Valentines can be a miserable day. I am lucky to have found the one for me and I celebrate that relationship every day. I try to be a husband that my wife can be proud of. It is important to me. I also have kids and grandkids and I want to be a role model to them so that they understand the value in country, education, family, spirit, and community. I also have a mom and brothers and cousins and other extended family and I have a role in the big picture of family. I take those responsibilities very seriously. At the same time, my life is not perfect. Work , health, finances and relationships also bring with them a good bit of stress. So, if I work so hard to be what I need to be to everybody, why does that equate to stress? Because I am human and humans aren’t wired for perfection.
For me, that means there are times when I am overwhelmed with decisions about what to do next. I am wounded by disappointments with others and myself. I have aches and pains and worries about getting older. I have obligations to church, family and work. So what do I do to de-stress? Here are some ideas. See which might help you:
- Watch what you eat and drink. Comfort food isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Steer clear of heavily processed foods, lots of starches, sugars, and fats. Stress and those kinds of foods can pack on pounds fast. In the end the comfort food makes you feel worse! As for drinks, beware of “healthy” smoothies made with lots of sugar, juices and sodas with more sugar, and alcohol that contributes to more depression. DO find some new fruit and vegetable treats you like if you are a stress snacker. Nuts also contain healthy fats and fiber, good to decrease your snack cravings. Fill up your water bottle and wash those stress chemicals out of your system!
- Get some exercise. You don’t have to join a gym to get some exercise in when you feel down. You will be surprised how the combination of exercise and fresh air can improve your mood and clear your head for better problem solving. Get those endorphins (the feel good chemicals in your brain) pumping and take some time to figure out what you need to do to relieve your stress.
- Change your environment. Don’t sit at home and mope. The longer you stay on the sofa, the less likely you will be able to break the cycle. Make it a point to get out and talk to people. Shake hands, wish someone a happy day, smile as you walk around. Do something nice for someone. Get outside of your own head and look around for things to do. Start a plan and finish it. You can accomplish something in a day that will make you feel better than wasting your time.
- Track your gratitude. There is always something to appreciate and gratitude is essential for beating stress. Start with small stuff in the morning. Be grateful for the cool morning, the sun or the rain, a person who holds a door for you, a cup of coffee, somebody who calls you….look at all the things that stress you and consider what would happen if that situation weren’t in your life…usually the answer is that the stress is short term, but gratitude for the people you love and who love you is long term. Being broke or in trouble is short term…think what you have learned from the things that got you there.
Bottom line, there is always some level of stress in our life. When it gets to be too much, reach out. Get help. Try some of the strategies above. Give us a call.