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The Number One Secret To Stress Management

"Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are."- Chinese Proverbs








When my niece was in first grade, I asked her how she was doing. She answered, "I am stressed." Her reply dumbfounded me. How could a barely 7-year old girl already have "stress" in her vocabulary?


I tried to keep my reaction to myself, and I asked her more questions about the stress feeling. I asked her what the things she was doing that were stressing her. Then, she narrated to me all the things that she needed to do at school. She was in the Science Curriculum. I expected her to do more than the regular first grade, but listening to her school requirements; I felt her stress. I told her at the end, "You are in first grade; you need to have fun and play."


FUN and PLAY!


Many of us forget the meaning of these words.


Our society continually changes. In a blink of an eye, something new is being discovered or enhanced. Technology is becoming more and more advanced and powerful. The advancement in technology supposedly will help us do things more manageable and faster, which means more time to spend to take care of ourselves and the people we love.


But the irony is, it makes our lives busier than ever. We spend more time on social media than the people we love. We spend more time working to make ends meet and getting stuck in low paying jobs. Some people are trying to keep up with new gadgets or toys and chasing shiny objects that they spend more on than they earn. Debts become an accepted lifestyle.


In a fast-changing society, time becomes a precious commodity that many people fail to manage properly. Hence, many experience an imbalance between family, work, and personal life.


PEOPLE ARE OVERWORKED, BECOME DISCONNECTED FROM SELF and OTHERS and NO MORE TIME FOR FUN and PLAY!


More and more people are living in stress, anxiety, depression, and many are not satisfied with their lives.


What is the secret antidote to stress, anxiety, and depression? SELF-CARE


As we try to strike a balance in the different areas of our lives, family, work, and other responsibilities, we often forget to take care of ourselves. We forget to have fun and play.

One day, I asked some of my co-teachers their challenges as teachers. Many of them responded, finding time for self. There are too many things to do, with too little time.


Many long for that time for self, but will not give that a priority.


Why?


Many people think that Self-care is expensive. It cost a lot of money because they equate it to a day at the spa or a vacation.


However, if you dive deeper into the real reason why people, especially women, refuse to practice self-care because it is selfish. They have to prioritize their children, their husbands, or other peoples' need first. Others just don't think they deserve one.


But self-care is not just for people who have money and time.


Self-care is any activity that you like and enjoy doing. These are activities that increase or enhance your physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual well-being.

For example, if you like to dance, find 10 minutes to dance and feel the rhythm of your body. If you love to sing, sing while you are doing your regular activities.


Self-care activities help release the feel-good hormones, the happy hormones endorphins serotonin, dopamine, and Oxytocin.


Self-care doesn't need to be expensive, and you don't need a major amount of time.

You are not Selfish if you practice Self-care, but you are Selfish if if you don’t Take care of Yourself.


If you don't take care of yourself, you will easily get tired, and your stress will make you irritable. You will become so unpleasant to be around. Also, if you are sick because you failed to take care of yourself, then you can't take care of the people you love and those who need you.


Here are the top 5 tips for self-care that you can easily incorporate in your daily activities.


1. Take deep breaths. When you are under stress, your breath becomes short and shallow, which leads to anxiety, nervousness, and panic attacks. Deep breaths will relieve you from stress. It increases your energy and your focus so you can see your stressors and how to address them.


Here is one breathing exercise. Get comfortable. Place one hand on your belly. Next, breathe in through your nose. Feel your belly rise as you fill it with air. Then, breathe out slowly. You can do this 3 to 5 times or until you feel calm. Deep breathing will only take 2-3 minutes.

2. Soak up the Sun. You don't need to travel for this. Sunshine triggers your skin to produce vitamin D or the sunshine vitamin. Vitamin D not only strengthens your bones and teeth, but it also reduces depression. So if you feel depressed, especially during this time, of lockdown/quarantine, you go out and take in plenty of sunshine vitamin. According to the study, the best time to expose in the sun is between 11 to 1 pm. However, you listen to your body.


I live here in Arizona, 11:00 am is already too hot to expose to the sun. So, I do the early morning sun. You can walk around your backyard or your neighborhood to get sunshine. However, If you go outside the boundary of your house, just be mindful of social distancing and wear mask. You will need at least 15 minutes to soak up the sun.


3. Drink Water. Our body is mostly made of water. Drinking water is essential for our health. It not only makes us look young as it flushes toxins out from our body, but it also helps maintain blood pressure and carries oxygen in our body. Water will keep you energized. Drinking water is so easy to do; it does not take you a minute to drink water.


4. Chew your food. Have you really tasted the food that you are eating? Do you smell, feel the texture of your food as it gets into your mouth? Are you tasting the different flavors of the food you are eating? Are you connected to it?


There are times when we are in a rush; we just devour our food. Sometimes, we finished our food; we do not even know that we did.

I have noticed that when I eat mindlessly, I feel some pieces are disconnected between my mouth and my brain, and by trying to connect them, I eat more. I also feel dissatisfied with what I am eating that I will look for something else in the refrigerator or pantry.


Take the time to chew your food. Try it. It will relax you, and you are doing a favor for yourself. You help your digestive system digest your food faster, and it will help you be connected with your inner self.


5. Meditation and prayer. Prayer has been part of my life ever since I was a little girl, but I did not practice meditation until I was in my mid-20s. Many people imagine that meditation is sitting in a lotus position with eyes closed, hands on a certain position, you should clear your thoughts, and you need to sit for how many minutes.


Hence, many will say, "I can't do that." but you can practice meditation even when you are walking or doing chores or lying down. Meditation is being aware of your thoughts, feelings, the sensations of your body observing them without judgment so that one day you will see and understand your pattern of thinking, feeling, and your motivation so you will know your behavior.



Self-care is not optional. It is for everyone, especially when you have a lot of responsibilities, self-care is a must for you. Remember, you cannot love others unless you love yourself, and self-care is showing love for yourself.


Spend at least 10 minutes of your day just for you. You DESERVE IT!


In this blog, we learn that the number one antidote for stress, anxiety, and depression is self-care. We also learn the top 5 easy to do self-care activities.

Do you make self-care a must in your daily activity? If so, what are your self-care activities? If not, what hinders you from giving time for yourself? Please share your comments below.


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