don’t have a physician, contact the Department of Behavioral Health at Palomar Health to connect with highly trained mental health professionals who can help get you back to your old self…being productive and enjoying life.

Sweet Dreams: How to Sleep Like a Baby
By Carol LeBeau
8/27/2015 2:57:40 PM


Last night I slept nine hours. And tonight, if I can, I’ll sleep nine more! I used to apologize for getting so many zzz’s. No more. Over time I’ve learned that’s how much sleep I need each night and always have. When I try to get by on less (and I have tried!) I feel lousy. I’m less productive, irritable and cranky.

I wish I were like many of my friends and colleagues who seem to do just fine on five or six hours in the sack. Feeling guilty about “wasting” so much time snoozing, I’ve tried to sleep less, but then found myself wasting the entire next day feeling zonked and out-of-it.

Talk about misplaced guilt! There is no reason to feel bad about getting a good night’s sleep. In fact, medical research has proven a lack of sleep can be deadly!  When people get less than 6 or 7 hours of sleep each night, their risk of developing a variety of diseases increases. Studies prove it. If laboratory rats are regularly deprived of sleep, they live only 5 weeks of their 2 to 3 year life expectancy!

You may recall former President Bill Clinton’s health scare several years ago. He had two stents placed due to a couple of blocked coronary arteries. In a televised interview following his recovery, Mr. Clinton, known for his ability to perform on four or five hours’ of sleep, admitted trying to snooze a little more these days. Under doctor’s orders, the former president now turns out the lights a little earlier, getting at least 7 hours of shut-eye.

Need another reason to snuggle under the comforter a while longer? How about 9 more? In addition to keeping your heart healthy, the “Archives of Internal Medicine” lists several more health benefits:

  1. Sleep May Prevent Cancer. Late shift workers are at higher risk for breast and colon cancer. It’s believed light exposure at night reduces melatonin levels…a hormone that both makes us sleepy and may protect against cancer.
  2. Sleep Reduces Stress. When your body is deprived of sleep, it goes into a state of stress, increasing blood pressure and the production of stress hormones.
  3. Sleep Reduces Inflammation. Stress hormones raise the level of inflammation in your body…creating the risk for a variety of disease conditions.
  4. Sleep Makes You More Alert. Duh!
  5. Sleep Bolsters Your Memory. Dream-time and deep sleep are important for the brain to make memories and links.
  6. Sleep May Help You Lose Weight. It’s believed lack of sleep impacts the balance of hormones in the body that affect appetite.
  7. Naps Make You Smarter. Napping improves memory, cognitive function and mood.
  8. Sleep May Reduce Your Risk for Depression. Sleep impacts the brain’s mood-elevating chemical, serotonin.
  9. Sleep Helps the Body Make Repairs. Sleep is a time for your body to repair damage caused by stress, ultra-violet rays and other harmful exposures.

Not to mention,a good night’s sleep just makes you feel good! Sweet dreams!

Be sure and watch this blog. Coming soon: expert advice (and a couple of personal tips) to help you get a great night’s sleep! 

These Aren't Your Mother's Brussels Sprouts!
By Carol LeBeau
8/13/2015 10:41:12 AM


My first memory of Brussels sprouts was feeding them to the dog under the table, hoping Mom didn’t catch me. Apparently, “Chucky” didn’t like them either!  And that spoke volumes, because our crazy dog would eat anything!!

Brussels sprouts have a bad rep, but even if you’ve gagged on the boiled-till-it’s-mush version of the leafy, green veggie, you may want to give them another shot.  

I had my first roasted Brussels sprouts at “Bo-Beau” in Ocean Beach and fell in love with the tasty morsel of crunchy, savory yumminess. Intended as an appetizer, those mouthwatering little veggies tasted more like dessert! Parmesan cheese, chunks of flavorful pancetta with a balsamic port reduction—a virtual party for my taste buds!

Apparently, oven-roasting Brussels sprouts brings out their sweet, almost nutty flavor and keeps them crisp while diminishing the harsh, sulfurous odor and taste that can be, well, nasty!

The to-die-for roasted Brussels sprouts are the creation of Chef Katherine Humphus with the Cohn Restaurant Group. Bo-Beau’s signature dish is now also available at “Sea180” in Imperial Beach and the “Prado” in Balboa Park.

But if you’d rather eat at home, here’s some good news: Chef “Kat” is now sharing her famous recipe with the rest of us! Check it out!


1 cup Brussels sprouts, trimmed and quartered
Vegetable oil for sautéing Brussels sprouts
1 tablespoon pancetta, diced
Salt, pepper to taste
Balsamic port reduction
1 tablespoon parmesan, shaved

Cut pancetta into medium-sized dice and crisp up in a pan on stove top, on high heat. Drain grease, and reserve.
Fill a sauté pan with 2 inches of vegetable oil and heat to 375 degrees. Fry Brussels sprouts for 30 seconds. Remove with slotted spoon to mixing bowl. Toss with pancetta, salt and pepper. Plate with balsamic port reduction (recipe follows) drizzled on top, plus 1 tablespoon of shaved parmesan.


1 cup balsamic vinegar
1 cup port wine
Place in small saucepan and reduce over medium-high heat for about 15 minutes, until it thickens to the consistency of maple syrup.

(Bo-beau Kitchen + Bar recipe, from executive chef Katherine Humphus).

Oh, one more thing about Brussels sprouts. Mom was right. They are good for you! In fact, Brussels sprouts are surprisingly high in protein for a green vegetable, and just one serving meets your needs for vitamin C and vitamin K for the day.

Brussels sprouts are a part of the cruciferous vegetable family, which also includes the nutritional powerhouses, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and collard greens, all of which supply loads of nutrients for a small number calories. 

Even if you hate the thought of eating Brussels sprouts, please, give Chef Kat’s recipe a try at one of the Cohn restaurants or in your own kitchen.

Trust me; these aren’t your mother’s Brussels sprouts!  

Rhine River Cruise
By Carol LeBeau
8/7/2015 3:05:54 PM


If I could, I would fast-forward to next May! I’m that excited about our upcoming Romantic Rhine River Cruise!

It’s not that we haven’t cruised before. Ten years ago, we joined two thousand other travelers for a cruise to Alaska. Our cabin was comfortable. The food was incredible and views of the Alaskan coastline were beyond spectacular.

But the enormous cruise ship, lines of people embarking and disembarking and crowded venues was a bit much for us. That’s why the idea of a river cruise has always been so appealing. For years, while pouring over beautiful brochures, we’ve dreamt of taking a peaceful cruise along one of Europe’s legendary rivers.

Our dream comes true May 13 through 22, 2016. What’s even more exciting is that Tom and I have been invited to “host” the excursion. And we would love to have you join us!  

Together we’ll enjoy guided sightseeing in Strasbourg, Koblenz and Cologne, as well as an excursion to Heidelberg, Germany’s oldest university town. We’ll sail through the dramatic Rhine Gorge - the most beautiful stretch of river dotted every mile with castles.

As we gently cruise along on Avalon Waterways’ “Felicity,” we’ll have ample time (and space!) to take photos that capture the romance and splendor of this magical journey.

The “Felicity is fabulous!  

  • Wall-to-wall panoramic windows
  • Sky deck with shade awnings and whirlpool
  • Friendly English-speaking crew
  • Lounges and upscale bars
  • Fitness Center
  • Onboard movie nights and well-stocked library

And instead of a crowd of 2,000, we’ll be traveling with closer to 200 fabulous folks, including our little delegation (20ish) from San Diego.

The staterooms have flat screen satellite TV’s, floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors with French balconies and (my personal favorite) comfy beds from the Comfort Collection.

There’s so much to see and do on this amazing trip. Tom and I can’t wait. And we’d love to have you experience this trip of a lifetime with us. (For all the info, click on Romantic Rhine River Cruise through Buckhalter Travel at carollebeau.com)

(And remember…you only have to unpack once! Now, that’s a vacation!!)

Stress Busters
By Carol LeBeau
7/30/2015 10:17:09 AM


I’ve been stressed out all week. The reasons why aren’t really important. It’s just life. I’m sure you can relate.

So, what are we going to do about it? Is there anything we can do about it?

I did a little research and came up with 10 ways to stop stress. Several are my own ideas. The others come from a variety of health experts. So the next time you’re at the end of your rope, try some of these simple tips to help lower your heart rate and ease tension:

1. Break Out the Bubble Gum! I’m totally serious! I’ve used this strategy for years. Sometimes it just helps to stop and unwrap a stick of gum. Studies show chewing gum lowers anxiety and eases stress. Some researchers think the rhythmic act of chewing may improve blood flow and improve blood flow to your brain. Others believe the smell and taste help you relax. (As a matter of fact, I’m chomping on a “Double Bubble” right now!)
2. Get Outside. I think most would agree spending time outdoors, even close to home, leads to better well-being. You’re in a natural setting, usually doing something active like walking or hiking. I’ve found even a few minutes can make a difference in how I feel.
3. Smile Like You Mean It. During times of tension, keeping a smile on your face, especially a genuine smile that’s formed by the muscles around your eyes as well as your mouth, reduces your body’s stress responses, even if you don’t feel happy. Smiling also help lower heart rates faster, once your stressful situation ends. 
4. Sniff Some Lavender. Honestly, this doesn’t do much for me…but for some, certain scents like lavender can soothe. In one study, nurses who pinned small vials of lavender essential oil to their clothes felt their stress ease, while nurses who did not felt more stress. There are a number of essential oils that have been proven to help combat stress.
5. Tune In. This one’s a no-brainer. Music can absolutely help you calm down. In one study, people had lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol when they listened to a recording of Latin Choral music before doing something stressful, such as doing math out loud or giving a speech, than when they listened to a recording of rippling water. (I don’t know about Latin Choral music, but a bit of Bach might help!)
6. Reboot Your Breath. When stressed, many of us literally forget to breathe! Focusing on your breath curbs your body’s “fight or flight” reaction to pressure or fear. It also pulls your attention away from negative thoughts. So sit comfortably in a quiet place. Breathe in slowly through your nose, letting your chest and lower belly rise and your abdomen expand. Breathe out just as slowly, repeating a word or phrase that helps you relax. For the most benefit, repeat for at least 10 minutes.  (This really works.)
7. Be Kind to Yourself. Staying positive and using compassionate self-talk will help you calm down and get a better grip on the situation. Talk to yourself in the same, gentle, encouraging way you’d help a friend in need. “Everything will be ok,” for instance, or “I’ll figure out how to handle this.”
8. Write Your Stress Away. Jotting down your thoughts can be a great emotional outlet. Once they’re on paper, according to most therapists, your can start making a plan to resolve them. It doesn’t matter whether you prefer pen and notebook, a phone app or file on your laptop. The important thing is that you’re honest about your feelings.
9. Tell a Friend. This is my personal favorite. While writing down my thoughts and feelings may be helpful, if I’m feeling overwhelmed, there’s nothing better than talking to a close friend or loved one. For me, it’s like letting the air out of a balloon! And if that friend is dealing with the same worries as you? Even more reason to open up. You’ll both feel less alone.
10. Get Moving! Without a doubt, working up a sweat improves your mood, clears your head and allows you to take a break from whatever is stressing you out. I’ve literally cried, prayed and made major decisions during my morning runs over the years. Whether you like a nice walk or an intense workout at the gym, you’ll feel uplifted afterward.

I’m sure there are more than 10 ways to calm down. Feel free to add to the list.
The main thing is having that place or activity to go to decompress and regroup during stressful times.

Altogether now, let’s take a deep, cleansing breath….