Stress is invisible and inevitable

Have you ever seen, smelled, tasted, or heard stress? Nope, neither have I. However, I’m 100% certain you have felt stress.   And ohhh boy, that invisible sensory feeling can be strong! We can feel it in so many ways, and it totally wreaks havoc on our central nervous system and creates so much discomfort.  Prolonged stressors take a toll on our mind, body, and spirit…and the body never forgets.

As a mom, I’ve juggled numerous stressors while doing my best to care for my children. Losing my own mom at a very early age created stress for me that I am still learning to manage to this very day.  I’ve held jobs that caused physical and emotional stress until I finally had enough and made moves that were better suited for me.  I’ve had health scares that put the realness of mortality too close for comfort.

In a nutshell, what I’m trying to say is that stress is inevitable. Some we bring on ourselves, and some are outside of our control.  We all have different tolerance levels when it comes to stress and how we handle it, but it’s still a not-so-great part of life, and the goal is to keep it to a minimum and be intentional with practicing stress management techniques through lifestyle changes.

Here are some things you can do to help kick stress to the curb! 

Some of my suggestions may seem easier said than done, but we all have a choice to make small improvements every day toward improved health and wellness.  Taking small steps is better than taking no steps at all.  Do what works for you, but just keep doing something towards managing your stress.

Stress is not welcome in my mind or body.  Kick it out of your life.

Read and Repeat (or click below to listen and repeat):

Stress is not welcome in my mind or body

CRY! – Yessssss, I said cry like a big ‘ol baby. Sometimes, stress just gets to be entirely too much. Don’t keep those heavy emotions in.  Let those tears flow. Babies cry as a form of communication.  Adult tears are also a form of communication when our words just can’t make their way out, and they’re an excellent and healthy form of emotional release.  Let the tears flow, then get yourself together and affirm your strength and vulnerability, which makes you the awesome person you are.

It's okay to cry

Press Pause – Take a time-out for yourself each day, even if it’s just for 5 minutes. We get so caught up in our daily blur of activities that we forget to take an intentional pause to simply regroup and refocus. It’s so important to make time for something you enjoy each day. This could be listening to one chapter of an audiobook while waiting for the kids at practice. I use Audible, and currently have “Finding Me” by Viola Davis on deck next to start. I’ve heard her memoir is incredible. I can’t wait! You can also listen to calming music in your earbuds while getting ready for bed, write in your favorite journal while in the bathroom, take a longer than usual hot shower, or make yourself lie down for 15 minutes (without your phone or laptop) before making dinner.

Move Your Body – I admit that I dread exercising until I actually start, then I love it. Exercise is a great way to reduce stress and improve your overall health, and it doesn’t have to be in a gym.  Nightly stretches before bed, or first thing in the morning, leg lifts, workout videos online, a neighborhood walk…whatever you can do to get your body moving, even if only for a few minutes each day. Some exercise is better than no exercise.  Your joints will thank you. I use a Samsung Galaxy watch to track my steps and other metrics each day.  I’ll admit that some days, I’m embarrassed at how low that number is, but I’m also working towards improvement.

Go to Sleep – How many hours of sleep do you get each night? I only average about 5-6, but I feel best when I get 8-9.  Sleep is essential for your physical and mental health. Try to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night. I’m trying to do the same.

Reminder to listen to your body

Eat for Health – If our nutrients are lacking, we can’t expect our body to function at its highest efficiency.  When our brains and other organs don’t get what they need, they can’t function how we need them to. Eating a healthier diet can help reduce stress and improve your overall health. Start trying out new foods and make sure you’re getting enough fruits, vegetables, and whole grains each day. I’ve used meal tracker apps to help with this, and it’s truly eye-opening when you see your stats.

Connect With Your Tribe – We need time with close friends and family. That connection is immeasurable, and spending time connecting with your true crew can help reduce stress and improve your mood. I know it becomes very hard to coordinate schedules and meet up with friends, but it has to be intentional.  Make time for social activities and friendships that you enjoy.

Hug a Loved One – A full hug, with arms wrapped around the body, warm, and comforting feels so good! It releases endorphins that help improve our mood and make us feel loved and cared for.  If nobody is nearby for a hug when you need one, hug yourself! Yes, seriously…close your eyes, wrap your arms across your chest, breathe deeply, and squeeze! Hugging a warm, cuddly pet works wonders too!

Practice Positive Thinking – Our minds can jump to negativity and pessimism quick and easy. It takes practice to train our minds to think positively and focus on the many great things in our lives. When you practice mindfulness, you become very self-aware in the present moment, and can hone in on your thoughts and feelings without judgment. My Calmfirmations for Confidence Boost guided activity workbook is a great outlet for expressing positivity and gratefulness.

Read and Repeat (or click below to listen and repeat):

I have a very healthy mindset

Speak Up – When you’re feeling overwhelmed or stressed out, don’t wait until you’re near a breaking point to seek support from others. Ask for help by reaching out to a friend, family member, or mental health professional. It’s okay not to feel okay. Life gets hard sometimes.  Instead of trying to fight it or ignore how you feel, speak up and let others know you need a listening ear or a hand to help.

Stress is a fact of life, but it doesn’t have to overshadow our lives.  It’s critically important to care for ourselves mentally and physically. By doing our part with the tips shared above, we can be better equipped to handle the curveballs life throws our way.

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As always…Calmly Affirm Yourself with LOVE! ❤️

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