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Monday, May 17, 2021

Stressed out? 10 tips on exercising self-care

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Near the end of the year, many of us are taking account of what’s been accomplished and what has yet to be done. To-do lists of work duties and personal commitments seem to mount during this time, as many people try and smash as much as they can into each of the last weeks on the calendar. Those pressures, coupled with the impending holiday season and the conclusion of one of the most tumultuous elections in recent history, can leave your already-dwindling energy tank totally depleted. The good news is that no matter what life throws in your path, there are ways to keep it all together.

Check out these tips from verywell.com on exercising self-care for overall stress reduction: 


1. Get enough sleep

Sleep is very important for your emotional and physical wellbeing. Lack of sleep can negatively impact your ability to handle stress, be productive and function properly. Unfortunately, busy schedules and stress can make sleep more elusive. Between having too little time for sleep, having a hard time falling asleep and getting poor-quality sleep from stress, getting adequate shuteye isn’t always easy, but it is vital. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to support your sleep habits, from using time management strategies to carve out more time, to finding relaxation techniques to help you fall asleep and get quality sleep all night. And if you really aren’t able to get enough sleep at night, don’t underestimate the value of a power nap!


2. Maintain proper nutrition

Many people aren’t aware of the extent to which this is true, but a poor diet can actually make you more vulnerable to stress! Ironically, stress (and the things in your life that cause it) can make it more difficult for you to maintain a healthy diet, which can contribute to more stress. If you’re too busy, you may find it more difficult to find time to cook healthy meals, and you may be more tempted to eat unhealthy “convenience” foods, which can exacerbate stress. Being too busy can also create stress, and feeling stressed can make you crave unhealthy food, contributing to a vicious cycle. While hectic schedules can make it harder to get proper nutrition, a poor diet is not inevitable.


3. Exercise regularly

Exercise can be great for you physically and mentally. It provides a stress release and keeps your body healthy. It also helps your body release endorphins, which increase your feelings of overall wellbeing.


4. Maintain social support

Social support can keep you healthier and happier, creating a buffer against stress. Friends can pick you up when you’re sad, provide insights when you’re confused, and help you have fun when you need to blow off steam. Learn how to cultivate supportive friendships and expand your social circle so you’ll have someone to lean on when stressed. (Don’t forget, it’s important to provide a supportive ear when your friends need it, too!)


5. Find hobbies

Having some “down time” is important, and hobbies can provide a nice distraction from stress and help you stay “in the moment,” which is also a great way to relieve tension. I recommend drawing and gardening as great stress relievers, but just about anything you enjoy can work. 


6. Pamper yourself

Taking care of your body on the outside — with a spa treatment, for example — can work wonders for your internal state. Don’t overlook the importance of pampering yourself on a regular basis, to feel great about yourself and feel ready to take on the world.


7. Keep your mind sharp

If you maintain the attitude that stress is a challenge — rather than a threat — you are better able to handle it. And by keeping your mind sharp, you are more equipped to solve the problems and take on the “challenges” that life presents. Fortunately, games like The Stress Relief Memory Game, Affirmations Hangman and The Inspirational Quote Daily Cryptogram can be fun to play, and also provide you the tools to manage stress in your life!


8. Have the right attitude

Much of what you experience in life can feel more stressful or less so depending of your point of view. Looking at things from an optimistic frame of mind can not only decrease your stress level, but also bring you more success in life and more. You can even change ingrained negative thought patterns to more positive ones by using positive affirmations.


9. Process your emotions

Keeping your emotions bottled up usually leads to an emotional explosion later on. It’s generally healthier to listen to your feelings, process them and try to understand them. Consider them “messengers” that tell you when something is not right with your world. A great way to process emotions is the act of journaling. When you write about your feelings, and potential solutions to your problems, you can reduce stress in your life and even see some health benefits.


10. Maintain a spiritual practice

Research shows that a lifestyle including religion or spirituality is generally a healthier lifestyle. Many people, especially seniors, use prayer as a major stress reliever and strategy for emotional health. You can use prayer to enhance your spiritual side, or use meditation if you don’t feel comfortable with prayer. Spiritual practice is deeply personal, and whatever your practice, it should nurture your soul.

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