Today I’m presenting at a conference in Kentucky which means…I am far away from my baby blog. In my absence, my dear blog-friend Ashley has come over to share her expertise as a counselor with all of us….leave her some love, please. And be sure to check out her blog, A Recipe for Sanity for great cooking tips, thoughts on learning to love herself, and life with her sweet guy…Ashley is on my regular reading list for a reason. If you haven’t met yet, I’ll think you’ll LOVE her!
Like all of you, I wear many hats. I work full time; I’m a master’s student in Marriage and Family Therapy (which means they’ve actually unleashed me on real people with real problems!), and I’m also a partner to Rob, the most incredible guy on the planet. You can see how sometimes things get a bit hectic.
I’ve realized over the years the importance of taking care of myself so that I can take care of others. Without self-care, I wind up sitting in the corner, crying and eating my hair. (Okay, maybe not exactly like that, but just talk to Rob. He’ll tell you it’s pretty close!) The lovely Elizabeth has asked me to share with you five ways to manage stress and take care of yourself, so here goes:
- Pamper Yourself: Do something calming for both your mind and your body. This could be anything that relaxes you, and it doesn’t have to cost much, if anything at all! I’m a grad student, so I don’t always have the money to go out and get a pedicure or a massage. But I’ll pamper myself by giving myself a home pedicure, or using a face mask that makes me look like a member of the Blue Man Group. I’ll light a candle, take a long shower, and relax with a television show or movie that only I enjoy. Moments like this that are just for me really help me to manage stress and feel more balanced.
- Move It!: I am so guilty of putting this on the back burner, but finding a physical activity that you enjoy is huge in managing stress. It could be anything you like: a run in your favorite park, a yoga class with a friend, or a zumba video you got from the library. Even if you go outside just to enjoy nature and look around, it’s great for your mind and body and will reduce your stress level. If you’re like me and you’re always putting the other things on your to-do list before this, schedule it in!
- Eat Something (But Not Just Anything!): I notice that when I’m really busy and stressed, I tend to grab for the first thing I can eat quickly. The problem with that is that those meals are usually not what my body needs to feel energized and ready to face a long day. Lately, I’ve been making more of an effort to have healthy foods on hand, like pieces of fruit and yogurts I can just grab from the fridge. I know we’ve all heard it before, but I’ve noticed that when I’m getting the kind of nutrition my body needs to power through a 14+ hour day, I feel so much better. As tempting as it is, don’t skip meals because you’re too busy, and plan ahead so that you are eating delicious foods that support your crazy-busy lifestyle!
- Rant If You Need To: I’m serious: I believe in the therapeutic power of venting to friends, on your blog, to your cat…whatever works for you. Holding negative emotions in is only going to increase the blow-up when you finally lose it later (or am I just talking about myself?). When you have a bad day, tell someone about it or do something physical (kickboxing class, perhaps?) to express your emotions.
- Get Some Sleep: I know, I know. You’ve heard this one before. The busier you are and the more stress you have, the less sleep you might be getting each night. Everyone tells you to get those 8 hours, but I know firsthand that it doesn’t always work that way. Still, get as much sleep as you can. Try to unwind before bed with a book or other relaxing activity. Make sleep a priority so that you can get the rest you need to conquer another busy day and keep your stress levels down.
See what I mean? Ashley needs to be MY counselor! Go here to check out her blog.
What about you? What ways do you manage stress for yourself?