Just a friendly reminder that we can help anyone else before we put our oxygen mask on first. Allow this photo to be a visual reminder to refilled our pitcher in order to refresh ourselves and others around us. We can not afford to neglect ourselves….our physical and mental health depends on it. How do you plan to refill your pitcher this weekend?
There is so much to be stressed about, but there’s so many other things I rather fill my mind with today. I understand that stress is a normal response to a state of unbalance. Signs that I look for when my stress is unbalanced are in the areas of cognitive, emotional, physical and behavioral. Our brains may react by experiencing increased forgetfulness, poor concentration, increased worrying, poor judgement and seeing only the negative. The emotional aspect of stress may present with moodiness, feelings of being overwhelmed, isolation, difficult to relax and increased irritability. Physical signs of stress may include aches & pains, nausea, easily catches colds, decreased sex drive and increased heart rate. Behavioral signs may appear in the form of less/more eating, too much/too little sleep, isolation, neglecting responsibilities and using alcohol, drugs and cigarettes to relax. These various symptoms if not addressed can lead to increased mental health concerns as the majority of these symptoms parallel with depression and anxiety. In efforts to increase mental wellness and prevent further stress, make an active effort to reduce stress today to improve overall mental health. These are the ten things I chose to use today to support my mission towards eliminating stress:
- I will participate in some form of meditation or relaxation (4-square breathing, progressive relaxation, visualization and/or stretching)
- I will eat balanced meal (at least 5 servings of fruits, veggies and 8 glasses of water)
- I review how I typically think about stress. Explore my “what ifs”? catastrophic thoughts? discounting the positives?
- I will take a break when I need one (I will leave the office for lunch).
- I will manage my time by planning my day so that it doesn’t run me.
- I will take about my troubles with close friend and end the conversation with a positive story.
- I will live a balanced life today. After work, I will make time for my hobby, me-time, a social event or watch a movie with the family.
- I will develop a realistic goal and break it up into smaller realistic goals and then break them up into even smaller realistic goals.
- I will evaluate possible future stress and identify what can I do to reduce it.
- I will ask for help. I will get in touch with my therapist if I’m having difficulties getting through my STRESS-FREE day.
Feel Free to use these ten ways to have a STRESS FREE day. Note: Please do not feel disappointed if your day is not completely stress-free by using these tips, if you reduced one of your signs or decreased your symptoms of stress, you have made strides. Let’s Celebrate our progress!!!
Balancing the Stress,
Shayla Peterson, LCSW
As I look at this personal photo I’m reminded of how beautiful the weather was on that day, how the sun FELT on my skin, the SOUND of the waves crashing on the land, the SMELL of the ocean, FEELING the sand underneath my wiggling toes, SEEING how the sun reflects its light on the ocean, WATCHING the birds fly overhead and SIPPING on a ice cold water from the bottle. *Insert deep BREATHE to take it all in*
Sometimes, a quick vacation while on lunch is what we need to get back on track for the next half of the day. Anxiety has decreased and mood has increase after 60 seconds of vacation. Where would you like to go! Maybe it’s somewhere you have been before, maybe a place you would like to go or make up a place in your mind. When you think of your vacation don’t forget to tend to your 5 senses (SMELL, SIGHT, TOUCH, HEAR and TASTE). Don’t delay, GO on vacation now!!!
Have good trip!!!
Shayla Peterson, LCSW
All too often we neglect our own self-care. We often use the phrase such as “we have to take care of others, and then I will take care of me.” We carry around the belief that self-care is selfish. When in fact, we require TLC (Tender, Love & Care). When we do not take adequate care of our physical, mental or emotional health, we started to feel depleted, drained or frazzled. For some reason, participating in self-care is considered a luxury due to increasing workloads, school and family obligations. In reality, self-care is an investment we cannot live without. The goal is to create a balance between selfishness and sacrifice. There are three (3) components to identifying self-care are a) Physical, b) mental/emotional and c) spiritual. The physical involves moving our bodies; the mental/emotional requires us to accept and forgive ourselves, and the spiritual allows us to practice exercising our mind and soul. Have you participated any of the three components of self-care?
Here’s a list of 30 self-care activities that you can participate in today. Over the next 30 days, I challenge you to participate in all 30 or jump around to the activities that you like the most or develop your own ideas. Compare how you felt before with how you feel after.
(1) Eat a fruit or vegetable
(2) Get between 6 – 8 hours of sleep per night
(3) Ride a bike
(4) Call a friend or meet for lunch
(5) Try a new activity
(6) Read a Chapter from a book
(7) Get a massage
(8) Listen to music
(9) Stare up at the sky
(10) Take action on something you have been avoiding
(11) Take a lunch break
(12) Plant a flower
(13) Write in a journal
(15) Laugh when you can
(16) Read poetry or inspiring quotes
(17) List five things you are grateful for
(18) Get a manicure or pedicure
(21) Spend time away from your cell phone
(22) Eat a piece of Chocolate
(25) Go for a walk
(26) Take hot shower or bath
(27) Pay attention to your breathing
(28) Snuggle under a cozy blanket
(29) Cuddle with a pet
(30) Become a tourist in your own city
By Shayla Peterson, LCSW
Eight plus self-care ideas by Barbara Markaway, PhD at www.theselfcompassionproject.com ( June 2013)
Seven Types of Self-Care Activities for Coping with Stress by Barbara Markaway, PhD and Greg Markaway, PhD on Psychology Today (March 2014)
Top 10 Self-care strategies by Laura Schenck, MA on Mindfulness Muse (May 2011)