Have you ever had “just one of those days?” The kind of day that makes you want to sit in your favorite chair at the end of the day curled up with a good book and forget the rest of the world and the obligations that await? We live in a busy world. Our family, job, community and even the things we usually enjoy can sometimes take a toll on our emotional health and we find ourselves overwhelmed and sometimes even depressed. Everyone has ways to cope with the stress in our lives, some that may be more beneficial than others. For me… I need a good night’s sleep and a day that begins with sunshine. Then, I’m ready to face another day along with my post-it notes and my to-do list. How do you manage the stress in your life? Here are some tips that were offered recently on the “LIVE SMART OHIO” website (livesmartohio.osu.edu). Read through them and see which ones you might like to try:
- Take a walk outdoors. The fresh air and observing nature has a natural soothing effect. Whether you are on the sidewalk or in the woods, enjoy the budding of the trees, flowers, birds and maybe a babbling creek as you travel. The sunshine and breeze can also sooth our stress, just forget the to-do’s and enjoy the sights and sounds that nature brings.
- Practice a mindfulness technique. Mindfulness is paying attention in three ways: on purpose, in the moment and without judgment. What does the sunshine feel like against your face? How does your back feel when you just stop and take three deep breaths? Deep breathing is a great way to let go of stress. When we let go of all the “thoughts” just for a moment, we can really appreciate the here and now. The present is a gift of time; we won’t have this opportunity again, stop and enjoy the moment.
- Talking with others can help relieve excess stress. Seeking a trusted family member, friend or co-worker can help generate options that maybe we haven’t thought of.
- Making the right food choices can also help with excess stress in life. When our bodies don’t have the nutrients they need, our energy levels lag and immune systems can’t protect us like they should. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables, balanced with whole grains, lean protein and low fat dairy or check out www.Myplate.gov
- Get a good night’s sleep and at least 30-60 minutes of physical activity every day.
- Try writing down what is really stressing you. Putting it on paper can help identify the little things that maybe you hadn’t thought through and by just expressing it can help to identify it. Then you can look for ways to reducing it.
- Laugh and have fun. When is the last time you laughed so hard your cried? If you can’t remember, it’s been way too long. What do you enjoy doing and when do you plan for fun in your schedule? What are your hobbies or activities that you look forward to?
We all have stress in life, it’s how we handle it that is important. Don’t let it pile up and get to a point of harm for your physical or emotional health. Choose a way that works for you to let go of stress. It’s a great life lesson for children to see positive coping methods. Remember, they are watching and learning from your example. If the stress in your life is out of control, consider seeking professional assistance. If you have questions about the mindful techniques, contact me at email@example.com Happy Spring!
Melinda Hill is an OSU Extension Family & Consumer Sciences educator and may be reached at 330-264-8722.