How to Feel in Control During Times of Stress

When stressful times come around, and they always will, it can be easy to let the stress get to you. Here’s how you can feel in control during times of stress.

When I first heard of the coronavirus and the subsequent restrictions, I was overcome with some scary thoughts. How do I protect my family of young adult kids and aged parents? What happens next? As I was in this stressful headspace, I was also wrist deep in a bag of pistachios. Anyone else a nervous eater like me? But then something CLICKED. 

I was not eating because I was hungry. I was eating because I was STRESSED, and ANXIOUS, and SCARED. 

When we are stressed, our judgement becomes clouded and it is easy for us to make poor choices. In stressful times it becomes even more important to know how to relax your mind and body. 

But I can’t de-stress in this situation, you say. Actually, you CAN de-stress, it just takes a little trick. 

Step 1: Take a breath.

Step 2: Take another deep breath.

Step 3: Take another deep breath and hold it.

Notice where you feel that breath. Do you feel it come in through your nose? Into your chest? Into your belly? Follow your breath as it moves in and out. 

Repeat again.
And one more time. 

Now that you have relaxed your brain and your body, you have the clarity to make better choices, both big and small. Even in times when our choices are limited, this simple exercise can give your mind the freedom to explore creative solutions. 

When I practiced this exercise today, I decided that what I need most is some intentional time outside with my husband. So, tonight we are having a picnic. I have stuff to make a macaroni salad and a tuna salad, found some onion rolls in my freezer, and of course some wine! Before we sit down to the picnic, we will take a walk, as if going to our picnic park.
Mission “be relaxed” accomplished. 

What comes up for YOU when you relax into your breath? What action will you take to find your peace in today’s world?

Be well,

Give a Little Love to Yourself

The month of February brings to mind love and romance, roses and candies.  It has become a month dedicated to lovers, finding ways to remind them how much you care for them.  But what about showing some love to yourself? 

So many of us spend our whole lives being busy, running around getting things done without a moment to rest. In spending so much time taking care of others, we neglect to take care of our own needs and wants. We run ourselves down, and no one can pour from an empty cup. In this month of love and romance we are presented with an opportunity to focus on loving ourselves. 

Here are a  few suggestions to show yourself some love and boost your own love bucket:

Step out into nature  

Whether it is sunny, cloudy or rainy, just step outside. Even if you only take 60 seconds, make it a sensory experience – take in the sights, smells, feelings, and sounds that surround you. There is plenty of nature wherever you are. What do you smell?  Maybe it’s the wetness of the rain on the grass or the sidewalk. What do you hear? It could be bickering squirrels or the wind through the trees or the silence that comes from a fresh snowfall. How does the outside feel on your skin? Turn your face up to the rain or sun. Love on yourself by simply being in nature.

Make time for movement

Run, walk, dance, stretch – it’s really that simple. Get yourself into the opposite stance than you spend your day in. For those of you who sit most of the day, stand up.  Stretch your arms above your head, as if you are trying to reach the sky.  For those of you who are up on your feet most of the day, bend your body.  Standing with your feet comfortably apart, bend forward using your hands for support if needed.  Just hang in this folded posture. Try this while sitting. Fold your torso over your legs. Breath into the change of position. Show your body some love by moving it in ways that feel good! 

Practice gratitude

We hear about practicing gratitude, and there are so many ways to be grateful that it is almost overwhelming.  Well, damn it, it’s time to just do this loving thing. Studies show that noting what you are grateful for from the day gets you better sleep, reduces anxiety, and improves mental health.  Let’s take it a step further and note what you are grateful for about who you are today. This might be difficult at first, so start with just one thing. Maybe you like how your eyes feel when you smile, maybe you like your hair today, or maybe you’re grateful you showed yourself some love by taking a moment for yourself. Writing down your gratitudes for the day gives you an extra boost to your brain and etches a new habit pattern.

Now that you have a different angle on February as the month of love and romance, let’s redefine how we really play it out.  Every day. We do have to live with ourselves for the rest of our lives, so lets make it the best we can. Now, say it with me everyone: I LOVE ME!