Tag Archives: advice

December 2014 – Helpful Websites

This isn’t a long post as it is Christmas Eve, but I did want to share some helpful websites that I’ve found over the past month or so.  Now, many people are familiar with these already, but hopefully you’ll find something on this list that is helpful and new to you :-).  If you have suggestions for a list like this in January, please feel free to comment!  I’ll check out your recommendations over the next couple of weeks.

Merry Christmas to those who celebrate it, and happy holidays to those who do not.  I hope you all have a wonderful new year!

(I would also like to add that I am not getting paid or reimbursed in any way for any of these recommendations.  They are my own honest thoughts on these websites.  Your mileage may vary.)

  1. DIY Planner – this site is  an awesome source for planners.  They have different categories (such as Psychology, Reference and Time Management).  And SO many choices…if you can’t find something here, well, there’s no hope for it – you will truly have to do it yourself!
  2. Stone Soup For Five – I can’t remember how I found this one, but I think I was searching for information on bullet journals.  I love all things journals and journaling.  At any rate, that’s a good reason to check this blog out.  It is religious, is the “home of the Personal Legacy Bible Study Series”, and has a store.
  3. Yourtango.com – this is an interesting romance-advice-blog site.  It has sections on men, dating, couplehood, sex, and breakups, among others.  I recommend taking a little while to take a look at it.  I found some helpful information here on renewing my relationship with my husband.
  4. BlogLovin’ – This is an interesting way to keep up with multiple blogs.  Apparently, you can add ANY blog that you want to follow and keep up with all of the blogs in one place.  The appearance reminds me of Pinterest, with different posts appearing on one page.  I just thing this is a great idea.  You can also click to Find Blogs, Explore,  and just keep up with what’s hot at the moment.  You can sign up with email or with Facebook.
  5. On a completely different note, the American Psychological Association website has a lot of information on it that I think is valuable.  There are topics such as depression, ethics, learning and memory, race and stress, as well as links for Continuing Education, Divisions, Finding a Psychologist, and PsyCareers.
  6. Good Housekeeping Product Reviews – excellent source of information on many products that they test every year.  There are categories such as Beauty & Makeup, Appliances, Cars & Travel Products, and Health & Fitness.  They also feature “Recently Tested”, and seasonal items like “The Best Wines to Go With the Bird” and “Toy Awards: The Best Picks for 2014”.

Well, I think that is about it for today.  It is probably about it for the year as well.  Life will be pretty busy between now and the end of the year.  I wish anyone reading this all the best in 2015.

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52 Ways to Make 2015 Your Best Year Ever

  1. Set goals, not resolutions – or at the very least, combine the two.  It is great to resolve to lose weight, but in order to actually accomplish that, you need GOALS.
  2. Make self-care a big part of your life.  It is important enough to SCHEDULE it.
  3. Be present.  Don’t wish away your time.  Focus on where you are, WHEN you are.
  4. Be grateful.  Look around you and appreciate what you DO have.  Say thank you to people who help you or show appreciation.
  5. Resolve personal issues as soon as you can.  Give yourself a fresh start for the new year.
  6. Is there something that you are passionate about?  Get involved!  Find your cause and take part in whatever way suits you – letter writing, taking part in a walk, etc.
  7. Keep your promises both to yourself and others.
  8. Don’t compare yourself, your life, your possessions, or anything else to others.  You will be much happier, and you don’t gain anything from the comparisons.
  9. Replace a bad habit with a good habit.
  10. Take action.  Do something today to move yourself closer to your goals.  Take another action tomorrow…and the day after that.  Make it a habit to take small steps toward your goals daily.
  11. Do 30-day challenges.  Set a challenge once a month – 30 days of gratitude, 30 days of exercise, 30 days of frugality, 30 days of self-care…and see what a difference each makes in your life.
  12. Spend time alone to focus on your goals, your dreams, and what you REALLY want.  Keep a notebook of ideas, goals, etc.
  13. Develop a theme for the new year.  I used “Soar like an eagle” for 2014 and used it to motivate me to try harder and to stretch myself.
  14. Let go of things or people that drain you.  If it isn’t helping you, it is probably hindering.  Look at the people around you – are they supportive or are they negative?
  15. If you feel overwhelmed,  take a step back, say no to new obligations, and take care of yourself.    You will feel better after a rest and be more productive.
  16. Plan date nights – with your significant other or even yourself.  Try something new and different that you both have an interest in, or something that you’ve always wanted to do.  Do this at least once a month.
  17. Simplify.  Clean out a drawer, a closet, a room once a month or so.  If you haven’t touched something in six months, ask yourself if you really need it or if you can find another if you DO need it later.
  18. Take care of the world around you as well.  Recycle.  Reuse, where possible.  Donate gently used clothing.  Use lightbulbs that are longer lasting.  Use green cleaning materials to clean your house.
  19. Get up earlier.  Even if it is just 15-20 minutes, it should give you a little time to sit and enjoy your coffee, read an article, or write in your journal.
  20. Take a walk in the rain.  It can be very invigorating, romantic, and sensual.
  21. Enjoy a three course meal.  Do this by finding three friends, or couples, and having each bring a course.  Ok, yes, you should count yourself, so either have two friends or have a four course meal…LOL.  There you go – a large, extravagant meal without you having to do ALL of the cooking!  Fancy!
  22. Be a Bookcrosser (check out Bookcrossing.com).  Register one of your favorite books with Bookcrossing, write its number in the cover, then leave it in the wild for someone to find.
  23. Celebrate your accomplishments!  When you achieve a goal, CELEBRATE!  Make a big deal.  There is nothing like positive reinforcement 😀
  24. Forgive.  Forgive those who hurt you – but remember enough not to let it happen again.  I am not saying to forget what was done to you, but forgive for your own mental and emotional health.
  25. Stop being excessively nice.  When someone hurts your feelings, say so.  Mind you, you can do so nicely, but stand up for yourself.
  26. Ignore the Joneses.  Focusing on what others have does nothing to make our lives better.  In fact, it can dull the shine on our own lives.  Appreciate what you have and ignore the Jones’;  what they have isn’t your concern.
  27. Visit one new place a month!  Expand your horizons!  Look around the area in which you live; you might be surprised at how much there is to do.
  28. Try a new cuisine.  Talk to friends and get recommendations.  Read the restaurant reviews in your local paper.
  29. Join a book club.  Talk to friends about what you are reading, and ask about things they like to read.
  30. Learn a new hobby.
  31. Develop a meditation and breathing routine.
  32. Make a list of activities that you enjoy and do one per month – or more, if money and time permit!
  33. Keep a gratitude journal.  List 5 things every day.
  34. Keep a journal – even if just a line or two whenever you feel like it.  Explore different kinds of journals – one line a day, work, travel, reading…there are a ton of ways to keep a journal.
  35. Plant something.  Work in the dirt – it is a great way to relieve stress and ground yourself.
  36. Cut back on communications.  You don’t really, REALLY need to be texting in the bathroom, the car, while in the checkout line at the grocery store.  Try checking your email once a day, not as soon as you get a notification.
  37. Purge your stuff.  Donate, throw away, clean out things that you no longer use, haven’t touched in six months or more, or can no longer use.
  38. Take a deep breathe, leave yourself more time to get to work, and drive slower.  Racing through traffic can be stressful.  Make sure you don’t need to and you may actually enjoy your day more.
  39. Cut activities that no longer serve a purpose, or that complicate your life unnecessarily.  Free that time up to use doing things you truly enjoy, or to spend with family and friends.
  40. Get your finances in order.
  41. Accept your current circumstances, limitations, strengths, and weaknesses.  Acceptance will help ease stress and anxiety and allow you to move forward and make changes to improve things where improvements need to be made.  Accept that you will be making changes to your life gradually; much like losing weight, making changes gradually will make them more likely to stick.
  42. Get out into nature.  Literally stop and smell the roses.  Look at local natural wonders – waterfalls, beaches, mountains, streams, deserts all have their beauty.
  43. Pay attention to why you back away from something that originally really excited you.  Frequently it is fear.  Facing that fear and dealing with it may help you move forward with things that will change your life.
  44. If something isn’t working in your life, don’t wait for someone to come along and fix it.  Make a change yourself.  Give up complaining – and take action.
  45. Learn a new language.  The process of learning a new language and becoming familiar with a different culture can change you and your outlook.
  46. Start a life handbook.  My concept of this is that it contains tips on self-improvement, quotes that mean something to me, life lessons, and ideas.  It could even include dreams, goals, and more.
  47. Learn something new every day – a word, a fact, how to do something.  Look for lessons everywhere.
  48. Spend quality time with loved ones and friends.  Sounds so simple, but when you are with them really focus on them.  Interestingly enough, what you give, you will get back.  If you truly pay attention to others, more than likely they will respond.
  49. Give up gossip.  It is negative and will bring you down.  Focus on the positives instead.  Your outlook will think you for it!
  50. Remember that change can be good.  It can be scary but some changes are good.  Write down positive changes and focus on those when you are worried about upcoming changes.
  51. Try yoga.   Good for mind and body!
  52. Clean your desk and room – and keep them that way.  This will help you focus and will also reduce stress; clutter is, believe it or not, a source of stress.

And that is my list of 52 steps.  I hope it helps, and I hope that you enjoyed it!  If you have additions for a future list, please feel free to comment!

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Self-Care (for Sanity’s Sake) Through the Holidays

The holidays are here, whether we are ready or not.  It seems like the year just started, but it is almost over.  The holidays, while they can be wonderful, are tremendously stressful.  Don’t let them be – there are things that you can do to put the joy back in the holidays and keep your sanity.

 

NOTE: I also want to say at the outset that if you suffer from depression, please talk to someone – a friend, a family member, a coworker, or anyone that you trust.

 

  • Eat healthy meals before going to parties.
  • Moderate your caffeine and alcohol intake – too much of either will leave you feeling bad later, and also dehydrate you.
  • Get enough sleep.  Go to bed earlier than normal at least once a week.
  • Evaluate any “obligations” that you are facing.  Just because you have done something in the past doesn’t mean you have to continue.
  • Family can be stressful.  It is important to spend time with people that you ENJOY, family or not.  Also, recognize that old patterns reappear under stress, so be aware of that in interactions with family.
  • Say “No” – and mean it.  Remember that NO can  be a complete sentence – you don’t have to explain.
  • Take short breaks to fit in a walk or other forms of exercise.  Not only will it help with possible weight gain over the holiday, it is an excellent stress reliever.
  • Watch how much you spend, to avoid making the start of the new year a more stressful one.
  • Make sure your routine stays the same, or as close as possible.  Keeping a regular routine makes rest/sleep easier, and also helps keep you in balance.
  • If you have stress management techniques that you use in other circumstances, pull them out and use them. Find what works for you and stick with it!
  • Prioritize.  Look at your activities and do what is most important to you.  Don’t worry if less important things don’t get done.
  • Take a time out for yourself – away from noise, stimulation, and things that need to be done.  They will still be there in five, ten, fifteen minutes.
  • Relax and be present in the moment – not worrying about the future, not worrying about what happened in the past.  Enjoy the family around you.  Enjoy the smells of the holiday.  Enjoy the sounds of the holiday.
  • Simplify.  Cut your to-do list in half.  Send fewer cards.  Exchange fewer gifts.  Say NO to a few occasions.
  • Stay flexible; things can change at the drop of a hat so be ready to change.
  • If you have too much to do, delegate.  Ask for help from those around you.  You do the best you can; remember that.
  • Don’t bake six types of cookies if two will do!
  • Laugh.  Hang on to your sense of humor and take care of it.  Look for the funny in life – there is plenty of it out there.  Find some funny websites and look at them first thing in the morning, or any time you need a giggle.
  • Let go of the “ideal” Christmas and enjoy the one around you.
  • Do non-materialistic things with friends and family.
  • Be aware of your breaking point and step back before you reach it.  Step away and take a break.  Avoid those things that push you close to your breaking point, even if it is family.  There is nothing wrong with taking care of yourself.
  • Ask for help when you need it.
  • Chose your battles; ask yourself, “Is this worth a fight?”
  • Keep expectations realistic.  Don’t look for a Brady Bunch Christmas if your family tends to be more boisterous.

If you get stressed, stop and ask yourself, “Is it worth this?  Am I doing this to myself?  Is there something that I can do to make this fun again?”

 

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30 Foolproof Self-Care Tips for the Greatly Stressed

On Your Own Nerves

Life is stressful and complicated – I am fairly certain that we can all agree on that.  Many families either have two parents working or are single-parent homes.  Add to that schedules for children that require families to be in multiple places at the same time and you find stress – how to feed the family, be involved with both children, work, get laundry done, and so on.  Other stresses for people with or without children include travel for work, long work hours, having to work holidays, not being able to make ends meet, committing to too many things, not having enough time, eating poorly, inability to accept things as they are, and failure to take time to relax.  Of course, those just scratch the surface.  I am a mother of two, one of whom has a chronic illness that she will never grow out of, a lifelong situation that has changed her life and those of me and the rest of the family.  We face the stresses of changes in her condition, hospital stays, lots and lots of doctor visits of various types, and the fact that even simple things like having her teeth examined by a dentist are complicated. That doesn’t even begin to describe the stress of trying to make sure that our son, who doesn’t have health issues, doesn’t feel neglected.  Stressors abound.

In view of all this, I have been trying to find ways to de-stress, lessen my anxiety, and take care of myself.  I want to be a better worker (I work part time), better spouse, and better mother.  I have found that to be impossible as long as I am stressed to the max, anxious alm0st all time time, and beginning to see physical side effects of stress.  Here are a list of things that I have tried and found help me.  Some or all of them may appeal to you.  I hope that at least some of them will help you as well.

  1. Soak your feet in hot water and Epsom salts.  I use about one cup of Epsom salts in a dishpan that I use specifically for soaking my feet (purchased on Amazon, but can probably be found at Wal-Mart or Target).  I make the water fairly hot and soak for 10 minutes or so.  Then put moisturizer on your feet and cover with stocks.  I highly recommend this an hour or so before bed – it even helps me sleep.
  2. Solitude.  Sometimes you just need a brief break – some quiet to either contemplate the situation or to not think about it at all.  As I mentioned earlier, I have two delightful, wonderful children – one of whom is very chatty.  Sometimes I just need a few minutes of quiet to gather my thoughts.  In my experience, I have less stressful days when I can have 15-20 minutes of time to myself.
  3. Fifteen minutes to yourself when you get home.  I highly recommend taking fifteen minutes or so when you get home to sit in a quiet place and unwind.  Ask your children to give you a few minutes before asking you anything – or go in your room and shut the door.  Let them know it will just be a short time.  Read for a few minutes, rock in a rocking chair, crochet, write, or whatever else helps you relax.  If just sitting helps, by all means sit and be still.
  4. Keep a journal.  Write out the good things, as well as the bad.  You can look back at the good memories on days you need something to perk you up.  Also, seeing what you’ve overcome can help as well.  In addition, sometimes writing out a problem can help you see things more clearly.  Remember, there is no rule that says you have to keep any or all of your journal.  If you feel better burning, shredding, or otherwise disposing of what you’ve written, then do so.
  5. Be sure to get enough sleep.  At least once a week, go to bed at earlier than normal to make sure you get a good night’s sleep.  If you have trouble sleeping, try getting more exercise.  If that doesn’t work, talk to a doctor or look into other methods of getting help with sleep problems.
  6. Clear some clutter.  Believe it or not, by organizing, you will make yourself feel better.  Clutter is a source of stress.  When you cannot find something, you get frustrated and worried, especially if it is something like car keys or cell phones.  It results in time spent looking for things rather than being productive.
  7. Five things to give up:
    1. People pleasing
    2. Negative self-talk
    3. Complaining
    4. The need to be right
    5. Running from things you fear
  8. Exercise a little every day.  There are some creative ways to work exercise into your day; do some research on Google.  Even 20 minutes a day is a big help, and may help you sleep better too!
  9. Make a humor file – collect articles from magazines or newspapers, comic strips, pictures, etc. – anything that makes you laugh or smile.  Pull it out on tough days.
  10. Read, read, read.  Sometimes curling up with a good book, whether it is fiction, nonfiction, science fiction, book, magazine, or whatever, is a great escape for a while – long enough to relax and unwind a bit.
  11. Practice gratitude.  If you are feeling stressed or depressed, sit down and make a list of five things that you are grateful for; it doesn’t matter what it is.  Start small: a flower, the breeze, waking up this morning, the tree outside your window, the sunset.
  12. Cut back on junk food, caffeine, and sugar.  Don’t overuse alcohol.
  13. When stressed, focus on what you can control – and  stop worrying about the things that you can’t.  Keep telling yourself to do that until it gets to be a habit.  Worrying about things you cannot change won’t change things, won’t make them better – but it can make your stress worse and make you sick.
  14. Replace negative self-talk with positive.  This can be something along the lines of using positive affirmations.  Reframe the negative things you tell yourself.  For example, if you think something like, “I can’t do this,” rephrase it to: “I’m not sure how to do this yet, but I will learn.”
  15. Cut back on electronics and media.  Keeping up with world happenings is a good thing overall, but it is negative in general.  Bad news sells papers.  Cut back on the amount of time you spend on computer, playing games, reading the news, following the news stories.  Spend more time with family, reading, exercising, or doing a hobby.
  16. Take up a hobby – speaking of hobbies!  Learn something new or pick up something you’ve been doing already.  Crochetcan be very relaxing – and yes, men crochet or knit too…
    1. http://www.pinterest.com/csuecrafty/real-men-crochet-or-knit/
    2. On Being a Man Who Knits
    3. No Yarn: Charity Does Good With Stitch In Time 
    4. Meet the Soldier Who Learned to Crochet In Afghanistan
  17. Try meditation.  Start small – mediate for five minutes.  Keep practicing – it takes time to build up but any amount should help your stress levels.
  18. Take an online course and stretch yourself.
  19. Do something nice for someone.
  20. Stop trying to be someone else, for someone else – or trying to live your life to please someone else.  Be yourself – live your values and your interests and follow your dreams.  You’ll find that relieves a LOT of stress.
  21. Sit on the back porch and enjoy your favorite beverage as the sun rises or sets.  Enjoy the sounds of nature.
  22. Practice healthy breathing – many people don’t breathe correctly and stress can affect breathing as well.
  23. Learn to acknowledge all of your feelings – including the negative ones, like anger and jealousy.  Recognize when you are feeling them, explore why you are feeling them, and acknowledge them.  Then let them go.
  24. Cry – let it all out.  Sometimes you just need to vent and let out some of your internal pressure.  It is a way of releasing pressure and stress.
  25. Make a list of activities that you enjoy doing – and do one.
  26. Say no to something that you really don’t want to do, or say no if you don’t have enough energy to commit to something else.  Forget what other people say or think – this is for your own well-being.
  27. Stop watching TV and read instead.
  28. Set your own goals and get away from living by someone else’s rules and goals for you.
  29. Determine your core values and make sure your job and your lifestyle are aligned with them.  When they aren’t in agreement, there is a disconnect and it can be very stressful.
  30. Develop coping strategies.  Sources of help include:
    1. Common Coping Responses for Stress
    2. Stress Management
    3. 101 Ways to Cope With Stress

Stress Less

Sources of information:

Clear Clutter Out of Your Life

Why Mess Causes Stress

 

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52 Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas

  1. Write a note on a napkin or small piece of paper for your spouse’s or child’s lunch.
  2. Do a chore for your spouse.
  3. Cook your spouse a nice meal (their favorite).
  4. Cut out heart shapes and write little notes about what you appreciate the most.
  5. Send a letter of love to your parents.
  6. Send a thank you note to someone you appreciate.
  7. Really listen to someone who needs it.
  8. Do something nice for yourself.
  9. Color with your child.
  10. Make Valentine’s Day cards.
  11. Print out a love poem in a nice font on nice paper for your loved one.
  12. Leave love notes around the house.
  13. Fill a cute mug with red and white candies.
  14. Put together a “romantic movie night” basket – movie, popcorn/candy,  beverage (or a more romantic combination of wine, cheese, and a romantic movie).
  15. Unplug and spend time together as a family.
  16. Write down the story of who you met your spouse for your children.
  17. Cut sandwiches into heart shapes.
  18. Bake Valentine’s Day cookies with your child.
  19. Make a CD of love songs.
  20. Cook a romantic dinner.
  21. Make heart shaped muffins or pancakes.
  22. Frame a love quote or poem.
  23. Give someone you love a red scarf.
  24. Make heart-shaped pins for your loved ones.
  25. Buy a simple, inexpensive bouquet and put into a vase.
  26. Make a set of personalized “coupons”.
  27. Give a candy bouquet.
  28. Make a Valentine’s shirt by tracing your children’s hands on the shirt with fabric paint – good for grandparents or parents.
  29. Make a booklet of love poems or quotes.
  30. Really simple: just spend a quiet evening together.
  31. Write a letter to someone you love; children specifically love getting mail.
  32. Leave an affectionate note on the mirror for your child or spouse.
  33. Make a garland of hearts and decorate your room, your child’s room, the dining room…
  34. Leave flowers on a friend’s front porch.
  35. Make a jar of quotes for someone.
  36. Make a bookmark for a book lover.
  37. Give yourself a gift – time to read, write, play games, play ball, sit still…
  38. Make  Valentines messages to wrap around candy bars.
  39. Using candy kisses and stickers, make a Valentine’s matching game and play with your kids.
  40. Put a message in a bottle and decorate the bottle.
  41. Decorate your child’s bedroom door with hearts, one per day.
  42. Make handmade hand-warmers.
  43. Make heart envelopes.
  44. Do “14 Days of Valentines” – 14 small gifts, one per day up to Valentine’s Day.
  45. Make handshaped Valentines for grandparents.
  46. Make paper fortune cookies with messages.
  47. “I dig you” – attach a bag of goodies to a plastic shovel.
  48. Make a Valentine’s door hanger with a pocket to hold goodies.
  49. Get a small bottle of honey, decorate it, and attach a note – “Bee Mine”.
  50. Make Mommy and Me journals that you and your child can write messages in and pass back and forth between you.
  51. Put together a list of date ideas on strips of paper, place in a nice vase or decorated jar – so that you and your spouse have date ideas for those nights when you are indecisive.
  52. Get a box of donut holes and add a note: “Donut you know I love you a hole bunch”.

 

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Finish each day…

Finish every day and be done with it.

You have done what you could.

Some blunders and absurdities

no doubt have crept in;

forget them as soon as you can.

Tomorrow is a new day;

begin it well and serenely

and with too high a spirit

to be cumbered with

your old nonsense.

This day is all that is

good and fair.

It is too dear,

with its hopes and invitations,

to waste a moment on yesterdays.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

What a great reminder to let go of mistakes, not to dwell on problems that are  minor but frequently seem like major mountains in the moment.  Who doesn’t need to remember this at times?

I posted this at work because I have a tendency to really obsess about mistakes I make at work.  Well, you know, I work in a bankruptcy department working with data.  To be honest, if I make a mistake (which I will, being human and all), nothing truly life-threatening will happen.  This isn’t to say that I need to NOT make mistakes, but it does mean that I need to not stress so MUCH about the mistakes I make.  I try to learn from the mistakes I make, so that in the future I won’t make the SAME mistakes over and over.    But this is a good reminder that we should all let it go.  Let go of the silly things, the irritating things that happened over the course of the day.

Tomorrow is a blank slate, a fresh beginning.  Take what you learned yesterday….and run with it.  🙂

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Before you pull out your hair…a few ideas on stress management

Stress is a state of mental or emotional strain or suspense.  It can also be difficulties that cause worry.  There are two basic types: acute stress or chronic stress.  Acute stress is short-term; it is the body’s response to something that seems dangerous.  Examples would be accidents or near-misses.  Chronic stress is something to continues for long periods, like stressful situations or events.  A separation or a bad work situation would probably result in chronic stress.  When you are stressed, your body goes reacts as if it is under attack or in danger – this is the fight-or-flight response.  It causes your body to produce hormones that speed up your heart, make you breathe faster, and give you a burst of energy.

It is entirely possible to exhibit symptoms of stress and think that you are simply sick.  Symptoms of stress are numerous and vary from person to person. There are physical symptoms such as headache, heart palpitations, chest pain, stiff neck, and back pain, as well as upset stomach and nausea.  Note that some of those symptoms are indeed symptoms of other issues and may need the attention of a doctor – chest pain, in particular!  Other symptoms are emotional: anxiety, lack of focus, depression, sadness, anger, restlessness, feeling insecure and irritablity.  Burnout is also a symptom of stress.  You may also exhibit behavioral symptoms, which may include changes in eating patterns (either more or less), drug or alcohol abuse, social withdrawal, crying spells, and relationship conflicts.  It is important to pay attention to what your body is telling you!  If you ignore high levels of stress, you can truly make yourself sick.

And that brings us to the effects of stress – which are numerous and can be serious.  It can affect your immune system, literally making you more likely to get sick – and to get sick more often.  If you have a chronic illness, it can make those symptoms worse.  It can make skin problems like acne and psoriasis worse.  It can cause nagging headaches, forgetfulness, and decreased productivity at work.  You may feel tired all the time, irritable, and may be quicker to lose your temper.

Who is most susceptible to stress?  People without strong support netowkrs, those who are poorly nourished, and people who don’t get enough sleep.  Other groups that show a higher liklihood of suffering from the effects of stress include those with chronic illnesses, children, teens, working parents, and seniors.  Many of these groups have stressors that tend to be related to life transitions such as more and more responsibility, the change from not having children to having children, and retirement and growing health issues.

Speaking of stressors – what causes such levels of stress?  Well, stressors can be either pleasant or unpleasant events.  Both sets can cause tremendous levels of stress.  For example, significant life adjustments like marriage, divorce, separation, birth of children, and gradation are all sources of stress, even if some of them are happy occasions.  Buying a house is another example – it is a happy event, but the paperwork, the legal documents, the move are all stressful.  Stress can also come from daily routines: sitting in traffic, getting the children up and ready for school in time for the bus, deadlines at work, and running kids back and forth to after-school events can all cause stress.  Unrealistic self-expectations – like expecting perfection – can certainly be stressful.  Interpersonal relationships, including both work/social relationships and personal relationships, can cause a lot of stress.   Common stressors include balancing work and family, anger management, legal issues, financial problems, health issues, family problems, addictions, caring for an elderly relative, school, and career changes.

Now, how do you deal with all of this stress?  First of all, if you are showing physical symptoms, if you are depressed, please seek help.  There is NOTHING wrong with getting help when you are struggling.  Talk to someone, a friend, a relative, a doctor.  Secondly, take a look at what is causing your stress.  Is it long-term?  Is it short-term?  Look at the problem you are facing and break it down into smaller, more easily faced parts.  Brainstorm ways to fix the problem or to make it simpler.  Other ideas for dealing with stress or getting a little relief include:

  • Take a 15-minute break from what is stressing you.  Walk a way and come back to it when you are calmer.
  • Write out what is worrying you and set it aside for 15 minutes.
  • Look at the worst-case scenario.  If that happened, how bad would it really be?  How likely is it to really happen?
  • Sit outside in the fresh air and sunshine for a short period – about 15 minutes.
  • Read something funny.
  • Delegate when you can – ask for help.  People who care about you frequently want to help.
  • Are you stressed because you are too busy or are overcommitted?  Well, look at changes you can make.  Decline some of the requests.  Set aside time for yourself and your family.
  • Set aside 10 minutes when you walk in the door in the evening to unwind before jumping into housework and household routines.
  • Declutter – clutter can cause stress.  Clean up in small increments: one area at a time.
  • Look at what really needs to be done and prioritize.
  • Ask yourself, “In 100 years, how important will this be?”
  • Ask yourself if there is anything you can do to change the situation.  If not, why worry? Let it go.  If you CAN do something, then DO it instead of worrying!
  • Talk to someone!  Get advice – or simply talk.  You may want to let your friend/listener know if you simply need to vent.
  • Help someone else – it will help take your mind off of things.
  • Make sure you get a good night’s sleep.  It helps you deal with things better and stay calmer – and it helps you stay healthy!
  • Watch your favorite movie or read your favorite book – use it as an escape for a little while.
  • Before you make a major change, weigh the pros and cons.
  • If you’ve made a mistake, look at what you can do to fix it.  If you can’t, apologize if appropriate and look at ways to make sure it doesn’t happen again.  Then let it go.
  • Take a deep breath and count to 10 before reacting.
  • If you are stuck regarding a specific issue, put it aside and move on.  Think about, or work on, something else and give your subconscious time to work.  You’d be surprised at how often you’ll get an idea when you are least expecting it.
  • Focus on positive achievements, positive changes, and surround yourself with positive people.
  • Cut back on caffiene – it will help you feel less on edge.
  • Learn to allow yourself an extra 10 minutes to get places.
  • Get up 10 – 15 minutes earlier in the morning to make your morning less harried.

Websites that I found helpful

  1. http://www.mindtools.com/smpage.html
  2. http://www.helpguide.org/mental/stress_management_relief_coping.htm
  3. http://www.mftrou.com/stress-management-techniques.html
  4. www.time-management-guide.com
  5. www.conqueringstress.com

My sources of information

  1. http://www.medicinenet.com/stress_management_techniques/index.htm
  2. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/stress-management/MY00435
  3. http://www.webmd.com/balance/stress-management/default.htm
  4. Sources of stress:  http://ohp.nasa.gov/cope/stress_sources.htm

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