Hi Vitality with Valerie readers! This will be slightly different than my other posts because I’m going through a time of transition in my life. My youngest daughter is graduating from high school this weekend and I’m hosting her graduation open house. This is a very challenging time for me because I am extremely close to both of my daughters, and when they leave for college this August it will be the first time that I will have neither of my daughters at home with me in 20 years! I define myself primarily as Mom and to have both of my little birdies leave the nest is emotional for me.
The reason I’m posting about this is that we all go through times of transition and change in our lives, and this can be very difficult and stressful. Stress is debilitating for us physiologically. Studies have shown that stress can weaken your immune system, cause lack of sleep, lead to inflammation in your body (which can cause things like migraines and rheumatoid arthritis), can lead to substance abuse, weight gain, infertility, and gastrointestinal issues. Yuck! Who wants any of that?!
Well, the good thing is that we can counteract the effects of stress with some simple steps. This week has been very hectic and busy for me with party planning and helping my daughter with everything she needs to get through the graduation. At times I have felt very stressed and anxious, however I have utilized some important steps to overcome the stress and anxiety.
1. Down time- When I’m stressed my morning meditation time is more important than ever, even though sometimes I am tempted to skip it and use the 30 minutes to do something else that needs to be done. However, when I’m stressed that is when I need my calm, peaceful time even more so I make sure to fit it in, even if it’s only 5 minutes. As I’ve said before, whatever brings you a sense of peace and tranquility is essential to mental and physical wellbeing, so make sure you do that especially when stressed.
2. Ask for help- This is the most difficult one for me. I have a hard time asking for help and I suspect many of you feel the same way. It’s important to ask your partner, children, family members, and friends for help so that you don’t have to do everything yourself. I’ve done that this week and I have found that everyone is more than willing to help when I’ve asked them.
3. Exercise- This is another critically important component to relieving stress. Regular exercise is crucial in stress reduction among other benefits. Again, when I’m busy I am tempted to skip my exercise time in order to squeeze in other things. However, those to do list items will always be there and if I exercise I’ll feel better about tackling them. I usually exercise for 45-50 minutes per day, but this week since I’ve been so busy I have only gotten in 30 minutes, and one day I just walked my dogs for 20 minutes. I am fine with that because I know when things slow down a little I will go back to my regular workout time, and I’m proud of myself for getting a workout in when I have so much to do.
4. Rest- When I’m stressed I make sure to get enough sleep. I’ve been awakening earlier this week, around 5:30 or 6 am which is horrendously early but my brain starts working and I can’t sleep anymore. I’ve countered that by falling asleep a little earlier, around 10, because I need at least 7 hours of sleep or I’m not fit to be around! I feel like I have enough energy to get through the day so this is working for me.
Wish me luck in getting through this weekend and the transition time ahead of me this summer! If you have any other tips for dealing with stress that work for you, please feel free to post them here. Again, thank you for reading this, and good luck with your stressful situations!