Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Dear Stress, Let's break up!

For me, this week has been stressful, mainly good stress that will allow me to celebrate things personally and professionally, but stressful nonetheless.  We all have moments in life that cause us to experience stress on some level. Stress, in normal, healthy doses can be a good thing. However, if you find yourself stressed to an abnormal level or an inability to cope, it may be helpful to try some stress management techniques. I've listed a few that are helpful to me.

Wash your cares away-Try taking a shower or bath. There is something refreshing and cleansing about water. The ability to control the water temperature, amount of time in the shower/bath and if you have one of those fancy shower heads, you can even control the intensity of the water (after all, a lot of stress is due to things we cannot control). Imagine your stressors going down the drain with the water. Allow yourself to exit the shower/bath refreshed, renewed and clean and free from stress.

Laughter is good for the soul-We've all heard this. Laughter not only lightens your mental load, it also causes physical changes within the body. In short, laughter increases our feel good hormones (endorphins) and can also help with muscle relaxation. So, watch a funny TV show, read a joke or recall a funny moment. Daily I find a "line of the day". That is something that was said either by me or someone else that tickled me and gets me through the day, sometimes longer.

Get you motor running-Yes, get up and do something! Dance, cook, exercise, sing, or shop. Just get up. Exercise does the same thing as laughing, it releases those endorphins.

Woosah-If getting up and getting out is too much, that's OK. Conversely, if you need to take a break and breather, do so! Take a nap, relax quietly in a dark room or meditate on peaceful and relaxing things.

Just use your imagination-Barney said it best, right? (I used to teach preschool so I know QUITE a few Barney songs)!
"Close your eyes and you will find
There are pictures in your mind
Things that you can see and feel
All those things are very real
You can be most anywhere,
When your imagination takes you there"
Barney taught many how to use their imagination and create! In stressful instances, try some guided imagery or relaxation/deep breathing exercises. Imagine yourself in a calm, peaceful place. It may be a beach, a spa or your bedroom. Just somewhere that is calm, safe and relaxing to you. Monitor your breathing and allow yourself to feel calm. I'll admit, this one was very hard for me in the beginning because like most of you, I'm thinking about 1 million things at once. But, with practice, you can learn to quiet your mind and decrease your stress level.

In Don't Sweat The Small Stuff, psychotherapist, Richard Carlson says, "ask yourself this question: will this matter a year from now?" If your answer is no, start to let go of unnecessary stressors. If your answer is yes, work to learn to manage it in a healthy and adaptive manner.

If you struggle with daily stress management, counseling or talking to a trained professional may be helpful.

*Info in this blog is strictly my personal and/or professional opinion. Posts and comments are not intended to treat, diagnose or replace any medical advice you may have received. Please contact your doctor or therapist if you feel you need help, and in case of an emergency, dial 911 or go to your nearest emergency room.*