Submitted by Amy Pleasant, Supervisor Health Promotions, Franciscan WELLCARE
A few weeks ago, I took a week with my family to a lake house in Wisconsin.. I love vacations like this, because it forces us all to break away from our usual routines and enjoy some of the under-appreciated things in life – fishing from a pier, staring at the night sky looking for shooting stars, and general gazing at the water on a lazy afternoon. I came back from that trip feeling relaxed, happy and basically stress free.
Now fast forward to today… As life is back into full swing – kids back in school, fall work calendars filling up with appointments, and the day-to-day chaos that can at times make our lives challenging – I find myself at times not only wishing I was back on that lake, but also reminding myself of ways to handle my stress. Below are a few of the ways that I handle my stress:
- Exercise. My daughter got her driver’s license, so finding time to exercise is a bit easier now that I can hang up my chauffeur hat. I do skip working out on the evenings when she has a soccer game, but jumping on the sidelines must certainly count for something, right?
- Sleep. I admit this is a tough one for me. But being sleep deprived not only makes me tired, it makes me less patient, thus making all minor problems feel larger than life. So I have to force myself to go to bed earlier on occasion, but I am usually rewarded with feeling better the next day.
- Prioritize. Not everything can get done on some days, and making sure I get priority items done (both work and home), makes it much easier to let the bottom of the to-do list go for another day. No time for laundry tonight? Oh, darn.
- Let go of worry. There are some things in life we just can’t control. Exerting time and energy worrying over those things usually just leads to my being exhausted. And when something does try to cause me worry? I turn to prayer. Praying has a way of calming me, and keeping me centered.
- Appreciate. It is so easy to feel like some days I am the only one that has problems. On the days I am feeling sorry for myself, I take a moment to count my blessings: I have a wonderful and loving family that mean the world to me, I have good friends that support me, I find fulfillment in my job, I have my basic needs provided for on a daily basis, etc. Life is good.
These are a few of my techniques, but many more exist. For more information on stress management, be sure to check out the online Health Library at franciscanalliance.org/health-resources.