n a world filled with uncertainty and angst, it is important to have an arsenal of tools to combat and relieve stress and anxiety. The quick fixes of solacing yourself with foods high in sugar and fat or consuming alcoholic beverages can only get you so far without having some backlash.
To some degree, we all experience stress and anxiety and I get it! The school workload can seem like way too much to handle. Another demand at work and you will snap. Your kid gives you an attitude for the umteenth time and you’ve had it. Another breaking news headline to strike fear and anxiety into your being. And yet another post on social media about how things are looking grim and the end of the world is near.
Here’s my newsflash! It’s time to take a step back and take control of your thoughts, feelings, and how you view and react to life’s daily happenings. It’s true, there is a level of toxicity in our world and we do have problems that need fixing. However, we also live in a world that is a beautiful place filled with warm, compassionate and caring human beings, and we have so much to see, do, and offer to others. Motivational speaker Zig Ziglar once said, “When you focus on problems, you get more problems. When you focus on possibilities, you have more opportunities.” True that!
As a teacher, I see when children hit that “overload threshold.” I, too, experience the daily challenges of working with teens and tweens, striving to attend to their individual needs and being a source of support, guidance, and encouragement, all while being their teacher.
No matter how we spend our time each day, we all have to deal with something that can trigger stress and anxiety. We are, in fact, social creatures who feel and respond to our surroundings. The key thing is having strategies to respond to different situations and feeling confident that all is and will be just fine!
The next time you feel overwhelmed, exhausted, or that you just can’t carry on the way you are going any longer, implement these tips into your daily routine:
- Be present – Spend more time thinking about the current moment and less time worrying about the future. Act slowly and consciously and take time to pay attention to your surroundings. That may mean doing absolutely nothing for five minutes. Taking time to actively listen to someone when they are speaking and not thinking about what you have to do next can keep things more grounded. One thing that has worked for me when I feel like I am getting anxious or worked up about something is to focus on one thing in particular and take 10 slow, deep breaths.
- Exercise regularly – Research shows that getting sufficient exercise each day helps maintain not only a healthy body, but also a healthy and tuned up mental state. Physical activity produces natural painkillers called endorphins, which aid in stress reduction. Furthermore, exercise is effective at improving alertness, concentration, energy levels, and enhances overall cognitive functioning.1
- Have a balanced diet – Include a wide assortment of healthy foods into your diet. Stick to a variety of fruits, vegetables, and legumes. Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and foods that are high in sugar and can spike your insulin levels and throw your “mood-o-meter” for a whack! Drink plenty of water. Consume whole grain cereals, breads, and pasta. Enjoy a moderation of fish and poultry. Limit your intake of red meat.
- Do something that is fun and for yourself – It is so important to have a healthy outlet for the day’s stresses. For some people, writing is their therapy. Others may enjoy reading as a form of escaping reality. Simply find time to unwind and decompress on a regular basis doing something you love. Play with a pet, listen to music, get a massage, watch a favorite television show or movie. Just like your cell phone, your own personal batteries need to be recharged each day to full capacity.
For a complete guide to help you and your family’s overall well-being, from all things healthy home to eating, moving, sleeping, and thinking well strategies, grab a free copy of my 25-page WHOLE LOTTA LIVING GUIDE here.
During the holiday season, with the purchase of my new life transforming program 30 Days to Finding You: Your 10 Step Personal Happiness Formula you will also receive a free copy of my bestselling book The Ultimate Guide to Raising Teens and Tweens: Strategies for Unlocking Your Child’s Full Potential. When you purchase this program, please be sure to enter the discount code FREEBOOK to receive the free copy.
To a Peaceful Mind, Body, and Spirit!
1 “Physical Activity Reduces Stress.” Anxiety and Depression Association of America, ADAA, adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/related-illnesses/other-related-conditions/stress/physical-activity-reduces-st.