Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Minimize Stress and Maximize Health

When my eight-year old son said I looked tired and stressed I knew I had to work harder on my health plan. His little voice was on replay in my ear. Generally, he does not talk to me in this manner, but he was concerned and also suggested I take a nap. I understood the subtle attack on my health which my stress created. I had to act quick to prevent crisis and redirect my focus on strengthening my wellness routine. 

Therefore, I went on overtime to manage my stress and reverted back to those coping strategies that helped in the past. This meant disciplining my mind to engage in more reading, concentrate on completing word search puzzles, walking around my neighborhood more than once a day, and repeating affirmations, and listening to motivational speakers for more positive messages in order to uphold healthy and productive thoughts.

Whenever I cannot sleep I force myself to get out of bed and to carryout activities that will help relax my mind. I read self-development books to enrich my focus on staying well. I finish word search puzzles to practice concentration skills and to relieve my racing thoughts and to minimize self-induced distractions such as television or eating when I am not hungry, and other methods of procrastination. 

To reinforce clarity, I walk circles in my neighborhood for 20 minutes to an hour. As I walk, I clear my energized thoughts and create a new agenda to accomplish projects and self-care demands. Most days I repeat affirmations and unique principles to remind myself of my strengths, hopes, plans, gifts and talents to carry out goals. I keep such pep talks simple and empowering:

“I am stronger than I was yesterday. I master discipline. I am determined. I am enthusiastic. I can accomplish this goal. I will overcome setbacks. I am creative. I welcome the spirit and energy of determination, optimism, and diligence…”

I listen to motivational speakers on YouTube every day for several minutes and even for hours at times while I am getting ready, walking, performing house chores, or meditating on gratitude and my higher power. Other times I listen to the sounds of nature to calm my mind.

Moreover, when I aim to minimize my stress levels I avoid watching the news early in the morning or late at night. That way I have more control over my mood and energy. Watching the news early in the morning or late at night stirs a range of emotions such as frustration, sadness, fear, and more stress about the events on television that I cannot address.

Finally, I focus on stress management daily and make these coping strategies a part of my routine. In other words, I perform these practices interchangeably to overcome stress and to get the most from my self-care routine. Yet, when all these tactics still fall short I rely on additional coping tools. My other coping methods incorporate reaching out to my therapist for more sessions and also getting back on sleep medication and other medicine to help relieve anxiety. 

How does the stress management activities that I discussed support your self-care plan? 


Cathryn Coone-McCrary said...

Great blog post, Ashley! Beautifully written.

Anonymous said...

Terrific work. You are an inspiration.


Ashley Smith said...

Thank you, both. I appreciate the feedback.

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