Taking Care of Yourself

Taking Care of YourselfYour children can often pick up on your stress much like a sponge.

  • Do routine things to ensure less stress for all
  • Do your best to make sure the entire family eats a balanced meal to stay well and nourished. Be sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day and exercise.
  • Do not forget to take care of yourself. If you are not feeling okay, it conflicts with the order of everything else.
  • Take a nap, read a book, or take a long hot bath. Relaxation is one of the ways you can best approach the struggles with that following stress and anxiety.

Help Anxious Children

Help Anxious ChildrenAnxious people tend to be hyper-aware of their surroundings. They are always on the lookout for possible threats or risks in new situations.  Plan ahead.

  • Talk to your children about upcoming situations.
  • Teach your child to shake hands to say hello instead of a hug.
  • Practice deep breathing techniques for when your child is overwhelmed.
  • Eliminate the unexpected.
  • Tell your child ahead of time what to expect.
  • Create a secret signal. This is a way you and your child can let each other know when they need help without alerting others.
  • Schedule special family time.  Try to find time for your family to sit down together to play games, watch a video, or engage in other fun and relaxing activities.

How to Overcome Your Fears of Traveling

Overcome Your Fear of TravelingPeople with agoraphobia may find things such as overcrowded airports and train stations overwhelming. Many anticipate their trips with dread. Those with generalized anxiety may find a bunch of new things to worry about during travel. This can interfere with your life. It is important to remember that avoidance will not help you overcome anxiety. Instead of dreading travel try practicing your fears head-on. Taking one step at a time and have some support.

Plan and confirm all details: to decrease your stress, try to book flights that leave early in the day when the airport is less crowded.  Allow plenty of time to organize your belongings, your IDs for security checkpoints, and check to make sure that you have your medication.

Start thinking ahead. Make a list of activities that you would like to engage in during your travel. Plan stress-reducing techniques. Such as slow, deep breathing, meditation, and progressive relaxation.

Put your strategies to reduce anxiety to work.  Connect with staff on the plane, request seating by the aisle or window whichever you feel most comfortable.

 

How to De-Stress

  1. How to De-StressTake the Pressure off Yourself. If you set high expectations for yourself and for others, you’re more likely to feel let down. Be flexible as some things won’t go exactly as plan. You may feel as if people are focusing on you, but in reality, most people are probably wondering what you are thinking of them.
  2. Identifying your specific needs. Are you afraid that you will say the wrong thing at the wrong time? Or you might say something to embarrass yourself in front of people? Remind yourself that although you may feel uncomfortable, that is the worst that can happen to you in this situation.
  3. Do not look for relief in alcohol or drugs. Although it is tempting at times to “take the edge off” alcohol and drugs can make anxiety far worse. It could even trigger panic attacks.
  4. Saying NO is normal. Try not to over-schedule yourself. You do not need to be a people pleaser. You don’t have to be guilted by the pressures of accepting every invitation that you may receive.

Tips to Help Prevent Stress, Anxiety, and Mild Depression During the Winter Months

  • Tips to Help Prevent Stress, Anxiety, and Mild Depression During the Winter MonthsMake realistic expectations for each day
  • Set realistic goals for yourself
  • Pace yourself. Do not take on more responsibilities than you can handle
  • Make a list and prioritize the important activities
  • Be realistic about what you can and can not do
  • Do not put all your energy into just one day
  • “Live in the moment” not all of the stuff that needs to be done
  • Look to the future with optimism
  • Don’t set yourself up for disappointment and sadness by comparing today with “the good old days” of the past
  • If you are lonely, try volunteering some of your time to help others
  • Limit your consumption of alcohol, since excessive drinking will only increase your feelings of depression
  • Try something new
  • Spend time with supportive and caring people
  • Reach out and make new friends
  • Make time to contact a long lost friend or relative
  • Make time for yourself
  • Let others share the responsibilities of daily tasks
  • Keep track of your spending. Overspending can lead to depression when the bills arrive

 

Some Science Behind Gratitude

Science of GratitudeAccording to researchers at Indiana University, the mental benefits of gratitude include:

  • Decreased feelings of anxiety and depression
  • Individuals have a better ability to cope with stress
  • Feelings of individuals are more confident and have more self-worth
  • Individual have generally higher feelings of happiness
  • Individuals who practice gratitude may even rewire the brain to be more sensitive to experiences gratitude

They also found that there are physical benefits associated with having an attitude of gratitude such as:

  • Improved cardiac health
  • Decreased blood pressure
  • Better sleep habits
  • Quicker recovery from illness
  • Increased energy

Ways to practice gratitude:

  • Keep a gratitude journal
  • Keep a gratitude jar and put little notes in the jar each day
  • Observe “30” days of thanks. Post something you are grateful for or post a picture of something you are grateful for each day.
  • Thank 5 people who have an impact on your life and write each one a letter to express your gratitude.
  • There are also gratitude calendars that can be helpful
  • Practice mindfulness
  • Spend time with loved ones
  • Volunteer

Mindfulness of Anxiety in the Body

Mindfulness for AnxietyBegin by focusing your breath for a few minutes as you’ve done before.

Once you can stay with a least a few cycles, let the breath recede into the background and choose your anxiety sensations as a primary object of attention. Feel how they manifest in the muscle tension, restlessness, and so forth. Try to approach these sensations with an attitude of interest and curiosity – not asking what they mean or where they come from, but just investigating how they feel in each instant. See if the sensations are solid or perhaps subtly changing from moment to moment. As you’ve done before, whenever your mind begins to wander away from the sensations, gently bring it back.

Notice also, any urges to withdraw from the anxiety sensations – to get up, shift position, or make them stop. The key here is to stay with what is happening in the body rather than trying to make the sensations stop or go away.