Ten Strategies to Manage Stress published | 26 September By Bliss Specialist Kelly If you are like most people, stress will be something you encounter on a daily basis. We seem to go from day to day with enormous levels of stress bearing down on our shoulders, triggered by an array of scenarios — some logical, others not. Learning to manage this powerful emotional and physiological response to adverse or demanding circumstances is paramount in living a well-balanced, healthy and HAPPY life! 1. Become Self-Aware All too often people become accustomed to living in a constant state of stress. Self-awareness is the process of become aware and paying attention to how often in a day you find yourself having stressful reactions or thoughts. Once you are able to identify your stress triggers you can start to make changes to minimize stressful situations. It is important to note that stress can impact different people in different ways. Stress can manifest itself in a variety of physical, psychological or emotional responses. These responses include: headaches, digestive issues, restlessness, fatigue, negative thoughts or feelings, anxiety, etc. Pay attention to what your mind, body and spirit are telling you. 2. Wake-up Earlier If you can set your alarm 15-20 minutes earlier in the morning then you can start your day with a sense of calm. A peaceful beginning to the day will assist you in setting the tone for the remainder of the day. Spend those few extra minutes either relaxing or prioritizing and organizing your day. If you are running out the door forgetting your lunch, keys or child’s backpack you are more likely to feel stress throughout the day. Make more time for peace. 3. Find the Right Pace for YOUR Family Parenting, in general, can be stressful. Take some time to set the expectations and baseline pace for your family. It is normal for this pace to ebb and flow, but it is up to you to plan and create stability that everyone can take comfort in. If you want to slow down, make one small change that will have an impact on enhancing quality family time. Whether it’s walking your child to school, having family dinners or arranging a family game night. 4. Make Your Health a Priority! Self-care is crucial! A healthy diet with plenty of water, a good night’s sleep and regular exercise will help your body to better-handle stress. Avoid junk food and processed sugar. Sugars only provide the body with a temporary spike in energy and remember to drink more water. If you are not sleeping well your body will naturally go into stress mode. So next time you consider staying up late to get everything done, think again, because it will only increase your problems. Sleep is truly an amazing medicine! Move it or Lose it! Try to exercise for thirty minutes 3-5 times per week. Take the dog for a walk, go for a quick run or swim, take a short yoga class, hit the gym or DANCE. And if you need some support in exploring lifestyle solutions, book an appointment at Urban Wellness 5. Practice Relaxation Exercises Whether you are sitting at a desk all day or running around after your kids remember to release tension with frequent breaks to stretch your neck, shoulders, back and hips. Take time throughout the day to breathe deeply! This will assist you in getting oxygen into your blood which will keep you energized. If you find you are dealing with racing thoughts, try a three-minute meditation to help you re-focus. A headstand or handstand can also help to ground your-self and assist you in finding balance (literally). 6. Learn to Say ‘No’ It is natural to want to say yes and help out wherever and whenever possible. When we over-commit and take on too much we increase our risk of stress reactions and burnout. If you have a lot on your plate get comfortable and confident with graciously saying “NO” By saying ‘NO’ you are practicing self-love and self-care, which will give you more energy, control and self-confidence. 7. Quick Wins The never ending “To-Do” list can become overwhelming and contribute to feelings of anxiousness and hopelessness. Next time you find yourself in a state of over-thinking stop and pick one thing that you can do right now to take control of your situation. Take action by focusing on ‘quick wins’ to build momentum. 8. Process Your feelings More often then not, we tend to sweep our true feelings under the rug instead of processing and dealing with them. We tend to judge ourselves or make someone else responsible for the situation we may find our self in, contributing to feelings of stress. Slow down and consider what your feelings are telling you. Try to look at every situation as an opportunity for growth and learning. Therapy is also wonderful to do this as well! Therapy is not only reserved for those in crisis or struggling with problems in their lives. Yes, we see clients in tough times and times of heartbreak however we also see people in times of peace and in times of love and growth. While some individuals may see a therapist out of necessity it is something that everyone can benefit from, like going to the gym, we don’t necessarily need it, but it has the potential to optimize our lives. I believe therapy is a gift people can give to themselves, their life and to the people they love <3 9. Practice Gratitude Spend time reflecting on what you are grateful for! This will reduce the amount of time you spend comparing yourself to others or thinking about what you may be lacking. 10. Have FUN! It is important to treat yourself, experience pleasure and even indulge once in a while. After all what are we working so hard for if not to enjoy our lives outside of work? It is paramount to nurture your inner child and create time for play, silliness and fun. Remember to not take yourself too seriously. Along with sleep, LAUGHTER is AMAZING medicine! Be kind to yourself!