Stress Management Tip: Control What You Can

Life sure is different these days, huh?

There are very few people whose lives have not changed drastically in the past month.  New ways of being created upheaval for just about everyone.  While we settle into new routines, I encourage you to be gentle with yourself, and take actions to reduce the stress in areas of your life that you CAN control.

What can you do to create a little less stress?

*Cut back on news consumption. While we want to stay informed, it can be done without being obsessed.  See how your body feels after going a day or two without the news.

*Put on your favorite music.  Dance as needed.  It’s amazing how much better your body can feel after you spend some time dancing to your favorite song(s), and you can multi-task while doing it! I regularly dance while working in my kitchen.

*Are you a parent?  Learning is not all about books and computers!  Baking with them can teach math and science.  Planting a garden teaches science. These are activities you can do together that will provide the quality time they crave, and household tasks completed.  (Can we argue that vacuuming is physical education?) child baking with adult

*For parents working at home, keep the morning routine you had when the children were going to school. Get dressed, eat breakfast, and complete your other routine activities before you retreat to your respective work and school stations. Eat lunch together to reduce anxiety and increase communication. Allow your kids to have afternoon down time. Yes, school is important however, little learning is accomplished when one is not calm.

*Keep a good sleep routine. Go to bed at a reasonable hour every night, it does wonders for your psyche.

*Drink more water, eat your veggies.  Food is fuel, and veggies (and fruit) are chock full of nutrients that help our bodies function properly.  Fresh is best, followed by frozen.  I like to get a variety of both when I go shopping, it makes for fewer trips to the store.  I even have some dehydrated veggies that I rely on when I need something and have run out.

*Take advantage of a hot shower.  While I don’t normally advocate being wasteful with natural resources, sometimes a nice hot shower with the water aimed at your shoulders and upper back is just the thing needed when you can’t get a massage! For other ways to relieve muscle tension, that do not involve seeing your favorite massage therapist, check out some of the products Linda loves and recommends!

*Lower your expectations.  The world will not fall apart if you don’t get everything done.  Set reasonable goals, and if you don’t reach them, don’t kick yourself.  Reward yourself for what you CAN accomplish.

And you know what? It’s okay to spend a day laying around watching movies now and again.  Sometimes, that’s exactly what is necessary. Just remember…when you tune in to tune out, choose wisely…avoid watching movies with violence and other stress-inducing topics.

Most of all, I encourage you to gentle with yourself.  Do what you need to do to take care of yourself, practice self-compassion, and remember that everyone else is struggling in some form or fashion.  Be okay with what you CAN do, and don’t beat yourself up over perceived failures to meet others’ expectations.