Category Archives: Stress Management

Why Making Time for Vacation is Important

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Family vacations were a high point for me growing up. It was a time to explore and learn about the world. We didn’t have a lot of money and that required a bit of creativity. I consider myself lucky that my parents took the time for breaks in their schedule to spend time with us.

A simple definition of ‘vacation’ is a time when someone is away from home, school or work, in order to relax or travel. I like to think of it as an intermission from your normal, daily life.

Many of us have a tendency to push ourselves too much and ignore the chronic stress that comes with that constant drive to achieve something.  In the U.S. we tend to take “time off” for granted and treat it as a type of luxury. It’s not. We all need a break.

Expedia did a study called Vacation Deprivation and found that a vacation for most can just be “a remote office away from the office.” People are still engaging with work, taking calls, and checking email regularly (guilty!).  And a lot of paid vacation goes unused for various reasons.

We’ve all had a conversation about work-life balance and its relevance. But are you actually doing something to create that needed healthy balance?

After our recent family vacation before school started, it was a great reminder that taking a break – a vacation – is healthy and a key part of stress reduction. Here are 7 reasons why it’s important to schedule vacation on a regular basis: Continue reading

PERFECTION

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Hello all!  Today I want to talk about the topic of perfection.  As codependents and love addicts, we have striven for perfection constantly, only to be disappointed when our expectations were not met.  Whether it was someone else we were trying to impress or just ourselves, we were hard on ourselves for not executing it perfectly.

We don’t have to be hard on ourselves.  Nobody in this world is perfect!  We seem to hear that from people all the time, but the struggle is in understanding and really believing it.

We look at other peoples’ lives, especially with social media, and they seem to have it all – jobs, families, houses, vacations, and happiness.  But there is so much of peoples’ lives that we do not see, and each person has their struggles.  Truly, nobody is perfect. Continue reading

The Gifts Within Anxiety And Depression

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When you feel anxious or depressed, do you try to get rid of these feelings, or do you learn from them?

Getting rid of anxiety and depression is big business – especially for the pharmaceutical companies. Drug sales for anti-anxiety meds and antidepressants are huge. This is very sad to me, because, while there are circumstances where these meds are medically called for, much of the time they are prescribed in an effort to simply get rid of our painful feelings. The problem with this is that it leaves us without the roadmap we need to navigate life in a loving, meaningful and joyful way.

Anxiety and depression have major information for us. Let’s compare these feelings to the pain you would feel if you grabbed a hot pan with your bare hand or cut your finger slicing your veggies.

The physical pain of the hot pan or the knife cut is giving you important information. It’s telling you to STOP DOING WHAT YOU ARE DOING! If you numbed your hand before grabbing the pan or cutting the veggies, you could badly burn your hand or badly injure your finger. We NEED these painful feelings to let us know when we are doing something that is harmful to us.

The same is true of anxiety and depression.

What might these feelings be telling you?

One of the main things they are telling you is that you are abandoning yourself in some way. There are many forms of self-abandonment that result in anxiety or depression: Continue reading

7 Simple Reminders When Dealing With the Stress of Death

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You know it’s probably not a good thing when the phone rings at 1am.

My mom called me from the hospital and woke me with terrible news. My stepfather died from a massive heart attack. How can this happen to a “healthy” and vibrant person?  He was only 64 years old. She was in shock.

Most people aim to have a smooth, steady and orderly life. Stress is an invasion into that “peaceful” environment. The death of a loved one is #1 of the top 5 causes of stress.

The grief from a death is intense. It effects your emotions, body and overall life in many ways. A sudden death, like my stepfather’s, just feels unnatural and can challenge anyone’s confidence. An incident like this can turn your world upside down.

There are different stages of grief and it’s important to deal with the process. Don’t rely on alcohol and drugs; they only numb the pain temporarily and can prolong the recovery process of mourning. Mourning is the psychological process of healing and is different for everyone.

Here are 7 simple reminders to help deal with the stress of death and the grieving process: Continue reading

Are You a Worrier? Three Tips to Worry Less.

8422339152_4403e7cd77_zI worry to some extent, of course, but I don’t think I worry as much as a lot of people.

Many people worry about how much they worry!

Today, the New York Times had an interesting article by Roni Caryn Rabin, “Worried? You’re Not Alone.

In it, Rabin points out several intriguing findings in a Liberty Mutual Insurance research paper, the “Worry Less Report.”

Apparently Millennials worry about money. Single people worry about housing (and money). People worry less as they grow older.

Some people — for instance, like my sister Elizabeth — feel that if they do worry about something, they’ll somehow prevent a bad thing from happening. Rabin points out, very sensibly, “Researchers say this notion is reinforced by the fact that we tend to worry about rare event, like plane crashes, and are reassured when they don’t happen, but we worry less about common events, like car accidents.”

Rabin also distinguishes between “productive worry,” which helps us solve a problem, and worry where you’re just, well, stewing in worry.

According to the report, here are some ways to tackle worrying: Continue reading

7 Ways to Get Out of A Slump: And One Reason Why Not To

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By Andrew Bryant

I’m in a slump. I’m sure you’ve been here, or maybe you are in one to?

How do I know I’m in a slump?

My batteries feel flat, focus is elusive and I am drawn to my couch like a moth to a flame. Your symptoms may be different, but you know you are not operating at your best.

What’s really embarrassing about this, and causing me some guilt, is that I am an author on personal development and self-leadership – surely, I shouldn’t be in a slump?

The surprising fact is, I don’t want to get out of my slump, well not yet anyway! I am like the man who is happy at the bottom of a hole, you see I both know the way out and I know the benefit of being in the hole.

Mostly I maintain pretty high-energy. Zest is, in fact one of my strengths, but when we are ‘go, go, go’ we can miss the subtle things. So I am accepting my slump. Why? Because it’s my slump. Nobody did this to me. It’s my body signaling me something, and in accepting that I can get the message.

Often we force ourselves to push through low performance, but if it really is a slump, the best strategy is to call it. By naming and owning your slump, ultimately you put yourself back in control.

Everything in life has cycles, the weather, the stock market, and your energy levels. The secret of success is to ride the cycle, and benefit from the down-time.

So I’m in a slump and you maybe you are too, so what’s the benefit?

It’s time to reflect, to regroup, and to decide on what’s important and what’s not. Use your slump to nurture yourself and become aware of what really matters to you. When you have answered this question, and given your body some rest, do the following: Continue reading

6 Essential Tips to Develop a Stress Management Strategy

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By Brigitte Cutshall

Were you aware that chronic stress is linked to the six leading causes of health issues?  Heart disease, cancer, stroke, lower respiratory disease, and accidents. Chronic stress can affect your brain, raise your blood pressure, and reduces your immunity and ability to heal.

At least 75% of doctor office visits are for stress-related complaints stemming from job stress.  It’s a $1 trillion per year “under the radar” health epidemic according to Peter Schnall, author of Unhealthy Work.

The cost to treat those with chronic diseases (from stress) is about 75% of the national health expenditures per the CDC. Chronic diseases cause 7 out of 10 deaths each year – but are preventable and treatable.

Chronic stress not only affects the physical aspects of your life such as health or general energy level, but it can affect job performance and personal relationships. For this reason, every person needs a stress management strategy, a way to focus on personal empowerment and feelings of “loss of control” in check.

Dealing with cancer twice and a brain tumor diagnosis confirmed that I can’t take anything for granted.  I want to be there for my family, watch my kids grow up and thrive. This reality made me stop, take a step back and evaluate my life, intentions and overall goals. Developing a stress management strategy was important. My curiosity also led me to become a certified health coach and health advocate.

Here are 6 essential tips I recommend to help you develop a stress management strategy: Continue reading

Intent.com: Why Forgiveness?

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It was almost 10 years later when one of our Intent staff writers realized she hadn’t dealt with a three year relationship that almost ended in marriage. Cliche? Maybe. But she had told herself it was over and that she needed to move on and that’s what she tried her best to do. But what does that look like in a real, tangible way? Almost a decade later, she was just learning of all the ways resentment, anger and grief were still impacting her physically, mentally and emotionally.

In the course of a lifetime, you will likely experience much more than just a relationship that doesn’t work out. Betrayal, disappointment and violence of all kinds may be part of your story and the idea of forgiveness or restoration seems painful and distant. So is it worth it? Is there something to offering forgiveness and focusing on gratitude? Continue reading

When to Know if Conflict Is Toxic

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By Doug Noll

Unless you are living in an isolated cave, social conflict is inevitable. Our needs, interests, and desires collide with each other, getting in the way of our happiness. Conflict is not inherently bad, however. We need conflict to teach us, entertain us, and help us grow. We can probably do without Jerry Springer’s craziness, but a certain amount of conflict is healthy. On the other hand, we have also experience unhealthy conflict. When the conflict becomes chronic and repetitive, it is toxic.

Worse, emerging research shows that toxic conflict kills just as surely as cancer, heart disease, or diabetes. Recent studies reveal that frequent arguments with partners, relatives, friends or neighbors are associated with a doubling to tripling in the risk of death from any cause. We are social beings and toxic conflict apparently creates stressors that shorten our lives.

Knowing the difference between healthy, good conflict and unhealthy, toxic conflict is important information.

Here are some signs that indicate toxic conflict: Continue reading

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