healthy through stressful times

Sometimes we find ourselves in situations that seem too much, not fair, extremely stressful, unbearable… I am in the middle of going through one of those streaks. I am hoping the worst part is over – and I am moving towards the end of it (fingers crossed). Things are looking up. Yay!
Reflecting on how it felt, paired with knowing what I know… here are some ideas and experiences on what feeds your resilience (I love this word) and makes you go through these times easier.

  1. Gratitude makes it better
    What do you mean? You just said, we are talking about these not-so-great-streaks in life? What would you be grateful for there?
    It is simple. By focusing on what you are grateful for, you immediately lower your negative stress response and go to a more positive place. It increases mental strength and decreases aggression. It makes you sleep better and therefore puts you into a stronger place. I have so much to be grateful for. Acknowledging that makes me happy, calm and strong.
  2. Ask for help
    This one starts with simple awareness. Admit and accept that you have too much going on. Don’t try to walk all alone if you don’t have to. It does not make any sense. Your friends want to help. You would do the same for them. Ask for help, accept it and go back to number 1 – be grateful for all these wonderful people in your life supporting you. I did just that and it made it so much easier.
  3. Look for nurturing foods
    My automatic stress response is craving sugar, empty carbs and wine. That will make me feel better, a little voice tells me. Another – more educated one – reminds me that this ‘feeling better’ is extremely short lived and won’t carry me through too well. This is not to say that some red wine and dark chocolate are not very important staples of my diet currently – they definitely are. But – they are framed by Superfood Smoothies, huge loads of veggies and salad, lean proteins and healthy fats.
  4. Move
    Every Body is made to move. The hormonal stress response asks your body to move (run from the tiger!). And so often we don’t. This is not to say that you have to force yourself to exercise or do certain routines. It is to say – get up and go for a walk in the rain. Run if you want to. Do as much or as little as you can and want. Stretch. Do a headstand. It helps. Really.
  5. Breathe
    This is paired with number 4, but also helps all by itself. Take deep, nurturing breaths as much as you can. They feed your every cell. They calm you down. There are certain techniques and numbers of breaths you can focus on – but you can keep it simple and breathe deeply when you think of it.
  6. Be kind to yourself
    This is the most important one. If you react poorly, behave like a crazy, stressed-out person, eat 7 bags of chips or cry a lot. If you don’t do number 1 through 5 and don’t want to. It is okay. Be. Kind. To. Yourself.

All of these points start with one big and important thing. Self awareness. Look at what is going on. Listen to what you need. And gently and kindly support yourself to get through it all in the best possible way.

Be well,

Barbara

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