Board Certified Counselor
As a therapist and a human being, I have become very friendly with the “S” word: stress.
Stress is something that most people encounter on a regular basis, which can create a host of problems if not managed properly.
Stress can completely overwhelm the human spirit and deprive the soul of fully living life’s potential, and divorce is one of the most stressful times you will go through.
The good news is that just like many other ailments that exist amongst us we can fight stress before it ever “sneaks” up on us and cope with it in a healthy and productive manner in the occasion that it does arrive.
Here are my top 10 stress busters:
- Get 7-9 hours of sleep on average.
- Take part in some physical activity that you enjoy for a minimum of 30 minutes a day.
- Keep a journal that allows you the space to reflect on your feelings, anxieties, and worries.
- Have a healthy balanced diet that consists of fruit, vegetables, lean meat, and whole grains and strive to drink 64 ounces of water a day.
- If you choose to drink alcohol, do so in extreme moderation. Alcohol is a depressant and can provide you with the opposite effect that you are trying to achieve.
- Allow yourself extra time to get to where you need to be. Feeling rushed while sitting in traffic can make your blood pressure go up.
- Listen to peaceful or happy music.
- Try not to overschedule yourself. This is hard for many but be realistic about what you can accomplish each day and do not feel bad if you have to say “no” every now and then.
- Take time to smell the roses. We live in a country with lots of parks and beautiful scenery so go outside and enjoy!
- Spend time with friends, family, and people that lift your spirits.
I have used the following analogy many times when I describe the seriousness of stress. Stress is like the flu.
You have to take pre-cautionary measures to “ward it off” before it creeps up on you. There are many things that you can and should do to help you maintain a healthy, balanced, less stressful life.
Stress is connected with so many life threatening illnesses like cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure, and the list could go on. Fortunately there are many things that you can incorporate in your daily life to help you feel prepared for whatever challenges come your way.
It is true that although there will be things that come up in life that may bring stress to our lives we must try to do our best to cope. A few common stressors may be, losing a job, surviving the death of a loved one, sending a child away to college, missing out on a job that you were hoping for, going through a divorce, being diagnosed with a health condition.
There are also the daily stressors that we do not usually process like waking up late, sitting in traffic, being late for work, missing an important deadline, and fighting the continuous demands that many of us have between trying to balance work and family.
I am a big believer in “me” or “you” time. Every person should take a minimum of one hour a day to do what ever it is that they enjoy doing.
I encourage you to do things like go for a walk outdoors, try a new exercise class, foster a hobby, read a good book, watch a funny movie, take a bath, prepare a new recipe, and yes, laugh!
Laughter is a huge stress buster. Even better, call a friend and have a good laugh! Notice how I said call, not text or Facebook message or email. The sound of a familiar voice may calm your worries.
Find what works for you but remember our health is the center of our foundation and without it we will struggle in other areas of our lives.
Lisa Brown, MA, LPC, NCC, is a practicing therapist who helps people overcome life transitions specifically related to loss. For more information, visit her website www.counseling-helps.org.