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Today I want to chat a bit about stress management. It is an area of life that I struggle with and have been exploring (and experimenting) with ways to help myself. Every mama bear has stressors in her life. So what do we do with that stress? Can we eliminate it? Decrease it? Why does stress management even matter?

Why manage stress?

So why should we bother managing our stress? According to Mayo Clinic “Stress is a normal psychological and physical reaction to the demands of life. A small amount of stress can be good, motivating you to perform well. But many challenges daily, such as sitting in traffic, meeting deadlines and paying bills, can push you beyond your ability to cope…. Stress management gives you a range of tools to reset and to recalibrate your alarm system. It can help your mind and body adapt (resilience). Without it, your body might always be on high alert. Over time, chronic stress can lead to serious health problems.”

Stress management is important in order to keep our bodies and minds healthy. While stress can cause major issues, Stress reduction has been seen to help decrease blood pressure, improve mental function, and promote healthy sleep! All good reasons to start taking charge and manage the stress!

Simple Solutions

First, you must identify the stressors- what are your stress triggers? Anything can be a stress trigger- relationships, health, schedule, job, finances, being late, children, life changes. Even if it is a positive change, change in itself is a stressor.

Once you have identified the stressor in your life, you can then address what to do about it. Is it something that can simply be dropped and removed (ie dropping that extra commitment that you hate to do anyways)? Or is it something you need to change your perspective on (a family member’s health)? Maybe it is something that will take steps to reduce (like saving money to buy a home or to get out of debt)?

By determining the stressor and figuring out what you can do about it, you have successfully taken the first few steps in managing your stress! That wasn’t so hard! Next, lets get into how to help manage when we can’t get rid of it all together!

Management Tips

Here are several stress management tips that I have been striving to implement in my life and have found to be benifitial:

  • Mindfulness- being aware of my stress, how I feel, and what is in (or out of) my control
  • Deep breathing- when I start to feel overwhelmed, like I am losing control, I have found that taking three deep breaths has been key in helping me regain myself.
  • Take a walk- Walking outside is a wonderful relaxer! It helps me to focus outside of the situation, to process what is going on, and to feel energized and renewed!
  • Music- music can help calm me when I listen with mindful relaxation. It can also help to change my mood, especially when I choose something upbeat and get the whole family dancing!
  • Healthy diet- food is not meant to be an emotional support system. I have been working on re-training myself with this! By choosing carefully what I eat and when, I still can enjoy comfort foods with moderation and have found that my healthier diet has decreased my stress (and my guilt!).
  • Regular exercise- exercise is wonderful for stress management! It helps me feel accomplished and is good for my body!
  • Sleep- I am truly working on this one! Although I am still working on finding the balance between sleep and working out, I feel like I am improving little by little!
  • Self Care- Taking some Mama time is very hard. However, I have found that when I do, I feel so much better! Maybe it is passing the baby to daddy and grabbing a hot shower (or bath) with no interruptions. Some days it may be reading a book to myself for a few minutes. Other days it is closing the bedroom door and having time working on a random project… whatever it is- it is vitally important to not ignore my own needs- not anymore!
  • Seek Help- for me, this has come through seeking counsel from a wise woman I know. However, some people may need professional help. Never be afraid to ask for help or to share with a trusted individual what you are going through and what you need!

In Conclusion

Stress is a part of life. What we do about it, how we manage it (or don’t), will affect our lives in many ways. Not only can it affect our mental health, but also our physical health. Find ways to minimize your stress and to cope with the stress you can’t eliminate. I have seen positive changes in my life, and I am sure you will as well!

Categories: HealthLife